Stopler revolver is arguably the world’s oldest revolver known and existing today. It was made in 1597 by a German gunsmith named Hans Stopler. He made the gun in his shop in Nuremberg.
Although the first owner of the gun is unknown, it is clear that the gun at some point was acquired by a Norwegian general George von Reichwein. The silver tag on the bottom of the grip has the general’s name on it and date of 1636. Also, there is a horse spur stamp on the side of the gun, which is the gunsmith’s mark.
So, it is an eight shot black powder flintlock revolver. Each chamber has a sort of a shutter designed to hold the priming charge. Presumably, they were driven open either upon hammer strike or manually.
It was a very advanced design for the era, but it was also extremely hard and expensive to manufacture. Because of that, the revolver concept wasn’t wide spread until the advances in manufacturing technology made it possible to produce them in larger scale and at a reasonable cost. Just imagine what it took to make this gun more than 400 years ago, in late 16th century.
Today this revolver is kept in Maihaugen Museum, which is located in Lillehammer, Norway. Here is a video telling about this revolver’s history:
Although it looks like a nice little gun, it is in fact a massive one.
If you want to learn more about the further development of flintlock revolvers, you may like to watch one of the recent videos of ForgottenWepons.com :