Little Bits of History

“Do you feel lucky?”

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 25, 2010

1836 Colt Revolver

February 25, 1836: An American patent is granted to Samuel Colt for his Colt revolver. Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1814. His father, who owned a textile mill, taught his son about machinery. At the age of 16, Colt became a sailor. Legend states that while observing a capstan, he came up with the idea for a revolver pistol. Colt received a European patent for his multi-shot pistol in 1835.

This innovative idea was met with resistance, and Colt went out of business for some time. He declared bankruptcy in 1842 and spent four years in litigation. He secured his patent and again went back to producing guns in 1848. Colt created the first industrialized firearm factory. He hired Elisha K. Root, an axe manufacturer of renown, to help get state-of-the-art equipment for making truly interchangeable parts for his guns.

Prior to his revolver’s debut, handguns were loaded singularly, fired, and then reloaded. Colt created a circular chamber holding several bullets that align with the firing mechanism and barrel one bullet at a time. There are single-action guns which require one to pull back the hammer and then press the trigger as well as double-action guns which only require that one pull the trigger.

Colt was not “just” an arms manufacturer. He also worked with explosives and developed the first remote detonation. He developed technology that helped to lay the first underwater telegraph cable. He also popularized nitrous oxide as an anesthetic. He was a Colonel of the Connecticut Regiment during the Civil War.

“God made all Men, Samuel Colt made them equal.” – 19th century saying

‘‘The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.’’  – James Earl Jones

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” – George Washington

“There is no arguing with Johnson; for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it” – Oliver Goldsmith

Also on this day, in 1919 Oregon became the first state to impose a gasoline tax.

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