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Samuel Colt

From Academic Kids

Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814January 10, 1862), born in Hartford, Connecticut, was the inventor of the revolver, and founder of the Colt Firearms company.

Colt's father owned a textile mill, where the young Colt learned the principles of machinery. His work in the mill led to being a shipping hand, which then led to the aspiration to go to sea. At the age of 15, Colt left Connecticut and signed on as a sailor bound for India. Common legend holds that it was while observing the operation of the ship's capstan that Colt conceived the idea of revolving pistol.

Colt received a European patent for his revolver in 1835, and an American patent in 1836. Along with his investors, he formed the "Patent Arms Manufacturing Company", which produced the first production model of Colt's revolver on March 5 of the same year. Due to slow acceptance of the revolutionary design, the Patent Arms company went into bankruptcy in 1842, and during the ensuing litigation that lasted through 1846 Samuel Colt produced no further pistols.

With his patent rights re-secured, Colt began making firearms again in 1847 at the factory of Eli Whitney, and established his factory in Connecticut in 1848, where the Colt Firearms company remains to this day. Colt's new factory was based upon the American system of manufacturing he observed at Whitney's plant, but Colt advanced this system to create what would be recognized as the first industrialized firearm factory in the world. In 1849, Colt hired Elisha K. Root, who had made the Collins Company the foremost axe manufacturer in the world, to bring his machinery to state of the art, making the Colt revolver the first firearm with truly interchangeable parts. Root invented the Lincoln Miller milling machine that was to become the most important American heavy machine tool of the late 1800s, with 150,000 being sold. Another Colt employee, William Mason patented over 125 inventions that modernized the production of firearms, as well as steam pumps and power looms.

Besides firearms, other roles Colt played in the development of technology included the first remotely detonated explosive, the first underwater telegraph cable, and the popularization of using nitrous oxide as anesthesia.

A popular saying regarding Colt and his firearms during the Nineteenth century was "God made all Men, Samuel Colt made them equal."

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