Inventor of the Colt Revolver
Nothing says "Old West" more than Samuel Colt's revolver invention. Originally patented in 1836, many historians have gone so far as to say that Colt's invention changed the course of American history.
Born to a Connecticut farmer in 1814, inventor Samuel Colt developed a fascination with guns at an early age. He spent much of his leisure time tinkering with his father's firearms, and the "impossibility" (or so it was thought at the time) of creating a gun that could fire multiple rounds captured young Sam's imagination.
At the age of sixteen, during a missionary trip to Africa, Samuel Colt received the inspiration for his iconic American firearm. As he watched the wheel of the ship turn, the budding innovator observed how the wheel's spokes were aligned with a clutch that could lock them into place at any time. Thus, the idea for the Colt revolver was born.
After patenting his revolving handgun and receiving a ringing endorsement from U.S. president Andrew Jackson, Colt's revolver still failed to take off. His manufacturing company went bankrupt, and historians generally believe sales lagged because the revolving gun invention was a bit ahead of its time.
Eventually, the start of the Mexican War triggered renewed interest in Colt's revolver invention and, during the Civil War, Samuel Colt became a major supplier of handguns for the Union army.