A revolver is a repeating firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

 that has a cylinder
Cylinder (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the Cylinder refers to the cylindrical, rotating part of a revolver containing multiple cartridge chambers. The cylinder revolves around a central axis in the revolver to bring each individual chamber into alignment with the barrel for firing...

 containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

 for firing. The first revolver (flintlock revolver) ever made was built by Elisha Collier
Elisha Collier
Elisha Haydon Collier of Boston invented a flintlock revolver around 1814. His weapon is one of the earliest true revolvers, in contrast to the earlier pepperboxes which were cumbersome and inaccurate multi-barreled guns prone to misfires, or even exploding...

 in 1818. The percussion cap
Percussion cap
The percussion cap, introduced around 1830, was the crucial invention that enabled muzzleloading firearms to fire reliably in any weather.Before this development, firearms used flintlock ignition systems which produced flint-on-steel sparks to ignite a pan of priming powder and thereby fire the...

 revolver was invented by Samuel Colt
Samuel Colt
Samuel Colt was an American inventor and industrialist. He was the founder of Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company , and is widely credited with popularizing the revolver. Colt's innovative contributions to the weapons industry have been described by arms historian James E...

 in 1836. This weapon became known as the Colt Paterson
Colt Paterson
A Colt Paterson is a revolver. It was the first commercial repeating firearm employing a revolving cylinder with multiple chambers aligned with a single, stationary barrel. Its design was patented by Samuel Colt on February 25, 1836, in the United States, France, and England, and it derived its...

. The first cartridge
Cartridge may refer to:* 8-track tape cartridge, a 1960s-1980s music storage format* Broadcast cartridge used in radio stations* Cartridge , a round of ammunition* Cartridge...

 revolvers finally were Smith and Wessons and were produced around 1856.

As the user cocks the hammer
Hammer (firearm)
thumb|150px|Hammer with an integral [[firing pin]] on a [[S&W Model 13]] revolver The hammer of a firearm was given its name for both resemblance and functional similarity to the common tool...

, the cylinder revolves to align the next chamber and round with the hammer and barrel, which gives this type of firearm its name.