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Colt: A Man and His Guns

The Colt six shooter will always be a legend to many fighting men. Whether you know it as an accurate, cowboy, Texas Ranger, gun-slinging, out West, corral gun, or as a little protection, the Peacemaker by Samuel Colt and Samuel Colt will never be forgotten. Samuel Colt is known as the inventor of the first revolving firearm. Colt was born in 1814 to a family were money was not the pressing issue. His father , Christopher, was a man that owned his own silk mill in the town where Colt was born, Hartford, Connecticut. Colt’s mother died when he was six and his father’s business started to fail.

When Colt Colt was seven, he was fascinated by guns. He took apart his father’s gun in a field and was able to successfully rebuild it. At the age of ten Colt was an apprentice in his fathers mill, mostly dying clothes. Science, adventures of an active life, and mechanics were all the favorite passions of young Colt. The adventures eventually led Colt into trouble. At the age of seventeen Colt was expelled form a preparatory school in Amherst, MA. During the years of 1830 – 1831 Colt voyaged to India.. It was during these years that Colt first conceived the idea of a revolving firearm.

Some think it may have come from watching the revolving wheel of the ship, turning and locking. While on board ship, Colt must have seen other revolving firearms in London or India. He carved a wooden model of his ideal gun while he was at sea. None of what Colt may have previously seen on revolving guns could have led to his invention. His ideas were not copied from any source, even though the revolving idea was not unique. When Colt arrived home from sea, he showed the wooden model to his father and a family friend. This friend was Henry Ellsworth, Commissioner of he United States Patent Office.

Both Colt’s father and Mr. Ellsworth were greatly impressed by the model. They encouraged Colt to file for a patent for his revolving firearm. In the year 1831 Colt hired a man to create the first working model. In 1836 Colt began the production of the first revolver after his petition for the patent. Between these years Colt presented lectures on chemistry and did practical demonstrations of laughing gas. On February of the 25, in the year 1835, the first United States patent was granted for Colt revolver. The patent that Colt received covered eight basic features.

First, the application of caps at the end of the gun cylinder. Second, the application of a partition between the caps, as well as other basic ideas. The other areas of the patent cover the application of certain parts of the gun, the principle of locking and turning the cylinder , and all of the basic revolver parts. In 1848, the new pocket model revolver was introduced. Colt devised an alternative means of loading the gun – removing the barrel and cylinder, and either switching an empty cylinder for a loaded one or using the axis pin as a ramrod.

This gun was nicknamed the “Baby Dragoon” because it resembled the igger Dragoon. The pocket-sized pistols had a larger span of appeal to the public. Even Colt Houston of Texas ordered a Baby Dragoon from his friend Colt. In 1847 the US Army contracted Colt to build his Walker revolver for military use. This was the first truly practical revolving cylinder firearm. The main feature of this firearm was a ratchet of the cylinder to revolve the cylinder. The revolving was initiated by the hammer; the motion it made was called “cocking” the hammer.

The way that the new revolver was described as working Appleton’s Dictionary of Mechanics was: Colt improvements in firearms , patent 1849, consist in certain improvements upon that construction of guns and pistols which has cylindrical revolving breech piece, provided with a series of parrallel chambers for containing a series of charges, by revolution of the breech upon it’s shaft, may be brought into line with the bore of the barrel, and be severally discharged through the same. ” What was meant by this is that a cylinder, round piece of metal, contained several charges (at this time black powder is still being used), that revolved around a center point that aligned the charge to be able to be fired ou the arrel of the weapon.

In 1873 Colt revised the Colt revised the current design and created the Single Action Army revolver. This revolver is commonly called the Peacemaker. In 1896 with the advent of smokeless gun powder the SAA, or the Peacemaker, was updated and mass produced using Eli Whitney’s mass production ideas. Houston told Colt, “(If) you have a small pistol, or will soon have one made of choice quality, I wish you to bring it with you as I wish to purchase one. I did not know (of them) until a few days since- I then saw one for the first time and was greatly pleased with it. The type seen be Houston was an actual Baby Dragoon with a square-back trigger guard and a Texas Ranger scene on the cylinder.

This particular scene was of a Texas Ranger and an Indian in a fight scene. The Colt revolver served a great purpose for the Texas Rangers. This pocket-sized gun could be casually carried around and easily reloaded. The beauty of the gun was its six consecutive shots and its precise accuracy. The Texas Rangers and other Texas gunslingers know Colt as the “cream of the crop” in gun making, supreme revolving techniques and great precision make Colt the number one gun for Texans.

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