Samuel Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut July 19, 1814 and
    died in Hartford, January 10, 1862.

    Colt was educated at home and, after his mother's death, was
    detailed to work periodically for a neighbor as farm labor. He
    displayed notable curiosity and a penchant for figuring out
    mechanical devices. Legend has Colt's first fascination for
    firearms beginning at age eleven when his master gave him a cast
    off horse pistol.

    At 15, Colt was sent to Amherst Academy  to study navigation.
    There, he displayed a "rowdy and revolutionary" personality. After
    an incident involving Colt's firing the school's cannon to the
    dismay of school officials, a friend of the family secured a
    position for him on the East India trade ship, Corvo Captain
    Spalding,  to Calcutta. Legend has it that on this voyage he
    conceived the idea of a revolver and began whittling wooden
    models. He was sixteen.

    On return from India in the summer of 1831, Colt worked in his
    family's textile shop in Ware, Massachusetts, where he had access
    to tools, materials and other workers' expertise. He also learned
    the practical chemistry of bleaching and dyeing. During his tenure
    at home, he persuaded his father to pay mechanics for making two
    shop models of his pistol design. The venture was a failure, as one
    model burst on firing and the other never worked. But the
    execution of the design was important as it later proved Colt the

    Colt left the family business and took to the road, travelling from
    Quebec to New Orleans selling merchandise and lecturing on
    chemistry under the name of "Dr. Coult."  A feature of his lectures
    was the administration of nitrous oxide gas to volunteers from the
    audience. His road show made Colt popular as well as funding his
    gun design venture. During his medicine show career, Colt
    continued to commission gunsmiths and machinists, thirteen
    altogether, in refining and prototyping his revolver design.

    In July, 1835, he was advised by Henry Ellsworth, the U.S. Chief
    Patent Officer, to take his design to England and secure a patent
    before submitting it in the U.S. Colt booked passage in August.
    Upon arrival, Colt obtained and studied expatriate Bostonian
    Elisha Collier's British patent for  a flintlock revolver, quickly
    finalized his own documentation, and submitted for  British patent
    in October 1835. The wooden models and the remnants of two
    failed models supported his submission, and British patent 6909
    for "improvements to the construction of a revolving firearm" was
    granted on October 22, 1835. In November, Colt filed in France
    for an identical patent and was likewise awarded.

    He returned to the U.S. and obtained patent (number 138) on
    February 25, 1836 for a Revolving Gun.  The first production
    model saw light on March 5, 1836 and Colt raised the capital to
    open the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New
    Jersey. With that stroke, the Colt Paterson, the first manufactured
    percussion revolver was born.

    Excerpts from Samuel Colt: Arms, Art, and Invention
Percussion Revolvers
- a short history
the Colt Paterson
The Percussion Revolver
is a completely
American invention.

Successful precursor
were the
inventions of
Americans in Europe

Sam Colt
through genius and
invented the modern sidearm

The next step into history
was the collaboration of
Sam Colt and
Sam Walker.
The Colt Paterson Revolver
image courtesy of
Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation