Winter Auction 2015 closing February 7
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/8/2015
"God created man, but Sam Colt made them equal" From cotton gin and light bulb to the transistor and home computer, American ingenuity has changed history. However, no single invention has shaped American history more than Samuel Colt's revolver. While working as a seaman aboard a ship to India in 1832, 18 year-old Sam Colt became fascinated with the ship's wheel. Noting that no matter which direction the wheel was turned, each spoke would line up perfectly with the clutch that was used to lock it in place. Long fascinated with firearms, Colt began to imagine how this concept could be adapted to enable a pistol to fire repeatedly using a revolving cylinder holding multiple rounds. Colt took the present concept of a pepperbox pistol, an unreliable firearm which featured a cylinder containing multiple rounds that the shooter had to rotate by hand, hoping to get the alignment correct each time the gun was fired. By the time the ship returned to America, Colt had produced a wooden model that improved on the old pepperbox design, using the ship's clutch mechanism to firmly lock the rotating cylinder in place, thus creating a reliable repeating firearm. Colt's father initially financed his son's firearm experiments. He produced both a pistol and rifle prototype, of which the pistol exploded but the rifle was successful. When the elder Colt refused to finance any more experimentation the industrious Colt came up with a way to finance his work - he traveled around the east coast with tanks of nitrous oxide - "laughing gas" - giving demonstrations to curious spectators. Once he accumulated a modest amount, Colt returned to Connecticut to resume his experiments. The 21 year-old inventor decided to concentrate on a revolving cylinder that rotated and locked into alignment with a single barrel each time a lever was activated. With the additional financial and professional support from family friend Henry L. Ellsworth, Colt and gunsmith John Pearson produced the very first revolver in 1835. Shortly after funding Colt's project, Ellsworth was named the first Commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office. Ellsworth quickly recognized the revolutionary concept that Colt developed and pressed the young man to quickly patent his idea, which he did in 1836. The young man joined forces with a group of investors and founded the Patent Arms Company in Paterson, N.J. to mass produce his firearms. This historical archive collects three of Samuel Colt's patent drafts sent to Commissioner of Patents Henry L. Ellsworth. Written on watermarked laid paper, each folded in half to 8" x 13". All three drafts are signed by Colt and addresses new improvements to his original revolver patent which were intended to accompany a series of drawings. The first draft document is addressed to Commissioner of Patents Ellsworth and asks to file a caveat with the Patent Office to prevent any other inventor from filing a patent based on his ideas. The document is hand written in black fountain pen and signed "Saml Colt". There are three horizontal folds on the document, none of which effects the signature or condition of the piece. The second draft document contains 2 1/4 pages of hand writing describing in detail the various improvements he was currently working to develop in his Paterson, N.J. factory. Among the improvements listed are "My first improvement consists in rendering the charges, contained in the cylinder of my patent revolving cylinder gun safe by giving free passage for the escape of the fire which escapes latterly from the cylinder" - in other words Colt makes the gun safe from accidental discharge of the other rounds when one is fired. Another improvement is "a lever wherewith to force the balls into the chambers of the cylinder" - the first revolver loading mechanism. After listing other improvements, Colt began to address a military belt but crossed out this addition and ended the draft with his signature "Samuel Colt". In the third draft document Colt describes two items that are meant to accompany his new revolver in the filed - a bayonet and a case for carrying the caps that were used to fire the weapon. The draft is signed "Samuel Colt". This document in particular shows how forward thinking the young Sam Colt was. Just months away from patenting his revolver he was already addressing the need of its users in the field. When the U.S. went to war against the Seminole Indians in 1839, Colt's revolving pistols and rifles were ordered by several militia companies. Though they were well received Colt's company folded, the government failed to pay for the guns purchased. Meanwhile, a Texas Ranger Captain named Sam Walker obtained a lot of surplus Colt pistols with which to arm his men. When Walker and 15 of his Colt-armed Rangers fought off more than 70 Comanche warriors, the story made headlines and Colt's invention became famous. This led to a partnership between Colt and Walker and the further development of what would become "the gun that won the west". This historical archive is displayed in its own custom made 11" x 14" x 1 1/4" leather bound presentation case, complete with an inlaid gold-stamped illustration of a smoking 1836 Patterson Colt. Three Letters of Authenticity from PSA/DNA.
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Minimum Bid: $30,000.00
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Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Sunday, February 8, 2015.
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