Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Remembering Samuel Colt On His Birthday

Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814 - January 10, 1862) was an American inventor and industrialist, who is today best remembered as the creator of one of the most popular gun designs in the history of the world - six-barreled Colt pistol called "revolver". As a founder of" Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company" (today known as "Colt's Manufacturing Company") he greatly popularized the use of interchangeable parts, assembly lines and simple gun designs which made him one of the most influential and wealthiest industrialists of his time. According to many historians, his successes and contributions in the field of military arms paved the way for the expansion of America influence across the world.
At the age of 15, Colt started working in his father textile plant in Massachusetts, where he used accessible tools, materials and experienced factory workers to work on his ideas. In those years he managed to create homemade galvanic cell which he used to test the gunpowder charges near the Ware Lake. In 1832, his father sent him to learn a sea trade on a merchant ship, and it was there that Samuel conceived the initial designs of his rotating gun barrel. While serving on first voyage on the ship, he noticed the movement of the ship's wheel, and was inspired to create a similar rotating concept for loading bullets in front of the main firing barrel. According to the words of Colt himself, "regardless of which way the wheel was spun, each spoke always came in direct line with a clutch that could be set to hold it... the revolver was conceived!" He immediately began designing the basic shape of a gun, and before returning home he managed to make a wooden model of a revolver.
Before the start of the US Civil War, Colt married Elizabeth Jarvis, the daughter of the Reverend William Jarvis who lived near Hartford. He was drafted into the army in the rank of Colonel on May 16, 1861, but he never entered into combat. He died soon after the war on January 10, 1862, at the age of 47. At the time of his death he was the wealthiest US inventor (with estimated wealth of around 15 million dollars), and most certainly inventor who influenced the rise of the entire war industry. His designs continue to live on in the following centuries, and his "Colt's Manufacturing Company" continues to thrive and innovate even today. Some of the most important gun designs that were made in the Colt's Manufacturing Company during the centuries are Colt-Browning Model 1895 (first operational gas--actuated machine gun), Thompson Submachine gun Mod 1921 (which was very popular in the age of US Prohibition, where many policeman and gangsters used it), and Colt CMG-1 and CMG-2 machine guns which became the main weapon of the US army during 1960s.
Samuel Colt never held a Colt .45 in his hand. The Colt Single Action Army handgun, better known as the Colt .45, was not released until a decade after Colt’s death in 1862. Dubbed the “Peacemaker” and “the gun that won the West,” the Colt .45 served as the standard service revolver of the U.S. military between 1873 and 1892.
One of the most popular automatic rifle designs to date, the M16 began life as the AR15 (Armalite Rifle) at the Armalite Division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation, designed by Eugene Stoner, Robert Fremont and James Sullivan.
The AR15 / M16 is actually the product of a scaled-down redesign of another Armalite rifle, the AR-10, a rifle designed during the mid-1950s to fire the full-power 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. At the time, the AR-10 was unique in that was partially constructed of lightweight materials such as aluminum forgings and synthetic materials, which reduced weight substantially.
ArmaLite licenses both the AR-10 and AR 15 designs to Colt Firearms. Robert Fremont, a key player in the design team of the AR-10 and AR 15 Rifle models, leaves ArmaLite for Colt Firearms to help with continued AR rifle development.
The M4 carbine is a compact variant of the M16A2 assault rifle. Manufactured by Colt Defense, the M4 is a preferred weapon for the US Armed Forces and 21st century war-fighters.
We recognize the accomplishments and the impact Samuel Colt had on the gun industry. Happy 202nd Birthday Sam!
Semper Paratus
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