Samuel Colt

Samuel Colt’s single action revolver, known as the “peacemaker” is a staple to any story about the Old West.  But chances are we wouldn’t have ever heard of Colt had it not been for an event that took place on January 4, 1847.

As the story goes in 1830, on a sea voyage to Singapore, Samuel Colt whittled out a wooden model of his revolving handgun.  A year later he made two working models, and applied for a patent.

At the time of Colt’s invention, pistols were though of as dueling weapons.  The much more accurate rifle was preferred for long distant shooting.  For close up self-defense fighting most men preferred knives.

But Colt was sure his pistol would be in great demand.  And by 1836 Paterson Colts were coming off the assembly line in Paterson, New Jersey.  The Texas Rangers started using the Colt pistol.  But they found it to be light, and didn’t hold up well when used as a club to hit someone on the head.  So, Samuel Colt made a heavier model, and called it the Walker Colt after Texas Ranger Samuel Walker.

But the demands for Colt pistols weren’t great enough to keep his plant going.  And in 1842 Samuel Colt went bankrupt.  Giving up gun making all together he started designing submarines.

Then the war with Mexico broke out, and the U. S. government started looking for weaponry.  And on January 4, 1847 the government placed an order with Samuel Colt for 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers.  Colt .44’s served the military so well that the government kept placing orders.

 Now infused with capital, Colt developed a system of mass production and interchangeable parts, making his pistols affordable for the average person.  And Samuel Colt never looked back.  From 1850 to 1860 he sold 170,000 small “pocket” revolvers and 98,000 larger “belt” revolvers…mostly to civilians.

Filed under: Events

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!