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What is the CCA?

The Colt Collectors Association (CCA) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1980, is affiliated with the National Rifle Association and was a major donor to the NRA National Firearms Museum. From its initial membership of 42, the Colt Collectors has grown to a 2600+ member international organization.

The Association is dedicated to the preservation of Colt firearms and other items produced by the Company, along with the study of the history relating to their development and usage.

Who is Sam Colt?

Colt Firearms span over a century of our history. From the earliest percussion revolvers to .22 caliber automatic pistols for target shooters and sportsmen. The CCA experience encompasses that span of interests. Become a CCA Member today!
Watch video on Colt’s life.


(Elizabeth Colt Legacy Foundation)
The Elizabeth Colt Legacy Foundation is a charitable foundation established in 1996 through the Colt Collectors Association and supports causes and organizations that promote and encourage youth participation in firearms training and safety, awareness of historical significance of firearms in the development of our country and their heritage to continue this tradition. Donations are given to youth firearms associations and clubs to support their endeavors.

Colt's Timeline

1814-1829 (Age 0-15)
Samual Colt

On July 19, 1814, Samuel Colt is born to Christopher and Sarah Caldwell Colt.

1823 – Age 9
On March 12 Sam’s father marries Olive Seargant who is from a wealthy family.
Within a year Sam is sent away from home to live with a farmer in Glastonbury, Massachusetts.
Sam’s sister Margaret dies at the age of seventeen

1824 – Age 10
Sam works in his father’s bleaching and dyeing factory in Ware, Massachusetts.

1829 – Age 15
During the summer Sam is caught experimenting with a firearm which is forbidden by the school rules. He decides to leave rather than be expelled.

On July 4
Sam attempts to blow a raft sky high on Ware pond. The raft moves and only mud is splattered on the spectators which included Elisha K. Root.
Sam’s sister Sarah Ann aged twenty one commits suicide by swallowing arsenic.

1830-1834 (Age 16-20)

1830 – Age 16

On August 2, Sam sails from Boston on the brig “Corlo” as a plain seaman. He travels to London and then on to Calcutta arriving in early 1831. He is away for one year.

It was on this journey to London and Calcutta that Sam crafted out of a block of wood a design for a single action self-cocking mechanism for a multi-shot cylinder by pulling back the hammer to interlock with the cylinder to bring the firing chamber to lock into a direct line with the barrel.

1831 – Age 17

On his return to America Sam works for his father’s bleaching and dyeing factory in Ware, Massachusetts.

Sam makes two revolvers from his design. One blows up.

1832 – Age 18

Sam learns about nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

He leaves Ware, Massachusetts to make his fortune as Dr Coult, Chemist, late of New-York, London & Calcutta. He travelled to many places including the Mississippi and Ohio river steamers with his laughing gas show. He intoxicated as many as twenty thousand people, using himself as a guinea-pig up to a thousand times. He charged two shillings per person for the privilege.

Whilst performing in Baltimore Sam hires a skilled gunsmith to manufacture pistols based on his new invention.

In Cincinnati Sam invents pyrotechnics (fireworks) for use in a stage play.

1833 – Age 19
Sam files a description of his revolving pistol with the Patent Office. Sam was perfecting his mechanism for his multi-shot revolver. This was not a unique conception. He knew of the Collier flintlock revolver from many years previous. His aim was to perfect the revolver.

1834 – Age 20
John Pearson makes pistols for Samuel Colt in Baltimore.

1835-1842 (Age 21-25)

1835 – Age 21

Dr Coult was dead. Long live Samuel Colt.

On October 22, Sam registers his rifle patents on 29-30th October. This was completed on the 30th October at a cost of $600.

He sells one eights of interest to Roswell Colt for $2,000 and has a $1,000 loan from Dudley Seldon to finance his trip to London to register his Patents.

By this time John Pearson had made several guns for Sam. He was promoted to foreman at $12.50 a week.

In August, Sam buys his ticket and sails to London via Liverpool and Manchester. He registers his Patents on October 22nd and 30th. From there he went to Edinburgh, Scotland and on to Paris, France in November.

1836 – Age 22

Sam returns to America aboard the “Albany” from Le Havre taking thirty four days. On February 25 he registers Patent 138 for a revolving pistol in Washington.

On March 5 the “Patent Arms Manufacturing Company” is established in Paterson, New Jersey with a capitalization of $230,000.

Texas declares its independence as a Republic with Sam Houston as its President.

1846-1849 (Age 32-35)

1846 – Age 32

Samuel Colt was at his lowest ebb with the failure of his Patent Arms Manufacturing Company, his submarine battery invention for fortifying harbours and rivers, his development of the waterproof cartridge and his telegraphic enterprise. He acknowledged that he was “as poor as a church mouse”. In desperation he tries to use his influence to have himself nominated as a Captain in the new regiment of Riflemen that was being formed to enable him to further his military inventions within the army.

