The January Indy 1500 is the fun show closest to my birthday, so it's usually where I do my birthday shopping. This year was not a disappointment, as I picked up a couple of the oddest platypuses (platypii?) in the S&W family tree.
At the risk of revealing future Sunday Smiths, behold:
The top is a Model of 1896. It's the first Smith with a swing-out cylinder and the first gun chambered in .32 S&W Long. The lack of a cylinder latch is because you pull forward on the knob at the end of the ejector rod to free the cylinder. It's also unusual in that, rather than the patent dates and whatnot being rollmarked on the barrel, here they're marked between the cylinder flutes.
Below it is a .38 Double Action Perfected Model. It's a top-break with a
thumb latch as well, and the only top-break with the trigger guard
integral with the frame. It has the sideplate on the right, like a hand ejector, and the lockwork is more or less straight I-frame. They were made from 1909 to 1920.
They're neither of them the kind of guns you run into in the wild every day. Even at a big show like the 1500 I can't recollect seeing many Model 1896s, and this show had the first two nice Perfecteds I'd seen roaming loose in years. This one's in roughly ~60% condition; the 95%+ nickel one was way too rich for my blood, stickered at more than what I paid for both of the above guns.
Incidentally, that Model of 1896 demonstrates nicely the basic soundness of the S&W Hand Ejector action. It still times and locks up fine, which is something I would not necessarily take as a given from a top-break Smith or a Colt of similar vintage. That's the same basic mechanism scandium-framed, 8-shot, moon-clip-fed Smith revolvers still use today; that is the very definition of "mature technology".