Produced the first practical revolver
Born July 19. 1814. in Hartford. Conn., the son of Christopher Colt.
manufacturer of cottons and woolens. Samuel Colt's boyhood was characterized by financial struggle and familv insccuritv. When lie was 7 years old. his mother died, and his father's business failed. Being thus deprived of a settled home life, he spent the next few years in a number of places and occupations. He was apprenticed at 10 to a blcachcr and dyer. He worked as a farm laborer, and in between he attended various schools until his natural mischievous-ncss caused him to be removed from a preparatory school at Amherst when he was 16. His academic career ended. Colt signed on as a seaman for a voyage to India, and it was on the return trip in 18 >0 that he whittled out the first model of his design for a new revolving firearm.
Upon his return from the sea. Colt set out to pcrfcct and patent his invention. supporting himself among other ways with lectures on chemistry and practical demonstrations of laughing gas. In 1831 lie set a gunsmith to work on his first models; and during 1833->5 lie produced several pistols and rifles in Baltimore. British and French patents were granted in 1835. and lie obtained his first U. S. patent in 1836. Shortly thereafter lie opened his first factory in Patcrson. N. J., but failure to obtain large orders brought on bankruptcy. Finally in 1847, an Army order for the famous Walker revolver put Colt back in business, first at Whitnevville and then in Hartford. The business expanded rapidly as Colt perfected his gun and added new models. The revolver, and Colt with it. were a success.
Colt's great contribution to the development of firearms was the production of the first practical revolving cylinder firearm, embodying as its leading feature the automatic rotation of the cvlindcr in cocking bv a pawl on the hammer engaging a ratchet on the end of the cvlindcr.
Colt died Jan. 10, 1862.—Harold L. Pkterson
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