...and the very essence of steampunk weaponry...the Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver. I totally agree that the quirky Webley design perfectly defines the late 1800s' Gilded Age, and the Webley-Fosbery is maybe the most superb example. As it happens, I've been doing some research on George Fosbery, VC, in regard to Paradox guns, another of his inventions. I think the appeal of that time period is its wide open vistas, the first great explosion of exploration and gentlemen and lady adventurer/explorers. Richard Sir Francis Burton has always been a person hero...even his Wikipedia bio causes the blood to race!
It's also the gun used to kill Miles Archer, Sam Spade's partner, in The Maltese Falcon. When I first read the book, I was shocked that a pro like Dashiell Hammett would talk about a ".38, 8-shot" when I knew of no such gun at the time. Of course, I was wrong...when I first researched the Webley-Fosbery, I discovered 8-shot .38s!
I've been lucky enough to handle a couple of the Automatic Revolvers, with their weird single action cocking cycle requiring two hands and a monkey to accomplish. The Cody Museum has a .455 version in absolutely perfect condition. There are a few around for sale, but they come dear...
BTW, I hope your preparations are well under way for Friday's Walpurgis Night...I always like to hang cloves of garlic in the doorways, listen to Wagner and never, ever let really hot girls with overly long canines or guys in capes in the house. OTOH, I strongly support traditional Beltane festivities this coming weekend...break out the Maypole; light the fire; shuck the clothes; prepare for earthquakes.