Who was Samuel Colt? He was a legendary inventor from Hartford, Connecticut that helped revolutionize the way the world produced firearms. Colt was born to a family of farmers, his father Christopher Colt was a farmer, however he later stopped farming and became a business man. Meanwhile Colt’s mother Sarah Colt passed when he was just six years old. His father remarried two years later and overall there would be six siblings in the Colt family. Despite being part of a big family Samuel Colt was destined to become successful and stand out above his other siblings.
Colt began to engineer when he was very young.
This was because his father had a silk mill factory in Massachusetts. His father Christopher trained the young Samuel in chemistry; he encouraged him to become a business man and to have his own company one day. By giving personal training sessions to his son in engineering and allowing him to work at his company he secured a bright future for Samuel Colt in the manufacturing industry.
One of Colt’s first factories was the Patent Arms Company in Paterson, New Jersey. That’s where Colt produced his first revolvers; however it was not a successful company and soon the business failed.
The primary reason why the business failed was due to some malfunctions in the machinery. “There were several parts in the revolver that tend to break when shooting” (Wilson, 1985). Regardless of the misfortunes of his first company Samuel Colt was not going to give up on his revolver invention. Instead he started a new factory in Hartford, Connecticut called Colt’s Patent-Firearms Manufacturing Company. The company was founded with the help of his cousin Elisha Colt who was a banker; she gave Colt a loan for him to be able to open his new factory.
Despite the failures of his previous factories this one was going to be successful and would revolutionize the way of manufacturing firearms. Colt’s new revolvers were smaller than his previous ones and were more reliable unlike the first revolvers that had exploding malfunctions when firing. In fact the new revolvers became so popular that “people began to refer to the revolver as the Colt” (Wilson, 1985). The popularity of these revolvers led to a new way of mass producing firearms by creating interchangeable parts and soon Colt had the largest private armament factory which manufactured ne hundred and fifty weapons per day.
At the height of his success Colt unexpectedly passed at the age of forty-seven. His death shocked many and his brother in law Richard Jarvis assumed the factory’s responsibilities. Richard would run the company for years and would contribute in keeping the Colt’s Manufacturing Company legacy alive. In the outbreak of the American Civil War the future of America was being decided in a battle between the North and South. During this exact time Hartford played an important role in manufacturing weapons for the North.
As a matter of fact Colt’s company signed a government contract during the Civil War “Colt’s company signed the very first government contract for producing rifles” (Warshauer, 2011). This gave Hartford an important key role in mass producing firearms for the North. During the Civil War Colt’s Manufacturing Company designed a new revolver called the Model 1862 Pocket Navy; a total of nineteen thousand of these revolvers were produced within the first year. Colt’s Manufacturing Company also came up with a new idea of improving the production of the revolver by matching steel of the frame, cylinder, and barrel which made the gun less heavy.
These new ideas of mass production were now being utilized by other firearms companies in Connecticut. For instance, another company in Hartford called Sharp’s Rifle started using the same production techniques that Colt’s company invented. Eventually everyone would copy the Colt’s Manufacturing Company inventions placing it as one of the most successful firearms companies of its time. As the American Civil War came to an end it was obvious that Colt’s invention of the revolver and his ideas of mass producing firearms had made him into a legendary inventor.
Because of Colt’s inventions and his company’s contributions to the Nation the Union Army managed to have advanced revolvers during the war. Overall “Its output for the entire Civil War period totaled 378,000 revolvers and 114,000 muskets” (Grant, 1982). The role that his company played in producing firearms for the Union Army placed Colt as a historic figure in American history. Today Samuel Colt is looked at as the man who revolutionized the firearm industry and the man who created the first mass producing firearms company in the world. He was recently honored in 2006 as he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
With manufacturing moving overseas in the past several decades and America currently having a trade deficit it would be difficult for Hartford to redevelop itself as one of the most important manufacturing cities in America. On the contrary, Hartford can use its past to place itself as one of the most important manufacturing cities in America. For instance, it can argue the fact that Colt came up with the idea of mass production and started running his business out of Hartford, that it was the city of Hartford who was the first to place itself as an industrial city in America.
As the United States also faces challenges in regaining some of its success in the past back in manufacturing, it must end the habit of companies shipping all of the manufacturing jobs overseas and restore the jobs on American soil. At this time American democracy is at risk due to overspending and a high debt. During the era of Colt, America produced all of its weapons and the majority of its products. I don’t see why we can’t do that in today’s age. Unfortunately, I don’t think that American companies are likely to stop shipping their manufacturing jobs overseas.
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The Legend of Samuel Colt. (2017, Feb 03). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-legend-of-samuel-colt-essay