This old gun is an 1880’s style 5-shot pocket revolver chambered for 38 S&W. The only marking on the gun is a single work “Smoker” on top of its 2 ½” barrel. This revolver is one of hundreds of what is known as “brand” or “trade” name revolvers made during this era, and like most it is very poorly made.
There were a couple of reasons why companies made brand name guns. One reason was it allowed a company that normally made good quality guns to cash in on the “cheap” gun market while still maintaining their company’s reputation for quality guns. Most of these were made under contract for some other entity to sell. The other reason is that company could infringe on another companies patent without the patent holder knowing who was doing it.
On this particular Smoker I can only assume that the first instance is true. My records show that the brand name Smoker was used Johnson Bye & Co. of Worchester MA from about1871 to ’83. This company was the predecessor of the Iver Johnson companies that remained in business for over 100 years. Johnson was known for well-made firearms at the time, and held several patents of his own. I haven’t been able to unearth who may have sold the Smoker name.
Collector interest in brand name revolvers is very limited. Prices garnered for these firearms reflect this also. These types of revolvers generally sell in the $50 to $100 range, depending on condition.