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I'm trying to figure out how it 'works' I guess the hammer (on top) is cocked, that sets the trigger and rotates the barrel?
As mentioned by de Judge, that was double action. The trigger cocked it and rotated the cylinder simultaneously then the hammer fell on the same pull of the trigger. You can see the linkage in the picture Twait posted. So double action was about as old as single action for handguns.
 
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