Test your knowledge with a quiz
- Assembly-line methods of construction and more efficient manufacturing processes, like those developed by Samuel Colt and Elisha Root, shifted the center of the Industrial Revolution from England to the United States in the mid-19th century. These improvements were made possible by new levels of precision in the fabrication of individual components so that they could be mass-produced and fitted together by relatively unskilled laborers.
- The Colt gun was an economic success, not just because of the design innovations and manufacturing advances made, but also because Colt developed new strategies of marketing, selling his guns directly to soldiers on the front lines as well as to foreign governments.
- The advancement from a single-shot firing to a multi-chamber gun made the Colt revolver an important tool in American military campaigns during the 19th century. These guns played a role in the settling of the west and the Gold Rush, the Civil War, the Mexican-American War and were used against Native Americans during the Second Seminole War.
More to think about
In the video, the speakers say, “It’s important not to romanticize these guns,” and describe Samuel Colt as a “complicated” figure in U.S. history. How do you think studying objects such as the Colt revolver can help us understand history from different points of view?