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Rare Documented New Haven Arms Co. Volcanic Lever Action Carbine with Distinctive “Rack Number” 19 Featured in “Volcanic Firearms” by Lewis and Rutter and Attributed as Used by the New York Police During the Staten Island Yellow Fever War in 1858 - Serial no. 136, 41 Volcanic cal., 16 3/4 inch octagon bbl., blue/brass finish, walnut stock. This carbine is featured on page 112 of “Volcanic Firearms: Predecessor to the Winchester Rifle” by Lewis and Rutter as part of their discussion of Volcanic carbines used during the Staten Island Yellow Fever War in 1858. One of the captions states, “ Identification number ‘19’ stamped on the receiver of a New Haven Arms Company 16-inch carbine, serial number 136...This carbine, and others noted with similar stamped numbers, are thought to be among those stamped with inventory numbers by the New York Metropolitan Police.” They also show an example marked with “8” that was previously sold by Rock Island Auction Co., and we have also sold examples marked with “7,” “18,” and “37” in the same location.
They point to Herbert G. Houze’s article “The Volcanic in Service During the Staten Island War of 1858” in the September/October 2005 issue of “Man at Arms.” Volcanic carbines are well-documented as used by New York City police officers to quell a mob that attacked the hospitals on Staten Island in New York Harbor. The New York City Quarantine Station was situated on 30 acres of land on Staten Island that had been sold by former New York Governor and U.S. Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins. The sale had a provision that the land would revert
to Tompkins’s heirs if it was no longer used as the quarantine station. Because of the expansion around the area, the land became more valuable and citizens also grew concerned about the increased proximity of the station and local residents. Ray Tompkins who stood to inherit the land if it was abandoned by the government
46 organized a mob that pulled patients from their beds and burned the Men’s Yellow Fever Hospital and the Small
Pox Hospital as well as other buildings at night on September 1, 1858. U.S. Marines arrived the next day to defend the government buildings, but government officials sent in an insufficient force thinking the danger had passed, and the mob attacked again that night and burned the Women’s Yellow Fever Hospital and the homes of two of the doctors. In response, the city sent in a large force of police officers to secure the area. The New York Times on September 6, 1858, reported that, “The police force at Quarantine consists of 100 men...Each man is armed with a Volcanic repeating rifle, loaded with twenty balls, which can all be fired in less than two minutes. The aggregate
is equal to one thousand shots.” Their math skills were lacking given that would total 2,000 shots, but the twenty- round capacity points to the “16 inch” variation of the carbines, and the low production of the Volcanic carbines combined with the numbers found on these carbines certainly fits with the idea that these were the New York carbines.
Officials quickly setup tents to care for the patients, and Lewis and Rutter indicate that situation soon calmed down. Instead of being imprisoned for his crimes, Tompkins was acquitted. The authors also point out that New Haven Arms Co. agent Joseph Merwin also promoted the Volcanics in advertisements in the New York Times starting on October 12, 1858. Reports indicate that 120 Volcanic carbines saw service with the NYC police during the conflict. The New York Times on May 26, 1859, reported that “The bill of the New Haven Arms Company, amounting to $1,150, for Volcanic arms which the Company let the authorities have during the Quarantine riots, in September last, was received.” Houze estimated that around 50 were kept in service while 70 were returned to Merwin and the company. It is further theorized in the book “that rifles were marked in this manner while they were in use by the New York Metropolitan Police.”
According to "Volcanic Firearms: Predecessor to the Winchester Rifle" by Lewis & Rutter, approximately 1000 New Haven carbines were produced in total in all barrel lengths.

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