In this episode we delve into the life and innovations of Samuel Colt, a pivotal figure in the history of firearms. It explores Colt's journey from a curious and inventive young man to a pioneering force in the firearms industry,
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Welcome to the Live2Shoot podcast. My name is Jeff Dowdell and I've been a licensed firearm dealer for the last 16 years. In this podcast we talk about all things related to the second amendment any other stories going on in the news, something I might find interesting or anything else. Plus this is one of our episodes where we're going to just talk a little bit about history. I am trying to roll some more of these stories out where we talk about talk about firearm manufacturers, inventors, how things came to be, influential people in the industry and whatnot. And so I thought we would look at what could be the most influential inventor in firearms and You know, there's a lot of them that you could look at, but very few could argue that Samuel Colt isn't near the top. And when you look at the history of firearms, and the timeline of the development, things begin to change, really, when Sam Colt comes onto the scene, and that first revolver hits here's just a few interesting things about Sam Colt before we get into the story and just kind of listen for some of these as I'll bring them up a little bit more in detail. But Sam was early adopter of the assembly line. He pioneered product placement. He even produced his own version of July 4th fireworks. And the key turning point in his life was a voyage on a ship as he worked when he developed the design for the revolver. He spent three years as a traveling huckster and that kind of went into some of his marketing skills. His first firearms company flopped. His brother was convicted of murder. The Mexican American War revived Colt's fortunes. And he built an industrial utopia with parks and orchards and things like that for all the the employees and immigrants that that worked the, in his factories. And he never held Colt 45 in his hand. The the gun that won the West. Didn't come out until 10 years after his death. So Sam Colt, interesting thing about Sam Colt is he was a very inquisitive mind. You can just see that as a young child and he enjoyed disassembling, disassembling items and putting them back together and really digging into seeing how they worked. He enjoyed reading about guns and explosives and one of his. earliest, most prized possession was a flintlock pistol that his maternal grandfather had used it in the, under George Washington in the Continental Army in the American Revolution. But you know, during 1829, when Sam's about 15 years old, he worked in his father's textile processing plant where he really learned how to use machines and machine tools in the manufacturing manufacturing process. And in his spare time, he experimented with gunpowder and setting off small explosives, like blowing things up. And he's a little, he was a little bit of a rascal, I guess you'd probably say. And his father finally sent him to a Amherst Academy, a private academy in Amherst, Massachusetts. And while he was really, really smart, you can tell that, and curious, and a good student, he got expelled. And he was, because he was often disciplined for conducting unapproved demonstrations of his explosive devices. And, One of the school's displays in 1830, on the 4th of July, he caused a fire on campus and they got expelled him. So, his father sent him off to be a seaman, to work on ships. And while working on the ships, he became fascinated with the, the wheel, the ship's wheel. And he analyzed it and studied it and he saw that, and he created a wooden prototype that helped him, you know, actually invent the rotation type of the firearm because he noticed that regardless of which way the wheel was spun each spoke always came in direct line with a clutch that would could sit to hold it and so he conceived the revolver and the interesting thing about this is at that time he was about 16 or 17 years old and he's coming up with an idea that revolutionized firearms when he turned when he went to Back to Massachusetts in 1883, at the age of 18, he showed his carved model to his father, and his father agreed to help finance it. While the prototype rifle worked well, one of the pistols exploded and the other failed to fire. Though Colt, you know, Colt blamed his failures on shoddy workmanship and cheap materials, his father withdrew all financial support from him. So to earn money for More guns, Colt began touring the country, you know, doing public demonstrations of medical marvels of the day, nitrous oxide, laughing gas, so he was, you know, that guy that would roll into town and bark out and sell his, his wares, and it was through these displays that he kind of became this pitch man that he was famous for you He was finally able to have a prototype built by a professional gunsmith and instead of multiple individually loading rotating barrels used in his early repeating firearms Colt's revolver used a single fixed barrel attached to a rotating cylinder and the action of cocking the gun rotated the cylinder in line to be the fire, for the cartridge to be fire next. And then rather than claiming to have invented the revolver, Colt always acknowledged that his gun had been an improvement to a revolving flintlock pistol patented by guns boston gunsmith elijah collier Around 1814. So, you know to a degree he was humble Then he partnered with master gunsmith. John pearson and he continued to refine and refine as his revolver And he received a patent in 1835 granted The granted Samuel Colt the U. S. patent 9430X for revolving gun on February 25th, 1836. And along with a group of influential investors Colt opened a patent armed manufacturing company to produce his revolver. You know, he also advanced the use of during this he, he refined the manufacturing process. He advanced the use of interchangeable parts he envisioned Colt's guns were built His guns were built on an assembly line and a letter to his father, he, he explained the process that the first workman would receive two or three of the most important parts and would fix these and pass them on to the next who would add a part and pass the growing part article onto another who would do the same and so on and so on until the completed arm was done You know, in his career as an inventor and business promoter, prevented him from marrying until, until he attained his considerable fame and fortune in 1986. At 42, he finally marries Elizabeth Hart Jarvis in an opulence ceremony, and they were together only six years before he died. But the couple did have five children, only of one of which called, called when Hart survived beyond infancy. Those were, you know, tough times during that time. He amassed a massive fortune, but he barely enjoyed his age. So while he had an early career, you know, coming up with the idea for the Colt by age 17, he only lived to be 47. You know, under you know, and he, you know, he left quite a legacy. During his lifetime, the company produced more than 400, 000 firearms, and it still remains in business today, under Colt manufacturing. Manufactured more than 30 million pistols and rifles since its founding in 1855. You know, his legacy is quite extensive. When they people speak of the guns that won the West, they mention the Winchester Model 1873 revolver rifle, lever action rifle, and the Colt single action army revolver. known as the Peacemaker. So you can see that Colt made a significant impact into the firearms industry and our history as a, as a country and by the development of that revolver. And so very interesting. In our next episode, we're going to actually talk about the Colt Manufacturing Company. Self and its history and where it is today. So thank you for listening. Give me your feedback on what you think about these little short little vignettes on history and share the podcast, let other people know about it. Send me comments subscribe get notifications, do all that type of stuff. And I appreciate you listening and have a great.