1881 – 1913
Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson founded the Smith & Wesson Company in Norwich, Connecticut in 1852 for the development of the Volcanic rifle. Smith & Wesson Company was renamed Volcanic Repeating Arms in 1855 and soon sold to Oliver Winchester.
In 1856, when Samuel Colt’s patent on the revolver was due to expire, Daniel Wesson began developing the cartridge revolver, purchasing the patent for a “bored-through” cylinder from a former Colt employee. Wesson joined back up with Horace Smith and formed the Smith & Wesson Revolver Company.
Smith & Wesson’s first big success was brought about by the sudden demand for revolvers spurred by the outbreak of the American Civil War. At the close of the war, this demand for pocket revolvers declined. Smith & Wesson began developing arms suitable for use on the American frontier. From this effort was born the heavy caliber .44 S&W American, also known as the .44 Double Action Frontier.
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