The Colt Six-shooter

The colt six shooter will always be a legend to Texas. Whether you know
it as an accurate, cowboy, Texas Ranger, gun-slinging, out West, corral gun, or
as a little protection, the colt will never be forgotten in Texas.
Sam Colt is known as the inventor of the first revolving firearm. Sam’s
mother died when he was six and his father owned a silk mill in Ware,
Massachusetts. When Sam Colt was seven, he was fascinated by guns. He took
apart his father’s gun in a field and was able to successfully rebuild it.
Science, adventures of an active life, and mechanics were all the favorite
passions of young Samuel Colt.
During 1830 – 1831, Sam Colt was abroad at sea. It was during these
years that Samuel first conceived the idea of a revolving firearm. Some think
it may have come from watching the revolving wheel of the ship, turning and
locking. While on board ship, Sam must have seen other revolving firearms in
London or India. Sam carved a wooden model of his ideal gun while he was at
sea. None of what Sam may have previously seen on revolving guns could have
led to his invention. His ideas were not copied from any source, even though
the revolving idea was not unique.

When Sam arrived home from sea, he showed the wooden model to his
father and a family friend. This friend was Henry Ellsworth, Commissioner of
the United States Patent Office. Both Sam’s father and Mr. Ellsworth were
greatly impressed by the model. They encouraged Sam to file for a patent for
his revolving firearm.
On February of the 25, in the year 1835, the first United States patent
was granted for a colt revolver. The patent that Samuel received covered eight
basic features. First, the application of caps at the end of the gun cylinder.
Second, the application of a partition between the caps, as well as other basic
ideas. The other areas of the patent cover the application of certain parts
of the gun, the principle of locking and turning the cylinder , and all of the
basic revolver parts.

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In 1848, the new pocket model revolver was introduced. Colt devised an
alternative means of loading the gun – removing the barrel and cylinder, and
either switching an empty cylinder for a loaded one or using the axis pin as a
ramrod. This gun was nicknamed the “Baby Dragoon” because it resembled the
bigger Dragoon. The pocket-sized pistols had a larger span of appeal to the
public. Even Sam Houston of Texas ordered a Baby Dragoon from his friend Sam
Houston told Colt, “(If) you have a small pistol, or will soon have one
made of choice quality, I wish you to bring it with you as I wish to purchase
one. I did not know (of them) 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-back trigger guard and a Texas Ranger scene on
the cylinder. This particular scene was of a Texas Ranger and an Indian in a
fight scene.
The colt revolver served a great purpose for the Texas Rangers. This
pocket-sized gun could be casually carried around and easily reloaded. The
beauty of the gun was its six consecutive shots and its precise accuracy. The
Texas Rangers and other Texas gunslingers 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.

1. The Handbook of Texas, p 382
The Texas Historical Association
2. Colt : An American Legend, all pages
Wilson Publishings ; Robert Lawrence Wilson
3. How It Works, p 3240
H.S. Stuttman Inc.


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