The famous American proverb says that if God created people, and Lincoln gave them freedom, then only Colonel Samuel Colt made them equal. Samuel Colt (1814-1862) made significant contributions to the development of firearms.
The capsule revolver, invented by him in 1835, quickly replaced other systems from the market. Colt even created a company for the production of such pistols, but she did not immediately get on her feet, going through bankruptcy.
After his unexpected death at the age of just 47, Colt left a rich legacy, and his company with his name continued its triumphant march through the market. The 19th century for America is the time of charismatic people. The country rose to its feet, felt freedom and independence. One of the people associated with this era was Samuel Colt. His name has become a legend, and the image itself has acquired many myths.
Samuel Colt invented the revolver. Although Colt's name is associated with a revolver, his invention does not belong to him. The founder of the famous arms brand in 1835 created and received a patent for just a new design of the revolver. This happened in England and France. The American patent was received the following year. The very design of a pistol with a rotating block of charging compartments was invented back in the 16th century. A flint revolver was patented in America in 1818. At his plant in Patterson, Colt began to produce five-shot single-action revolvers. The trigger had to be cocked with the thumb. But in 1842 the company went bankrupt. History has shown that the design of the new primer pistols was successful. They quickly supplanted single-shot pistols. So the name Colt became associated with the revolution in the arms industry, which led to the appearance of the myth. The inventor was lucky that America went to war with Mexico. The country's authorities ordered him a thousand revolvers at a price of $ 25. Already in 1847, Colt opened a new plant in Hartford and began to produce up to 5 thousand pistols a year. After his death, this factory began to produce revolvers for firing unitary cartridges.
Colt spied on his design of the pistol while sailing on the ship. Legends say that in his youth, Colt ran away from his father's house. He became a sailor and set out on a four-month voyage from Boston via London to Calcutta. A fan of pyrotechnics, Samuel began to observe the ratchet on the anchor spire and the rotation of the helm ratchet. So he came up with an original idea for a new design of the revolver. In fact, everything was, most likely, much more prosaic. Colt met in England with a pistol with a rotating breech. This model with a flintlock was created in 1813 by the Boston gunsmith Elisha Collier. And the British sent 40 thousand of these pistols to England for their soldiers. It looks symbolic that during a long voyage Colt personally carved a mock-up of a revolver of his own design from wood. This was the first step towards the appearance of the legendary brand in the history of arms.
In the Wild West, the Colt was a mass weapon. This myth originated in numerous Wild West films. It was impossible to imagine brutal cowboys without a Colt. But historians say that problems in those years were usually solved not with a revolver, but with a shotgun. Marked shooting required a long training and a lot of ammunition. An ordinary cowboy had neither the time nor the money for this. So there were not many well-aimed shooters with a pistol. Shepherds and cowboys driving cattle chose the shotgun as their only effective weapon. When fired from it, there was a high probability of hitting the target - be it a man or a wild animal. And the Colts were mainly in service with the cavalry. The rider on his side carried a saber and a pair of revolvers, from which it was just convenient to shoot at full gallop.
Firearms were produced by the Colt Browning. Although Browning left a noticeable mark in gun history, he was a humble person. The designer-inventor worked for Colt's company after his death. And on the weapons produced by the company, Browning's name never appeared. It only appeared in patents. And the first Colt-Browning pistol appeared only in 1900 and was exotic. Five years later, the American army turned its attention to such weapons. It became especially in demand, again, among the cavalrymen. It was much more convenient for them to reload such a pistol than a revolver, and he shot faster. In those years, border conflicts with the Mexicans were common. And in the protracted war, the Colt M1911 pistol, invented by Browning, proved to be excellent. This weapon has become legendary for the manufacturer. The pistol is still on the market today. He served only in the American army until 1985, and today he is used by special forces. Thanks to the ingenuity of the inventor, the pistol became extremely reliable and had a high accuracy potential together with an effective cartridge.
The Mitsubishi Colt was named after the famous designer. The name of the car has a double meaning. On the one hand, there is a direct reference to Samuel Colt, who is associated with firearms. The car turned out to be short and laconic, like a shot. On the other hand, the word "colt" is translated as "foal". It is understood that the car will demonstrate enviable agility on the road.
