January 26, 2021
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
God created men. Colonel Colt made them equal.
We will be starting a series on the men who made the guns and this week, Samuel Colt is featured.
It was in 1847 that Samuel Colt accepted his first order for 1000 Six-shooter revolvers. Colt secured a patent
for his revolver in 1836, but to fill the order, he needed to re-engineer the revolver that needed to be nearly disassembled to reload.
Once Colt made the changes to load quickly, he was ready to make his fortune. The Mexican-American War and then Civil War made Sam Colt a wealthy man. When he died in 1862, he had amassed a then staggering sum of $15 million. That is equivalent to $387 million in 2021 US dollars. Before Henry Ford, Samuel Colt pioneered a mass manufacturing process that included an assembly line. He produced 150 new revolvers every day, an astounding number back then. He could crank out 10,000 identical revolvers that were reliable, something not lost on the gunslingers of his day.
Colt was a marketing man with a mechanical mind. In his early years, he was like a carnival barker while working on a road show. He went by the name, Dr. Coult and he would use the amazing effects of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) on the people who attended his shows.
His first company, Patents Arms Company was a venture backed failure as sales were initially meager and shareholders took control of the company, relegating Colt to just a sales agent. But like other great entrepreneurs, he started a new company. After that 1000 revolver order, Colt was off and running. He was an opportunist and as tensions grew between Southern States and Northern States in the 1850's in the run up to the war, Colt was selling his revolvers to both sides. However when war was finally declared on April 12, 1861, he turned his focus almost exclusively to supplying the Union army. His plant was after all in Hartford, Connecticut. He could no longer supply his former customers in the South.
The strain of supplying the war effort eventually took its toll on Colt. Suffering from chronic rheumatism, the 47-year-old gun manufacturer died at his home on January 10, 1862. The company, which manufactured more than 400,000 firearms during Colt's lifetime, was left to its founder's wife, Elizabeth, and Root was appointed president. In 1901, the Colt family sold the company to a group of investors.
The Colt's Manufacturing Company went on to produce the Colt Single Action Army handgun, also known as the Colt .45 or the Peacemaker, the standard service revolver of the U.S. military between 1873 and 1892. To date, the company founded by Samuel Colt has produced more than 30 million pistols, revolvers and rifles.
Did you know?
Samuel Colt hired engravers and craftsmen to decorate special presentation pistols that were given to European kings, Russian czars and military officials, among other dignitaries. These firearms were often lavishly engraved and inlaid with gold.
Thanks for reading,
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