This Day in History – March 5th, 1836

Samuel_Colt_engraving_by_John_Chester_Buttre,_c1855

Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814 – January 10, 1862)

Samuel Colt was an American inventor and industrialist from Hartford, Connecticut. He patented the first production-model revolver, the .34-caliber, on March 5th, 1836 and founded Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company (today, Colt’s Manufacturing Company), and made the mass production of the revolver commercially viable.

Colt’s first two business ventures — producing firearms in Paterson, New Jersey, and making underwater mines — ended in disappointment. But his business expanded rapidly after 1847, when the Texas Rangers ordered 1,000 revolvers during the American war with Mexico. During the American Civil War, his factory in Hartford supplied firearms only to the North and not to the South. Later, his firearms were prominent during the settling of the western frontier. Colt died in 1862 as one of the wealthiest men in America.

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Copy of a Colt Paterson Texas Model

Colt’s manufacturing methods were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. His use of interchangeable parts helped him become one of the first to exploit the assembly line. Moreover, his innovative use of art, celebrity endorsements and corporate gifts to promote his wares made him a pioneer in the fields of advertising, product placement and mass marketing.

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