Edward Gwynn and Abner Campbell began making single-shot breech-loading weapons in Hamilton in 1859. Their first factory was just south of High Street and west of the Miami and Erie Canal. Early in 1861, the factory moved to a building in the vicinity of 5th and Ludlow, where it remained for over a year, after which it moved to the area of 4th and Butler. From 1861 to 1864, Cosmopolitan sold over 10,000 carbines to the Union Army for about $27 per weapon. In 1864, Sharps and Spencer carbines became the army’s standard, and purchases of Cosmopolitan weapons ended. At one point or another, 22 different Union regiments from 9 states and the U.S. Colored Troops used Cosmopolitan carbines, and they continued to be sold as government surplus until 1901. Cosmopolitan and Gwynn & Campbell carbines fired a .52 caliber bullet in a paper or linen cartridge containing about 40 grains of black powder.
The carbine shown at the top is a Production Model Cosmopolitan Carbine sold to the government in 1862 and issued to the 6th Illinois Cavalry. The picture below shows the third location of the Cosmopolitan factory. The building at the lower left, with the Farm Implements sign, was used to manufacture carbines. The L-shaped additions were not added until the 1880’s. A historical marker stands at 4th and Ludlow Streets (see Map page).
Photographs taken from Cosmopolitan and Gwynn & Campbell Carbines in the Civil War by Thomas B. Rentschler