Sam writes to Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker who had been a lieutenant colonel of the Texas Rangers asking him about the exploits of the Texas Rangers using his repeating firearms and how his revolver could be adopted by the military for the war against Mexico. Walker replied in late November, relating the incident in the summer of 1844 when Colonel J.C. Hays with fifteen men fought about eighty Comanche indians killing and wounding about half their number. He said “Without your Pistols we would not have had the confidence to have undertaken such daring adventures”. He then went on to say that “With improvements I think they can be rendered the most perfect weapon in the World for light mounted troops… The people throughout Texas are anxious to procure your pistols & I doubt not you would find sale for a large number at this time”.

This was music to the ears of Samuel Colt. He had been waiting to hear news like this for a long time. On the 7th December Walker informed Colt that the Ordnance Department had ordered one thousand of his new repeating pistols to be manufactured within three months with possible further orders if the first contract was completed on time.

1847 – Age 33

On 4th January the Colt-Walker contract between Samuel Colt and Samuel H. Walker, Captain U.S. Rifles and acting by authority of the Secretary of War was signed and then ratified on 6th January by the Secretary of War for the immediate construction of one thousand or a larger number if required of Colt’s Patent Repeating Pistols with nine inch rifled barrels, six-shot .44 caliber cylinder with black walnut stocks at an agreed price of $25 each. The first one hundred to be manufactured and inspected by Walker within three months and the balance with all the necessary accessories to be delivered within five or six months.

The Colt-Walker Dragoon weighed a hefty four pounds nine ounces with a cylinder capacity of fifty seven grains of black-powder which would push a one hundred and forty grain bullet at 1,500 feet per second. This was unequalled fire-power and would not be matched for many decades.

Colt immediately contracted Eli Whitney, Jr. and the Whitneyville Armoury to adapt or manufacture new machinery and tools to produce most of the component parts to make the one thousand revolvers.

By the 18th June, 1847 one hundred of the guns had been numbered to their respective companies A,B,C,D and E, inspected and ready to be issued to troops at the front.

By the 6th July, Colt had completed the one thousand revolver contract with all the improvements that Captain Walker had suggested. Alongside the military contract Samuel Colt manufactured another one hundred civilian revolvers to the same specifications that he numbered from 1001 to 1100. These he used for presentation purposes to influential persons in the political and military arena to promote his new product. Colt was never adverse to rewarding, bribing and influencing leading individuals to further his business.

With the contract completed in July, it took until November, before Colt received the machinery, tools and surplus revolver parts from Eli Whitney Jr. as per the contract and agreement that they made the previous January. Samuel Colt now had the machinery, tools and equipment and the added experience to start his new factory in Pearl Street, Hartford, Connecticut where he leased two buildings for $275 a year. In this year Colt also commenced manufacture of the Colt Baby Dragoon. It was 1847 and Sam had money in his pocket.

The “Walker” was followed by the Improved Holster pistol or Whitneyville-Hartford Dragoon which was numbered in the 1101-1340 serial range.

1848 – Age 34

The Second Contract, Fluck or Pre-First Model Dragoons were manufactured in a serial range from 2216-2515. From 1848 through to 1849 a total of almost 7,000 Colt First Model Dragoon revolvers were manufactured in the serial range from 1341 to 8,000.

1850-1853 (Age 36-40)

1850 – Age 36

The Colt Second Model Dragoon was manufactured circa 1850 and 1851. As many as 2700 were produced serial numbered from 8000 to 10700. Also the manufacture of the Colt Model 1851 Navy in .36 caliber commenced at the end of 1850.

By this time the transition from the Baby Dragoon to the Colt Model 1849 Pocket was taking place.

1851 – Age 37

Manufacture of the Colt Third Model Dragoon started in 1851 and continued through to 1860. More than 10,000 were produced serial numbered from 10700 through to the 20000 serial range.

Sam sails to England to exhibit at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in London.

Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert organized the largest exhibition in the world to showcase the new technology that was rapidly developing in Great Britain. By the mid 1800’s with an improving road, canal and railway system the Industrial Revolution was in full flow.

The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London was the venue for the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations. It was held from the 1st May to the 15th October 1851 and was the first international exhibition of manufactured products showing the development of many aspects of society which included art and design education, international trade and relations and tourism. The glass and cast-iron structured building which housed more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world was designed by Joseph Paxton. Within the vast complex there was 990,000 square feet of exhibition space

This was Samuel Colt’s greatest opportunity to expand his name and business world-wide. He displayed more than five hundred repeating firearms This awesome display of engraved and deluxe arms alongside his standard production was to pre-empt the opening of his London factory which would produce thousands of firearms to sell throughout the British Empire and beyond. London was to be his gateway to the world.

