- , COlT REVOLVERSamuel Colt (1814-1862) was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. He received little education, and at the age of sixteen (some say thirteen) he ran away from home and became a seaman. The story is that he spent his nights on deck whittling a pistol that turned out to be the model for the Colt revolver, which he patented in 1835 and then manufactured. His patent covered the first practical revolver, a single-barreled pistol with a revolving cylinder. The general idea was not original, but Colt used a rotating barrel of six chambers, and his cocking device is still used as a model for revolvers. His gun became the universal pistol: the gun of the Midwest; the gun of the cowboys; the gun for military service. It came to be known as the gun that won the West.Colt was not immediately successful. His firearm was used in the Seminole War (1837) and then in the fracas between Texas and Mexico. Thereafter the demand for the gun lay dormant.What turned things around in Colt's favor was a large order for guns from the United States Army during the Mexican War (1846-1848). Colt then went from strength to strength, becoming one of the world's biggest manufacturers of pistols and one of the wealthiest men in America. His revolver came to be known as "the six-shooter," and that term became generic for all revolvers, no matter who manufactured them.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.