Colt came up with the American production system. It is not worth attributing such an invention to an industrialist and a gun-maker. He was an innovator and showed the whole world all the possibilities of this system. Its main tenets were standardization, narrow specialization, interchangeability and rigid hierarchy. And the discipline in the production of Colt was almost military. At 7 in the morning, the worker needed to be at his workplace when the steam engines started. If the employee was late, he was no longer allowed into the shop. Exceptional sobriety was required of staff in the workplace. Before Colt, the release of weapons was almost handmade. And each sample was unique. Parts of one pistol might not fit another, they needed to be refined on the spot. Colt himself created the machines and set up mass production of all units, striving to ensure their maximum interchangeability. For the 19th century, the idea was just a breakthrough. Another plus was the fact that mass production and use of machines led to a reduction in the cost of weapons. The handwork of an experienced craftsman was expensive. Thanks to this competitive advantage, Colt was able to conquer the market.
Samuel Colt was a colonel. Colt never was a military man and could not get the rank of his service. He was a classic businessman. But the Governor of Connecticut honored the entrepreneur who supported him financially with the honorary rank of colonel. It hardly gave the right to command the military on the battlefield.
Colt's pistols didn't need advertising. The businessman turned out to be a talented marketer who understood that advertising drives trade. Colt did not disdain self-promotion. He commissioned the artist George Kathlin, famous for his work on Native Americans and life in the Wild West. As a result, Colt's revolvers appeared in ten of the master's paintings. Six of the designs have made it to the mass offset printing market. In one of the paintings, Kathleen even depicted himself sitting on a horse and with Colts in his hands and grazing buffalo on the plain. Colt himself hired authors who created stories about his revolvers. The businessman traveled the world, gifting the heads of state with his richly decorated gold pieces. After the Ottoman sultan received a golden revolver, Colt got an order for 5,000 pistols. The businessman even built the company's logo on the basis of his own signature. In total, Colt donated more than 2,500 of his pistols.
Colt dealt only with revolvers. As a teenager, Colt experimented not only with gunpowder, but also with electricity. Actually, bold experiments with pyrotechnics led to the expulsion of the young man from school. During this time he was working on the design of the detonator. Colt used a wire coiled in tarred rope and connected an underwater explosive device. But the audience, whose smart clothes were stained with mud and water, did not appreciate the engineering idea. And in the 1840s, Colt returned to his youthful experiments and worked in partnership with the inventor of the telegraph, Samuel Morse, to improve waterproof cables. Colt, commissioned by the American government, invented a sea mine with an electric fuse.
Colt created the famous .45 caliber pistol. The pistol called the Colt Single Action Army, better known as the Colt .45 was the first revolver adopted by the American army. The legendary weapon, nicknamed "The Peacemaker" and "The Pistol that Conquered the West", is still in use today. This pistol is an integral part of all Westerns. But Samuel Colt himself had nothing to do with its creation. The pistol was released by his company 10 years after the death of the businessman himself.
Colt was a talented inventor who came up with many classic weapons. Although Colt's wits cannot be denied, he was not a prolific inventor. He received a patent for a drum pistol, but the first weapon, the Colt Paterson, was created in collaboration with Captain Samuel Walker. They say that it was he who made the main efforts to the emergence of a new revolver. Colt can be considered more of a businessman and innovator in the field of work organization. He was considered an excellent showman, he skillfully used advertising. There were women in his factory, which was a bold move. The working day lasted 10 hours with lunch break. And the most famous classic models of the Colt were released after the death of the industrialist. And a significant part of the credit for this belongs to Browning, who developed new weapons. Colt himself is credited with only one legendary model, a pocket revolver of 1840. By the time of Samuel's death, 325,000 copies of such weapons had been sold.
Colt's bankruptcy was due to his unsuccessful product. With a patent in hand, Colt turned to his wealthy relatives in New Jersey for help and opened a production in the town of Paterson. However, in 1842 the company filed for bankruptcy. For six years of work, 5000 pistols and rifles were produced. The reason for the failure is not the quality of the product. Colt just picked the wrong time and place. He looked at little New Jersey as endless Texas. And in 1837, the market collapsed after bank riots and panic. The country was going through hard times. And America in those years did not fight with anyone; it simply did not need new weapons.
After Colt's death, its production continued its triumphant march through the market. After the death of the businessman, his wife, Elizabeth, took over his affairs. She was a strong woman. For 5 years she lost four children and her husband. On February 5, 1864, Colt's arms factory took off. There is a suspicion that the arson was carried out by sympathizers of the Confederates. During the Civil War, Colt quite calmly legally supplied weapons to both southerners and northerners, which many did not like.
Elizabeth Colt watched the flames consume her husband's life-work. She could well have taken insurance, which amounted to an impressive $ 17 million, and added that money to her husband's impressive legacy. But Elizabeth decided to revive the factory. Production continued in the unburned wing. A new building was built from refractory bricks and the company continued its life. In 1862-1890, she was considered the best firearms manufacturer in the world.