Samuel Colt Fact Sheet: Who was Samuel Colt? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Samuel Colt, the famous American inventor.
Samuel Colt Fact 1: He was born on July 19, 1814 in Hartford, Connecticut in the United States. He was a famous American inventor who developed and improved the revolver, making mass production of the revolver possible.
Samuel Colt Fact 2: His parent’s names were Christopher and Sarah. He had a number of siblings; at least three sisters and three brothers. One of his sisters died during childhood. His remaining siblings were called Margaret, Sarah Ann, James, Christopher and John C.
Samuel Colt Fact 3: His family encountered much sadness and troublesome times over the years. His mother died when he was only six years of age from tuberculosis. His sister, Margaret, also died from tuberculosis when she was nineteen years old. One of his remaining sisters, Sarah Ann, took her own life when she later committed suicide, and his brother, John C., was found guilty of murder in 1841 and sentenced to death; he decided to commit suicide on the day that he faced execution.
Samuel Colt Fact 4: He began working for a farmer when he was eleven years old as part of the indentured servitude system which was a labor system commonly used during the 18th Century where by a young person would learn a trade whilst working for an employer. He continued with his school education during these years.
Samuel Colt Fact 5: From a young age, he began reading a scientific encyclopedia called the 'Compendium of Knowledge'. The book introduced him to articles on Robert Fulton; an American engineer and inventor. He was inspired greatly by the book, particularly by the information it provided him about gunpowder. He felt motivated by the achievements of various inventors who had accomplished things which seemed impossible.
Samuel Colt Fact 6: He was introduced to his first gun when he was presented with his grandfather's flintlock pistol. He felt determined to create the 'impossible gun'; a gun that could shoot 5-6 times without reloading.
Samuel Colt Fact 7: He began creating a homemade galvanic cell when he joined his father's textile plant in Massachusetts at fifteen years of age. His work at the plant gave him access to many different types of tools and materials. A galvanic cell can be described as an electrochemical cell that derives electrical energy from redox reactions occurring randomly within the cell.
Samuel Colt Fact 8: Following his creation of the galvanic cell, he claimed that he would use underwater explosives to blow up a raft on the Ware Pond on July 4th. The event went ahead, the explosives missed the raft but people were very impressed by Samuel's creation none the less.
Samuel Colt Fact 9: His father sent him to learn the seaman's trade following an accident in 1830 which occurred as a consequence of another July 4th event. The accident resulted in a fire which brought his schooling to an end.
Samuel Colt Fact 10: When he joined the seaman's trade, he became even more determined to invent the 'impossible gun'. Onboard the Corvo, he learnt that no matter which way the ship's wheel was turned, each individual spoke still came in direct line with a clutch that could be set to hold it. This inspired him to create a revolver.
Samuel Colt Fact 11: Whilst heading to Calcutta on the Convo, he created a wooden model of a much improved and developed pepperbox revolver. He made his invention from scrap wood and it varied from other pepperbox revolvers in the fact that the shooter could rotate the cylinder.
Samuel Colt Fact 12: In 1832, he returned from sea and began working for his father again. With financial help from his father, he was able to produce two guns, a pistol and a rifle.
Samuel Colt Fact 13: He still required further funds to finance his inventions so he began traveling through the United States and Canada performing nitrous oxide demonstrations. Nitrous oxide can be described as a colorless gas known as 'laughing gas'. He was known as 'the Celebrated Dr. Coult of New-York, London and Calcutta'.
Samuel Colt Fact 14: Whilst traveling across the United States and Canada, he also gave lectures at halls and museums. However, his lectures were not overly successful so he started working on another idea. He joined with Hiram Powers, a sculptor who began creating wax figures and paintings. His designs were based on centaurs, demons and mummies from Dante. Samuel Colt started creating fireworks and together, they produced a successful show.
Samuel Colt Fact 15: Hiram Powers and Samuel Colt's show brought much success. Samuel's presentation skills were so impressive that people assumed he was a doctor. He had finally made enough money to make a start with his inventions.
Samuel Colt Fact 16: Using a gunsmith in Maryland, he began creating guns. His father's friend, Henry Leavitt Ellsworth helped him financially by lending him $300. His first invention was based on a single fixed barrel with a rotating cylinder. He used a gunsmith called John Pearson to build the revolver.
Samuel Colt Fact 17: He was advised to file for foreign patents before filing for a US patent. This was because he would not be able to file for a patent in Great Britain if he already had one with the United States. He was given this advice by his father's friend who had helped him financially, Henry Leavitt Ellsworth – he was the superintendent of the US Patent Office.
Samuel Colt Fact 18: He traveled to Great Britain in August 1835 to apply for his patent. English officials were reluctant but they couldn't find fault with the gun that he had invented. He was issued with his first patent in Great Britain, it was numbered 6909.
Samuel Colt Fact 19: He received a patent for his revolving gun invention by the United States on February 25, 1836. The patent was later numbered 9430X.
Samuel Colt Fact 20: He died on January 10, 1862 in Hartford, Connecticut in the United States. He was 47 years old at the time of death.