Colt's Other Comebacks

by
posted on June 16, 2015
coltfactory.jpg
It could take as long as 90 days before a court determines whether Sciens Capital Management can purchase Colt, but rather than engage in speculation in the meantime, here’s a short look at some of the company’s historic amazing recoveries.

Comeback 1
Legend has it Samuel Colt was a seaman aboard the Corvo when he came up with the concept for his first gun. In 1836, at the age of 22, he opened a plant in Paterson, N.J., where he produced rifles and handguns until 1842. Unfortunately, sluggish sales shuttered the doors. For the next three years, Colt dabbled in a variety of other enterprises, including waterproof wire for Samuel Morse’s newfangled telegraph. When his guns performed extremely well in the hands of the Texas Rangers and U.S. Dragoons, Captain Samuel H. Walker contacted him about designing a more-powerful handgun. From that collaboration, Colt’s “Walkers” were born, the U.S. Ordnance Department quickly ordered its first 1,000, and he was back in business.

Comeback 2
By 1861, Colt’s growing enterprise employed 1,000 people. Then, in 1862 while Civil War was raging, Samuel Colt died at the age of 47. Women in business were a rarity at the time, but his wife took the helm and, despite the odds, continued the company’s success.

Comeback 3
In 1864 the factory burned to the ground. The company limped along for three years, barely capable of fulfilling government contracts, but methodically rebuilt itself into a profitable venture that thrived through World Wars, Korea and Vietnam.

Comeback 4
In the 1990s, however, Colt’s mainstay 1911 was replaced as the U.S. military’s issue sidearm by the Beretta-made M9. Add a four-year strike by company workers, and the company underwent bankruptcy proceedings in 1992. The firm got firmly back on its financial feet after it secured an order as the U.S. Military’s primary producer of the M4, though—a contract that lasted nearly 15 year.

Comeback 5?
The jury’s still out on this one, but Colt has a history of overcoming hurdles. The complicated situation that led to a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy may have started about the time FN Manufacturing beat Colt in contract bidding for military carbines in 2013.

In the meantime, the company is open for business and fully operational. Sciens Capital Management has made a proposal to purchase Colt, and a press release issued by the legendary firearms company stated, “As part of the Sciens led bid, Colt will be able to reassure its employees and local community of its commitment to continued operations in West Hartford through a long-term extension on the lease for its manufacturing facilities and campus in West Hartford.”

Latest

Flintlock Pistol 2
Flintlock Pistol 2

The Flintlock Pocket Pistol: Georgian England's Micro-Compact

The concept of concealed carry is not a modern phenomenon, as evidenced by these flintlock "turn-off" pocket pistols, which were hugely popular at the end of the 18th century.

ATN Corp Introduces 5-Year Warranty On Thermal Optics

ATN Corp. has launched a new, industry-leading five-year warranty on all Generation 5 thermal scopes and Thor LTV thermal scopes purchased through ATN Corp. or any of its authorized dealers.

I Have This Old Gun: Afghan Jezail

In the Middle East, a distinctive style of longrifle emerged that is known today as the jezail, a native name that described the arm's extraordinarily long barrel.

New For 2024: Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P Carry Comp Series

Smith & Wesson's Carry Comp series brings Performance Center treatments to a number of the company's carry-ready semi-automatics.

I Have This Old Gun: Webley Metropolitan Police Revolver

Webley Metropolitan Police revolvers were manufactured from 1883 to 1911 and issued at the discretion of division officers to be used by policemen who desired them and had exhibited an aptitude in their use.

Springfield’s Updated Tactical Response Pistol (TRP)

In the late 1990s, Springfield Armory’s Custom Shop gained a legendary reputation after supplying the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team with the company’s Professional Model M1911s. Now, Springfield has a refreshed line of TRP pistols with four new models.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.