EXPLORING SAMUEL COLT’S LINKS WITH YORKSHIRE - Friday, 13 June 2014

Join Royal Armouries’ Curator Emeritus Peter Smithurst as he marks the 200th anniversary of Samuel Colt’s birth by examining his links with Yorkshire and his pioneering work to design and manufacture the legendary revolvers.

Peter will put American-born Colt’s work under the spotlight in the latest in a series of talks and lectures at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on Saturday, July 19, from 2pm to 3pm.

Colt – born 200 years ago on July 19, 1814 – is one of those rare figures in history who created and also became a legend and to many his name is still synonymous with “revolver”.

Peter is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield and Board Member of the Colt Heritage Center in Connecticut. He said, “Sam Colt’s name has been known worldwide for the past 160 years, and more, for his revolvers – so much so that a revolver was often referred to as a “Colt” regardless of who made it!

“He was not backward at coming forward in promoting his revolvers but one of the best-kept secrets is that part of his reputation rested on the help he received from Yorkshire.

“Sam Colt pioneered much in the way of revolver design and manufacture in the middle decades of the 19th century, but he was ahead of his time in the use of Sheffield Steel, while others persisted in using iron. Steel gave his famous revolvers a hidden, extra quality.

“My talk will explore the various links with Yorkshire, including how the Sheffield steelmakers, Thomas Firth and Sons, who supplied Colt, also used machinery from Greenwood and Batley in Leeds to part-manufacture some revolver components.”

Museum visitors can also see a variety of Colt revolvers currently on display throughout the museum – home to the national collection of arms and armour.

There are 17 in total, displayed in the War and Self-Defence Galleries, including a Colt Paterson, based on Samuel’s first patent, dating to 1836. The collection also includes various replica revolvers, plus two Colt Derringer pocket pistols.

Museum admission is free. Tickets for the talk are priced £5, available in advance from the Royal Armouries’ website, by calling 0113 220 1888, or on the day.

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