Designed by brothers Charles and Sebre Howard and first patented in 1862, this is a single shot lever action produced by the Whitneyville Armory between 1866 and 1870. It is a really neat compact design that is all contained within a tube. The system was made in rifle, sporting rifle, and shotgun configurations, with a total production of not more than about 1700. The rifle pattern guns, like this one, were chambered for .44 Rimfire. A prototype military configuration example was tested unsuccessfully by the US military in 1867.
Everybody was looking to create the next great rifle sensation and hopefully obtain large lucrative military contracts. One of the more unusual designs I have ever seen. Someone ought to bring that back as a real production rifle for reenactors. They sould try the same reproduction of the Evans rifles.