Sam ColtBorn on July 19, 1814, in Hartford, Connecticut, Samuel Colt played a vital role in American culture and folklore. The inventor and creator of the first handheld revolver, Sam Colt made it possible to have a handgun that could fire rapidly without needing to be reloaded after every shot. Known as the great equalizer, it’s been said that “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, butSam Colt made them equal.”

Colt’s knack for inventing and his passion for firearms paved the way for the American fascination with guns. Some would argue that it’s because of Samuel Colt (and his shrewd business and advertising sense) that Colt became a household name, both during his lifetime and now, 200 years after his birth.

Sam Colt: From Tinkerer to Inventor

From the time he was a boy, Sam Colt liked to tinker with mechanics. He’d take things apart just to learn how they’d work. After studying the mechanics, he’d attempt to rebuild them. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t.

But young Sam had perseverance and he wasn’t one to be discouraged by a little failure, a trait that would suit him well throughout his life. Although his interest in mechanics was soon coupled with explosives, Sam joined his father’s textile company at 15, but he didn’t last long. After exploding a raft during a Fourth of July party, his father sent him away to boarding school, where Sam studied navigation.

During the following year, in 1830, Colt was expelled, again over a Fourth of July incident. This time, the young man demonstrated self-made explosives for his classmates, much to the dismay of the school’s administrators.

At his wit’s end, Sam’s father decided to give him a real lesson in navigation and sent him to become a seaman. It was this decision that led to the revolver and forever changed not only Sam’s life, but also the culture of America.

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