Little Bits of History

January 4

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 4, 2017


1847: Captain Samuel Walker places an order for the US government. Samuel Colt was a businessman from Hartford, Connecticut. He was indentured to a farmer when he was 11 and there was introduced to a scientific encyclopedia, the Compendium of Knowledge. He was smitten. He loved the articles on Robert Fulton and gunpowder. He learned how scientists had accomplished things once deemed impossible. As he aged, he heard soldiers talking about double barreled shotguns but longed for a gun which could fire five or six times before reloading. Remembering his reading, he decided to create the “impossible gun”. When he was 15, he began working at a textile plant and he now had access to tools. After accidentally setting his school on fire with his inventions, he was sent to learn a seaman’s trade.

He returned to the US and found employment on land and began to produce two guns, a rifle and a pistol. The rifle worked well; the pistol exploded when fired. He needed greater innovations and the money to create them. He traveled the country giving laughing gas (nitrous oxide) demonstrations to raise funds. He was a brilliant speaker and raised both money and his reputation. He finally perfected his design on his revolver and patented the gun. He also applied for British and French patents. He never claimed to have invented the revolver; simply to have greatly improved the former flintlock. His factory began to turn out guns and two years later, had built 1,000 of them. They hadn’t sold any. The law of the time said that state militias could only purchase guns that had been approved by the federal government.

Walker had been a Texas Ranger and had used some of the first guns Colt had produced during the Seminole War. He had seen the effectiveness of the then five-bullet chamber when his 15-man unit was able to defeat a 70-man Comanche unit. The US was now embroiled in the Mexican-American War and Walker went to New York City to seek out Colt and order some more of these wonderful guns. He wanted some changes. He liked the interchangeable parts but wished to have a six-bullet chamber. He also wanted bullets with enough power to bring down a man or a horse with a single shot. Securing Colt’s willingness to upgrade the gun, he placed his order for 1,000 of the improved weapons on this date.

The new design was called the Colt Walker and was manufacture by Eli Whitney Blake, an established arms manufacturer. With the money from this sale and a loan from his banker cousin, colt was able to build his own manufacturing plant at Hartford, his hometown. The first guns produced there had the catchy name of Whitneyville-Hartford-Dragoon and were so popular that the world Colt simply became used to indicate any revolver. The successful use of the Colt revolver during the Mexican-American War led to many soldiers and civilians choosing the Colt for their personal sidearm as well and he became extremely successful. He sold arms to whoever wished to buy them and often sold to both sides of a declared war. In the first 25 years of his business, it is estimated he had manufactured over 400,000 revolvers.

God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal. – Colt Manufacturing slogan

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military. – William Burroughs

Morality ends where the gun begins. – Ayn Rand

The business end of a six-gun don’t pay no interest. – Ken Alstad


2 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on January 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Great History Lesson of Samuel Colt

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