Circa 1830-31, sixteen year old sailor Samuel Colt was at sea when he conceived the idea of a revolving firearm holding multiple charges. While at sea, he took the opportunity to carve out his ideas from a piece of wood. Once back on dry land, he presented his ideas to his father (Christopher) and a family friend (Henry L Ellsworth). The idea was patented and over time it was perfected with sixteen prototype examples produced from 1832 through 1836. It was at that time that Sam went about raising funds from wealthy investors and the first firm was chartered in March of 1836 and located in Patterson, NJ. This company was called the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company. The sales office and show room were located in nearby New York City. The first production pieces became available at the end of 1836 which was a rifle version known as the No. 1 Ring Lever Rifle. The Baby Patterson revolver was quick to follow. Samuel's factory was quickly recognized as the most modern gunmaking facility in America. Over the next few years, it became apparent that these firearms had there share of problems and when tested by the Government for a possible contract, the fell short. Mixed results with Colt firearms and the then current depression made things difficult for the company. By 1842, P.A. Mfg. Co. had ceased operations. In 1846, the Mexican War was under way and captain Samuel H Walker of Texas came to Washington to recruit men for battle . He corresponded with Colt about an improved version of the Patterson revolver. Shortly after their first encounter, Sam was faced with filling a 1,000 gun order. The revolvers in the contract became known as the Walker and production was accomplished in New York City and completed by mid-summer of 1847. Sam's new revolvers were an overnight success. With this momentum , he began setting up his own factory in Hartford, CT. and started designing an improved model which would become known as the Whitneyville-Hartford Dragoon. These revolvers were completed and shipped by early 1848 and the First Model Dragoon was the new project. By the end of the Mexican War in 1848, many Americans wanted a revolver for various reasons and Colt continued to offer improvements and variety to his fire arms production line. Government contracts eventually came about and the recognized demand for his firearms by both the military and the general public, made his firearms company a huge success. Samuel Colt passed away on January 10, 1862 but his company and legacy continue to this day.
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