On This Day, Feb. 25, 1836 – Samuel Colt Patents the Revolver
1836 – Connecticut-born gun manufacturer Samuel Colt (1814-62) received a U.S. patent for a revolver mechanism that enabled a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading.
Colt’s revolver mechanism is considered by some to be more innovation than invention because it improved upon a revolving flintlock (a firing mechanism used in muskets and rifles) already patented by Boston inventor Elisha Collier (1788-1856). The British patent for Colt’s mechanism was acquired in October 1835, and on February 25, 1836, the American inventor received U.S. Patent No. 138 (later 9430X) for his revolving-cylinder pistol. The enhancements listed in this patent include greater “facility in loading,” changes in “the weight and location of the cylinder, which give steadiness to the hand,” and “the great rapidity in the succession of discharges.” Colt’s Patent Arms Manufacturing Company began making the Paterson pistol in 1836 at its Paterson, New Jersey, factory using funds advanced by Colt’s family however, sales were slow and the business floundered. Then in 1846, with the Mexican War (1846-48) under way, the U.S. government ordered 1,000 Colt revolvers.
In 1855, Colt opened what was the world’s largest private armament factory, in which he employed advanced manufacturing techniques such as interchangeable parts and an organized production line. By 1856, the company could produce 150 weapons per day. Colt was also an effective promoter, and by the start of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65) he had made the Colt revolver perhaps the world’s best-known firearm.
He died a wealthy man in 1862; the company he founded remains in business today.
1570 – England’s Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V.
1751 – Edward Willet displayed the first trained monkey act in the U.S.
1793 – The department heads of the U.S. government met with President George Washington for the first Cabinet meeting on U.S. record.
1901 – The United States Steel Corp. was incorporated by J.P. Morgan.
1913 – The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It authorized a graduated income tax.
1919 – The state of Oregon became the first state to place a tax on gasoline. The tax was 1 cent per gallon.
1928 – The Federal Radio Commission issued the first U.S. television license to Charles Jenkins Laboratories in Washington, DC.
1930 – The bank check photographing device was patented.
1933 – The aircraft carrier Ranger was launched. It was the first ship in the U.S. Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier.
1940 – The New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens played in the first hockey game to be televised in the U.S. The game was aired on W2WBS in New York with one camera in a fixed position. The Rangers beat the Canadiens 6-2.
1948 – Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia.
1950 – “Your Show of Shows” debuted on NBC.
1956 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev criticized the late Josef Stalin in a speech before a Communist Party congress in Moscow.
1986 – Filippino President Ferdinand E. Marcos fled the Philippines after 20 years of rule after a tainted election.
2000 – In Albany, NY, a jury acquitted four New York City police officers of second-degree murder and lesser charges in the February 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo.
2005 – Dennis Rader was arrested for the BTK serial killings in Wichita, KS. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 life prison terms.
Source: History.com; On-This-Day.com