I was really hoping to find out if the # 1. S&W .32 Safety Hammerless First Model serial # 77,40x was an antique / made in 1898 or before. Is there any way to tell ???
Does it help if you have the other digits for the # 2. S&W .357 Magnum Post-War (pre model 27) serial # S829xx = S82985 = 1952 ???
And the # 4. S&W model 29-2 serial # N4538xx. = N453816 = 1977 ???
And the # 3. S&W model 42 serial # 124xx flat latch pre"J" prefix has the 4 screw sidplate. Does that help ???
The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson
list serial numbers blocks by the years that S&W used them. S&W would make a large run of frames but not use them all up for anywhere from a few weeks to several years. Sometimes a frame with a later serial number would be assembled and shipped before an earlier serial numbered frame. The only way to get an exact date is to get a letter from S&W, which cost about $30 and can be done through their web site. Even then your getting the date it was shipped, not necessarily when it was made.
In the case of your M42, the 4 screw side plate was deleted in 1955 so that narrows it to 1952 to 1955.