Founded an important firm
Horace Smith was associated with the manufacture of firearms almost from his birth. His father, who was a carpenter by trade, worked at the Springfield Armory. When young Horace completed his public school education at the age of 16, he too obtained employment there as a gunsmith's apprentice, and he continued to work in the Armory for the next 18 years. After leaving Springfield he worked briefly in a number of other gun factories, including those of Charles Thurber, Eli Whitney, Allen & Thurber, Oliver Allen, and Allen. Brown & Luther.
About 1850 Smith began his experimental and developmental work. He obtained his first patent in 1851 for a breech-loading rifle. In 1853 he entered into partnership with Daniel Wesson, a fellow gunsmith, for the manufacture of a repeating firearm thev had perfected between them and which they patented in 1854. In 1S55, however, they sold out to the Volcanic Arms Co. and Smith retired to Springfield to operate a livery stable with his brother-in-law.
Wesson, however, kept busy building a revolver to fire a metallic cartridge he and Smith had developed, and in 1857 they resumed their partnership to manufacture the Smith & Wesson revolver, although thev had not vet received their basic patents. The new enterprise prospered as the partners continually worked to improve their product. Finally, in 1873, Smith, who had been executive head of the firm, sold his interests in the business to Wesson and retired to Springfield, where he became an alderman and a director of a number of industrial and commercial enterprises.—Harold L. Peterson
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