The Colt six shooter will always be a legend to many fighting men. Whether youknow it as an accurate, cowboy, Texas Ranger, gun-slinging, out West, corral gun, or as alittle protection, the Peacemaker by Samuel Colt and Samuel Colt will never be forgotten. Samuel Colt is known as the inventor of the first revolving firearm. Colt was born in1814 to a family were money was not the pressing issue. His father ,Christopher, was aman that owned his own silk mill in the town where Colt was born, Hartford, Connecticut. Colt’s mother died when he was six and his father’s business started to fail. When Colt was seven, he was fascinated by guns. He took apart his father’s gun in a field and wasable to successfully rebuild it. At the age of ten Colt was an apprentice in his father’s mill,mostly dying clothes. Science, adventures of an active life, and mechanics were all thefavorite passions of young Colt. The adventures eventually led Colt into trouble. At theage of seventeen Colt was expelled from a preparatory school in Amherst, MA.During the years of 1830 – 1831 Colt voyaged to India. It was during theseyears that Colt first conceived the idea of a revolving firearm. Some think it may havecome from watching the revolving wheel of the ship, turning and locking. While on boardship, Colt must have seen other revolving firearms in London or India. He carved awooden model of his ideal gun while he was at sea. None of what Colt may havepreviously seen on revolving guns could have led to his invention. His ideas were notcopied from any source, even though the revolving idea was not unique.When Colt arrived home from sea, he showed the wooden model to his father and afamily friend. This friend was Henry Ellsworth, Commissioner of the United States PatentOffice. Both Colt’s father and Mr. Ellsworth were greatly impressed by the model. Theyencouraged Colt to file for a patent for his revolving firearm. In the year 1831 Colt hired aman to create the first working model. In 1836 Colt began the production of the firstrevolver after his petition for the patent. Between these years Colt presented lectures onchemistry and did practical demonstrations of laughing gas.On February of the 25, in the year 1835, the first United States patent was granted forColt revolver. The patent that Colt received covered eight basic features. First, theapplication of caps at the end of the gun cylinder. Second, the application of a partitionbetween the caps, as well as other basic ideas. The other areas of the patent cover theapplication of certain parts of the gun, the principle of locking and turning the cylinder ,and all of the basic revolver parts.In 1848, the new pocket model revolver was introduced. Colt devised an alternativemeans of loading the gun – removing the barrel and cylinder, and either switching anempty cylinder for a loaded one or using the axis pin as a ramrod. This gun wasnicknamed the “Baby Dragoon” because it resembled the bigger Dragoon. The pocket-sized pistols had a larger span of appeal to the public. Even Colt Houston of Texasordered a Baby Dragoon from his friend Colt.
In 1847 the US Army contracted Colt to build his Walker revolver for military use.This was the first truly practical revolving cylinder firearm. The main feature of thisfirearm was a ratchet of the cylinder to revolve the cylinder. The revolving was initiatedby the hammer; the motion it made was called “cocking” the hammer. The way that thenew revolver was described as working Appleton’s Dictionary of Mechanics was:”Colt improvements in firearms , patent 1849, consist incertain improvements upon that construction of guns andpistols which has cylindrical revolving breech piece,provided with a series of parallel chambers for containing aseries of charges, by revolution of the breech upon it’s shaft,may be brought into line with the bore of the barrel, and beseverally discharged through the same.”What was meant by this is that a cylinder, round piece of metal, contained several charges(at this time black powder is still being used), that revolved around a center point thataligned the charge to be able to be fired out the barrel of the weapon. In 1873 Colt revisedthe Colt revised the current design and created the Single Action Army revolver. Thisrevolver is commonly called the Peacemaker. In 1896 with the advent of smokeless gunpowder the SAA, or the Peacemaker, was updated and mass produced using Eli Whitney’smass production ideas.Houston told Colt, “(If) you have a small pistol, or will soon have one made of choicequality, I wish you to bring it with you as I wish to purchase one. I did not know (ofthem) until a few days since- I then saw one for the first time and was greatly pleased with it.” The type seen be Houston was an actual Baby Dragoon with a square-backtrigger guard and a Texas Ranger scene on the cylinder. This particular scene was of aTexas Ranger and an Indian in a fight scene.The Colt revolver served a great purpose for the Texas Rangers. This pocket-sizedgun could be casually carried around and easily reloaded. The beauty of the gun was itssix consecutive shots and its precise accuracy. The Texas Rangers and other Texasgunslingers know Colt as the “cream of the crop” in gun making, supreme revolving techniques and great precision make Colt the number one gun for Texans.
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