Matt CummingsMr. RamageEnglish III15 January 2018Colt Firearms ColtFirearms is one of the most well known firearms companies in the world. Colt’sguns have been carried to Russia, to the battlefields of the Civil War, and allthe way to the war in Iraq. Colts have been carried from the O.
K. Corral andsome Colts landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. Colt Firearms is one ofthe most influential gun companies. SamuelColt grew up in the 1820s to 1830s in Connecticut. He loved taking things apartto see how they functioned. He took anything apart including his father’s guns.At sixteen, Colt attended the Amherst Academy in Massachusetts, studyingnavigation.
While he was at school he continued to disassemble things, causinghim to get expelled. Although he wasn’t attending school, he wanted to continuestudying navigation so his father helped him. In 1830, Samuel’s father gave himthe opportunity to go on a yearlong voyage aboard the ship, Corvo. Duringhis time on the Corvo, Colt became amazed by the way the wheel could spin or belocked in place by a clutch. He began to come up with a way to use thistechnology in firearms. On the way home from his voyage he carved a lockingpin, six barrel cylinder, and a hammer out of wood. The original prototypesconsisted of six rotating barrels, but he decided a rotating cylinder with onebarrel would be better and lighter. Manypeople considered Colt’s idea innovation, rather than invention.
A man namedElisha Collier had already invented a revolving flintlock pistol. Colt didperfect it at the time by using a percussion cap rather than flint and powder,calling it the Paterson pistol. The original patent for the Paterson listedadvancements including the location and weight of the cylinder, and a fasterrate of fire.
In 1836 Colt’s, Patent Arms Manufacturing Company produced thefirst Paterson pistols in Paterson, New Jersey using funds from the Coltfamily. Coltproduced three handguns and two rifles all including the revolving cylinder.They were loaded the same as other guns at the time but these were the first toinclude a strike plate with a percussion cap. The settlers in the west lovedthe ease of loading and the possibility of firing multiple times without havingto reload. Colt continued to improve the different models and kept the rightsto his patents, which was one of the smartest things he could do. WhenColt was happy with the guns he manufactured, he went to the office of the U.S.
Secretary of war to get a government contract. The U.S. government deemed theproduct too unreliable because of the new percussion caps, which the governmenthad no experience with.
During the Second Seminole War Colt only saw a fewsales and the company had its first struggle to stay afloat, something the companywould be familiar with in the future. In 1842 Patent Arms Manufacturing Companywas shut down. Colt would soon have another chance. In1844 James K. Polk was elected president and the U.S. and the country had plansto expand outward. Colt saw the opportunity to try to get a governmentcontract.
He took an improved version of his holster pistol to the wardepartment. As the Mexican War started Samuel H. Walker of the U.S. MountedRiflemen visited Colt.
They sat down and came up with the Colt Walker, a newand improved Colt. General Zachary Taylor ordered 1000 Colt Walkers and in 1847they were delivered. In1861 Colt had the biggest opportunity yet. He was given the opportunity tosupply the Union Army.
He had to hire 1000 new employees just in his Hartford,Connecticut factory. He also had the chance to outfit the First Regiment ConnecticutRifles. The Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company was booming. Inearly 1862, 47-year-old Samuel Colt died of chronic Rheumatism. He left theentire company to his wife Elizabeth. She would run her husbands business until1901 when she sold it. Soon after the company was sold John Moses Browningwould join the company and created the Browning Automatic Rifle and the model1911. Atthe time WWI started the 1911 was the standard issue government pistol and thedemand of the Colt .
45 was the biggest the company has ever seen. Businessboomed and the workforce grew to 10 thousand workers. By the end of the war thecompany expanded to more than just guns, selling printing presses, dishwashers,and many other things to keep revenue up. InOctober of 1929 the biggest depression in history started and devastated thecompany like many others at the time. Sales dropped astronomically and thecompany was forced to lay off many workers. The later 1930s hurt the companyeven more. Things kept getting worse, there was a violent strike, a huge flood,and a hurricane filled one of the factories with mud.
