He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1814. He was always fascinated in machinery from a young age. He would always disassemble and reassemble his father\’s gun.
When he reached the age of 15, he enlisted as a sailor and traveled on a ship. It would be there that he would develop the idea of a gun that can shoot multiple rounds before being reloaded.
There had been many theories as to how this happened. One theory being that Colt was fascinated by the spinning and locking mechanisms of the steering wheel, because Colt worked as a foreman of the ship. He would then apply that type of thinking to how a gun could make use of cylindrical revolution to shoot multiple rounds.
Although technically, it was a Bostonian named Elisha Collier who patented the revolving flintlock itself, it was Colt who patented the usage of the firearm with a revolving flintlock and would eventually gain a manufacturing monopoly over it.
He first patented the idea in the United Kingdom in 1835, and then in the United States in 1836.
He would create a factory called Patent Arms Manufacturing in Paterson, New Jersey, to mass produce the manufacture of his Colt Paterson. He produced 2,800 revolving pistols. However, it was slow to gain acceptance, since it was expensive and changes were constantly being made during production, so the factory shut down. It would later be taken over by a textile company for the manufacture of silk and other textiles.
A decade later, the U.S. Army reached out to Colt to take advantage of his Colt Paterson. They purchased a large amount of revolvers from him. This success enabled him to build new facilities in the United Kingdom and Connecticut.
He passed away in 1862 as a wealthy man who sold 400,000 revolvers in his lifetime. His wife, Elizabeth, took his place as head of the Hartford manufacturing plant.
- Colt Paterson: revolving-breech loading, foldable trigger
- Underwater Explosives
- Underwater Telegraph Cable
The Colt revolver became important in developing the United States from an isolated, agricultural society to an industrial powerhouse. The Colt revolver became the first global manufacturing export from America; and it had its roots in Paterson, New Jersey.
The original Paterson plant continues to stand, although there had been a series of fires that destroyed the buildings surrounding the original gun mill. It was purchased in 1983 by the Paterson Renaissance Partners
The Colt revolver would become especially important in Western expansion. It was easy for frontiersmen to use a multiple-shot gun.
It would become the gun that won the West, which came from the Mid-Atlantic East.
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- Colt, S. (February 25, 1836). “Improvement in Fire-Arms”. United States Patent Office; Google.
- Roberts, Russell. “Rediscover the Hidden New Jersey.” Rutgers University Press. 2015.
- Samuel Colt biography. Netstate.
- Serven, J.E.; Metzger, C. (1946). Paterson Pistols, First of the Famous Repeating Firearms patented and promoted by Samuel Colt. New York: Foundation Press.