The Wolverine was engineered by Robert Hillberg, who learned about aluminum casting during WWII while working with aircraft guns and later became research engineer for High Standard Manufacturing Company. Only 13,371 of these .22 semi automatic pistols were made in its short period of production between 1956 and 1958. There were approximately 500 nickel plated according to company records, the rest finished in varying shades of anodized blue, The plastic grips came in either a black, dark brown or white, the white grips are found mostly on the nickel plated models. The frame being investment cast by Alcoa was a new idea for the gun industry at the time, now it is widely used by almost every major gun manufacturer today.
Its name Wolverine was named after Mr. Hillberg's favorite football team, the University of Michigan Wolverines. The Whitney name was used because the factory was located near the old Eli Whitney factory site. A victim of extremely poor marketing in the beginning, financial problems and then being under priced by $2.00 by both Ruger and Colt with their new semi-automatics .22, the company was doomed.
The original retail price was $39.95 blue and $44.95 nickel plated.
Two companies have attempted to revive the Wolverine design, with one of them having succeeded.
Olympic Arms manufactures and sells a version which is a polymer frame, instead of aluminum like the originals. As of 2014, the Olympic Arms version of the Whitney Wolverine has been in production for ten years, and its polymer one-piece shell is available in a range of colors: black, brown, tan or pink.
Samson Manufacturing Corporation had planned on creating their own version, but it never came to fruition. Samson had a web page on their web site where they stated that they had the original molds and dies, and had a huge inventory of original parts from the 1950s that they obtained from the original manufacturer. The web page has since been removed but an archive of the web page can be viewed here.