The company wasstruggling more than it ever had but would soon be bigger than imaginable. In1942 World War Two started and the U.S. Government needed more guns than everbefore. Colt expanded to over 15 thousand employees. The tree factories had towork three shifts for seven days a week to keep up with demand. By the laterpart of the war the company was having a hard time making profit and by the endof the war they were losing money.
The Company was left in pieces when they gotnotified that the government orders had ended. Thecompany would boom again during the Korean War in the early 50s. But once againafter the war ended the company would struggle to stay alive.
By the middle ofthe decade the company needed a new owner. Penn-Texas Corporation would step upand after several name changes and several different owners the company waspart of Colt Industries, named after the company. Coltdeveloped the M-16 rifle in 1959 and it would soon be the biggest order thecompany ever had. The Vietnam conflict escalated the next year the U.S. was indire need of more guns.
The first big order for the standard issue M-16 came inin 1963 when the Air Force ordered 25 thousand of the new guns. The company haddelivered over one million M-16s by 1969. Likethe many times before the company was struggling by the end of the war. Thecompany began looking at ways to keep revenue up and decided focusing onsporting guns was a good idea. They generated $17 million from sport guns in1970. Around that same time the demandfor classic Colts began to climb so the company decided to establish theirCustom Gun Shop. Atthe end of the 70s the government orders ended and the company went into alittle slump. By the early 80s competitors were taking over the law enforcementmarket, one of Colts moat successful outlets.
The company had to lay off halfof its employees by 1982. Rumors began to circulate that the company was goingto shut down for good. The biggest strike in Connecticut history started at theColt factories.
In 1988 the U.S. Government told Colt they lost the contract tomake M-16s for the military. TheFirearms Division of Colt was sold to a group of private investors for $100 million in 1989.
The company changednames again taking the name it had for a little while after WWII, Colt’sManufacturing Company. The new owners handled the strike rapidly and the stateof Connecticut paid a $25 million pension for 47% ownership. They needed a wayto get more revenue so they decided to expand back into the police side of thebusiness. Inthe 1990s Colt’s Manufacturing Company was having a hard time staying alive.
Their products were deemed either to expensive or too old fashioned. Thecompany filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after falling into moredebt. During this time the company became more efficient and updated theirmanufacturing equipment. In 1993 the state of Connecticut banned AR riflesputting Colt at a huge setback. The Sporter, an AR, was the best selling Coltat the time. DonaldZilka bought Colt Manufacturing Company and Saco defense, one of thecompetition brands, in 1994. Colt made an agreement with the U.
S. Military in1998 to produce the M4A1 rifle. Coltproduced thousands of guns for the government throughout the 90s. In 1998 theU.S. Air Force upgraded 88 thousand M16A1rifles to the A2. Colt worked out adeal with the government that same year to be the only supplier of the M4carbine. By the late 90s Colt’s carbines were backordered.
In 1999 the businessturned its focus back to military and law enforcement. In 2016 Colt released a new line ofcompetition pistols and in 2017 the company decided to sell more than guns andreleased tactical lights. Inconclusion, Colt Firearms is one of the most recognizable firearms companies inthe world.
They have been around for 182 years and have changed the gun worldevery chance they could. Millions of soldiers and civilians alike have held aColt in their hands and loved it. Colt Firearms has kept the consumers in mindsince day one and make shooting better one gun at a time. WorksCited· History.
comStaff. “Samuel Colt.” History.com, A Television Networks, 2009,www.
history.com/topics/inventions/samuel-colt.· “TheHistory of Colt.” Shooting Sports, www.ssusa.
org/articles/2017/1/17/the-history-of-colt/.· “Colt’sManufacturing Company.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History,Encyclopedia.com,www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/colts-manufacturing-company.· Company-Histories.www.bing.com/crcompany-histories.com%2f=DevEx,5069.1.· SamuelColt – Inventor – Biography.Com.www.bing.com/cr?