Colt: The Making of an American Legend

Overview

This book recounts the story of gun manufacturer Samuel Colt and his wife, Elizabeth, who together turned a company into an empire and a name into a legend. It is a tale of two lives caught up in profound social and economic change, of a great fortune amassed and expended, of the rise of a new industry, and the transformation of an American city. Beginning with an account of Sam Colt's early failures as both inventor and businessman, William Hosley traces the development in the pre-Civil War years of the ...
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1996 Paperback New 1558490434. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--254 pages, 204 illus. (some in color), 4to.

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Overview

This book recounts the story of gun manufacturer Samuel Colt and his wife, Elizabeth, who together turned a company into an empire and a name into a legend. It is a tale of two lives caught up in profound social and economic change, of a great fortune amassed and expended, of the rise of a new industry, and the transformation of an American city. Beginning with an account of Sam Colt's early failures as both inventor and businessman, William Hosley traces the development in the pre-Civil War years of the notorious Colt revolver - "The Gun That Won the West" - into the first truly global manufacturing export in U.S. history. At their peak, Colt armories in Hartford and London produced as many as 50,000 guns a year - part of a thriving, technologically advanced arms industry that made the Connecticut River Valley the "Silicon Valley" of the Victorian Age. Although Sam became an international celebrity and symbol of American enterprise, it was Elizabeth who made sure the Colt legacy would endure. Following her husband's premature death in 1862 and the subsequent destruction of the Hartford armory by fire, she rebuilt the factory and launched a forty-year campaign of civic memorialization. A patron of the arts, she endowed parks, museums, public statuary, and other memorials that glorified her family and earned her the status of "first lady" of Connecticut.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This companion to the Wadsworth Atheneum's exhibit of Colt miscellany in Hartford, Conn., is a rich social and political history of 19th-century America. It is also a joint biography of Samuel Colt, an enigmatic inventor and industrialist, and Elizabeth, the strong, resolute wife who carried on his dreams and life's work. Hosley, the Koopman Curator at the Atheneum, follows Colt's life from his strange beginnings, successes and failures, to the ultimate perfection of the firearm that would be adopted by the U.S. Army. In exploring the personal lives and excesses of this wealthy 19th-century couple, Hosley presents a particularly colorful history of the times. After Samuel's death in 1862, Elizabeth Colt's ongoing efforts to immortalize her husband's accomplishments and their name led her to build memorials and statues and to create a philanthropic legacy for the city of Hartford. Elizabeth's taste often went to the extreme, as seen in their mansion, Armsmear. "Armsmear's reception room epitomizes the kind of blunt ostentation that was the trademark of America's Eurocentric nouveau riche during the 1880's." On a larger scale, Hosley also shows how Colt fit into the culture of war and violence that would be so beneficial to his fiscal concerns. "The good people of this wirld [sic] are very far from being satisfied with each other," wrote Colt, "& my arms are the best peacemakers." Rich in illustrations and photographs (204 images, 72 in color) of the Colts' firearms and art collections, Hosley creates a fascinating story that far exceeds the simple history of that famous gun. BOMC dividend; History Book Club alternate.(Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558490437
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.57 (w) x 11.52 (h) x 0.94 (d)

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