died in Hartford, January 10, 1862.
Colt was educated at home and, after his mother's death, was
detailed to work periodically for a neighbor as farm labor. He
displayed notable curiosity and a penchant for figuring out
mechanical devices. Legend has Colt's first fascination for
firearms beginning at age eleven when his master gave him a cast
off horse pistol.
At 15, Colt was sent to Amherst Academy to study navigation.
There, he displayed a "rowdy and revolutionary" personality. After
an incident involving Colt's firing the school's cannon to the
dismay of school officials, a friend of the family secured a
position for him on the East India trade ship, Corvo Captain
Spalding, to Calcutta. Legend has it that on this voyage he
conceived the idea of a revolver and began whittling wooden
models. He was sixteen.
On return from India in the summer of 1831, Colt worked in his
family's textile shop in Ware, Massachusetts, where he had access
to tools, materials and other workers' expertise. He also learned
the practical chemistry of bleaching and dyeing. During his tenure
at home, he persuaded his father to pay mechanics for making two
shop models of his pistol design. The venture was a failure, as one
model burst on firing and the other never worked. But the
execution of the design was important as it later proved Colt the
Colt left the family business and took to the road, travelling from
Quebec to New Orleans selling merchandise and lecturing on
chemistry under the name of "Dr. Coult." A feature of his lectures
was the administration of nitrous oxide gas to volunteers from the
audience. His road show made Colt popular as well as funding his
gun design venture. During his medicine show career, Colt
continued to commission gunsmiths and machinists, thirteen
altogether, in refining and prototyping his revolver design.
In July, 1835, he was advised by Henry Ellsworth, the U.S. Chief
Patent Officer, to take his design to England and secure a patent
before submitting it in the U.S. Colt booked passage in August.
Upon arrival, Colt obtained and studied expatriate Bostonian
Elisha Collier's British patent for a flintlock revolver, quickly
finalized his own documentation, and submitted for British patent
in October 1835. The wooden models and the remnants of two
failed models supported his submission, and British patent 6909
for "improvements to the construction of a revolving firearm" was
granted on October 22, 1835. In November, Colt filed in France
for an identical patent and was likewise awarded.
He returned to the U.S. and obtained patent (number 138) on
February 25, 1836 for a Revolving Gun. The first production
model saw light on March 5, 1836 and Colt raised the capital to
open the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New
Jersey. With that stroke, the Colt Paterson, the first manufactured
percussion revolver was born.
Excerpts from Samuel Colt: Arms, Art, and Invention
- a short history
the Colt Paterson
|The Percussion Revolver
is a completely
Americans in Europe
through genius and
invented the modern sidearm
The next step into history
was the collaboration of
Sam Colt and Sam Walker.
|The Colt Paterson Revolver