Born: 19 July 1814
Died: 10 January 1862
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut
Best known as: Inventor of the Colt revolver
Samuel Colt created the 19th-century handgun, and the successful gun company, which bore his name. Colt was 16 years old and sailing on a ship to India when he carved a model of a single-barrelled pistol with automatically revolving chambers. The design was 'revolutionary' in more ways than one: it turned handguns from single-shot devices into multi-shot machines that were far more useful and deadly in combat. By the time he was 22, Colt had patented a working revolver in France, England and the United States. He began manufacturing them in an assembly-line factory in New Jersey in 1836. The company failed at first, but war with Mexico and expansion into the west required more guns, and Colt built up a new factory in Connecticut. By the beginning of the Civil War, the Colt revolver was one of the standard small arms of the world. Colt died a rich man, and the company is still around today.
The .45 caliber "Peacemaker," the most famous revolver manufactured by Colt’s company, wasn’t created until 11 years after his death… Before Colt reopened his factory in 1847, he invented a system of submarine mines and a submarine telegraph cable… Colt’s guns inspired an old saying: "God created man, Sam Colt made them equal."
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