Illustration of handguns designed by Samuel Colt.

Illustration of handguns designed by Samuel Colt.

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Guns. Illustration of handguns designed by the American inventor Samuel Colt (1814-62) which he patented in 1836. A feature of Colt's guns was the revolving chamber (shown in Figs 3 and 4). This device could deliver up to six bullets to the barrel before the gun had to be reloaded. The chamber itself was not novel, but its rotation mechanically by the cocking action was. Initially the revolver did not sell well and Colt was bankrupted. However it was officially adopted by the American Army after the Mexican War of 1846-8 and went on to achieve world-wide popularity. From the catalogue of the 1851 Great Exhibition of London.

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Keywords: 19th cent, 19th century gun, colt, device, early, great exhibition, gun, handgun, handguns, historical, history of science, instrument, pistol, revolver, rifle, samuel, technology

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