In the long history of the modern weapons industry “Colt Manufacturing Company” still holds the place as home of the many innovations that changed the way we produce and use firearms today. Founded by the visionary inventor Samuel Colt, this factory at West Hartford, Connecticut was responsible for the creation of the first modern revolver (famous model Colt Paterson), as well as the birthplace of the modern way of the manufacturing firearms with interchangeable parts. Even after the death of its founder, this company continued to innovate and was responsible for many gun models that became famous all around the world.
“Colt Manufacturing Company” was founded in 1835 on in the vicinity of West Hartford, Connecticut by the hands of Samuel Colt who that year managed to secure two revolver patents, both from United States and England. Troubled by the low production quality caused from the inability to manufacture easily interchangeable parts, first few years of the revolver production did not manage to achieve expectations set by the Colt. Usability of the product varied from piece to piece, with some guns working perfectly and with others either not working at all or breaking after few shots. Although Colt’s first revolver “Colt Paterson” found its way to the American soldiers fighting the war against the Seminoles in Florida, many soldiers managed to destroy their guns in very short time. Firing mechanism proved to be unreliable, and the fact that half of the gun had to be disassembled for reloading did not go well in the field. Bad impressions from US military and other buyers led to the poor start of the company, and eventual shutdown of the production after the US economy crashed in 1837.
After few years spent in the manufacturing of the underwater telegraph cables and sea mines, Colt finally returned to the gun making in 1847 when Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas ranger requested 1000 revolvers to be made for his soldiers who fought in the Mexican War. For that purpose Samuel Colt established new manufacturing plant, and after a while Walker requested another 1000 pieces of revolvers. But this time, he did not want old “Colt Paterson” designs, but he, Colt and an famous engineer Eli Whitney Blake produces brand new design that was called “Walker Colt”. It featured improved firing chamber, larger main barrel and it used powerful .44 ammunition. Tremendous firing power of this revolver became instant hit to the US soldiers, and variations of this gun remained in use for several next generations until the eventual debut of the Magnum 0.357 in 1935.
After the end of the US Civil War and when rise of the demand for his revolvers skyrocketed (mainly because his various contracts to the European buyers and Californian gold rush), Samuel Colt decided that a new and permanent manufacturing plant must be built. On the shores of the Connecticut River he established “Colt Armory”, a factory that became center of his company weapon manufacture even up to today. Inside of these walls some of the most iconic and famous guns were produced. Most notably we will mention Colt Single Action Army (revolver that became extremely famous in the age of the Wild West gunslingers and as the main firearm of the US Army of that time), Thompson Submachineguns Mod 1921 (which became favorite weapon of the Prohibition gangsters in USA), Colt M1911 (first pistol with the magazine), and various models of the M16 carbine rifle that became main part of the US Army weaponry over the last 50 years.