In 1852, Horace Smith, an experienced machinist and gunsmith, and Daniel B Wesson, a self employed gunsmith and master tool and die maker (both from Massachusetts) formed a partnership and moved to Norwich, Connecticut where they manufactured and sold an improved version of the Hunt-Jennings lever action repeater in an iron frame handgun version. This firearm caused them some difficulties primarily due to one major weakness, which was the cartridge. Then in 1855, they acquired the manufacturing rights for the Rollin-White cartridge firearm. Recognizing their great potential, they decided to sell off their lever action repeater and cartridge patents to someone else so that they could start selling revolvers. Smith and Wesson named the newly formed company which held these patents the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company and sold their shares of ownership to a group of investors while still retaining the right to produce and sell cartridges. The sold company moved from Norwich to New Haven, CT while both of its previous owners, Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson, moved back to their home state of Massachusetts. Then in 1856, these two individuals formed a second partnership in Springfield, MA where they produced a revolver designed for their self contained cartridges. This was only the beginning of a long and prosperous line of handguns produced by this company for over one hundred and fifty years and counting. Smith & Wesson supplied rifles and shotguns with their name on them during the 1970's which were being produced overseas. In 2007, they purchased Thompson Center Arms and merged the production of this companies line with their own in Springfield, MA during 2011. Smith & Wesson has become one of the most well known handgun manufacturers to date having the largest variety of pistols and revolvers of any manufacturer in the world.
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