1852 – Age 38

Sam returns to America in February.

1853 – Age 39

Colt’s London Factory is established at Thames Bank near Vauxhall Bridge with his sales office located at 1, Spring Garden, Cockspur Street, London.

In Europe, Russia occupies Wallachia and Moldavia. The Turkish Fleet is sunk by the Russians at Sinope.

The 700 Colt Hartford-London Dragoon percussion revolvers were assembled in London from parts manufactured in Hartford. They were numbered from #1 – #700. The manufacture of the Colt Model 1849 London Pocket and Colt Model 1851 London Navy begin at the London factory.

1854 – Age 40

The Anglo-French Alliance is formed and the Crimean War begins in March.

In the Autumn Sam makes his first trip to Russia where he had talks with the War Department. On 11th November he presented several gold inlaid engraved revolvers to Czar Nicholas 1, Emperor of all the Russias at Gatchina near Petersburg. He also had confidential talks with view to supply machinery to the National Armoury at Tula to manufacture firearms. He stayed in Russia until at least 21st November.

Colt also presented a gold inlaid engraved Colt Dragoon #12406 to the Sultan of Turkey on this trip.

1854-1858 (Age 40-46)

1854 – Age 40

The Anglo-French Alliance is formed and the Crimean War begins in March.

In the Autumn Sam makes his first trip to Russia where he had talks with the War Department. On 11th November he presented several gold inlaid engraved revolvers to Czar Nicholas 1, Emperor of all the Russias at Gatchina near Petersburg. He also had confidential talks with view to supply machinery to the National Armoury at Tula to manufacture firearms. He stayed in Russia until at least 21st November.

Colt also presented a gold inlaid engraved Colt Dragoon #12406 to the Sultan of Turkey on this trip.

1855 – Age 41

The new Colt Armory with employee housing is completed on a tract of land beside the Connecticut River in Hartford. Sam builds “Armsmear” as his family home.

From March 31, Colt trades from No.14, Pall Mall, London opposite the Reform Club.

In August an illegal shipment of 3,480 revolvers with flasks, moulds and caps were confiscated on their way to Petersburg via Antwerp at Aix-la-Chapelle. Colt was fined $100,000 to cover up the scandal.

The Colt Model 1855 Root percussion revolvers and long-arms which were developed by Elisha K. Root and Sam went into production at the end of the year.

1856 – Age 42

On the 30th March, the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the Crimean war with Russia.

On June 5th Samuel Colt marries Elizabeth Hart Jarvis in Middletown, Connecticut.

On their honeymoon they traveled to Liverpool on the steamer “Baltic”. They spent July in London and then traveled to Belgium, Berlin and Prussia. They sailed up the Danube river to the Tyrolean Alps and then embarked at St. Petersburg where they represented the United States at the Coronation of Czar Alexander II of Russia. After six months of touring they returned to the U.S. in November.

1857 – Age 43

Sam’s estate in 1857 was valued at $793,400 with 20 dwelling houses, 274 acres of land, 4 stores and $500,000 to include the factory and machinery.

Samuel Colt Jr. is born on February 24th and dies on September 24th aged seven months.

1858 – Age 44

Caldwell Hart was born on November 24th. He is the only child of Samuel Colt’s family to survive for more than eight months.

Sam makes his third trip to Russia to discuss contracts for firearms and manufacturing equipment.

He receives a gold and diamond decorated snuffbox from Czar Alexander II.

1860-1862 (Age 46-48)

1860 – Age 46

Elizabeth is born on February 22nd and dies on October 17th aged eight months.

The Colt Model 1860 Army percussion revolver begins production in time for the on-coming Civil War.

1861 – Age 47

When an attempt was made to re-supply Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina, the southern forces opened fire beginning the Civil War on the 12th April.

On the 16th April Sam is commissioned a Colonel by the State of Connecticut in the 1st Regiment Colts Revolving Rifles of Connecticut armed with the Colt revolving rifle. The unit was discharged on the 20th June.

Henrietta is born May 23rd and dies on January 20th, 1862 aged eight months.

Samuel Colt returns from Cuba with an illness diagnosed as gout and inflammatory rheumatism.

Towards the end of the year the Colt Model 1861 round-barrelled Navy and the Colt 1862 revolver went into production.

1862 – Age 48

Samuel Colt dies at the age of only forty seven years on January 10th at Armsmear. The funeral service takes place on January 14th. His body was later moved to the family plot at Cedar Hill Cemetery. His estate at that time was estimated to be worth $15,000,000.

Henrietta: Born May 23rd, died on January 20th, 1862 aged eight months. She dies only a few days after her father died.

Sam’s unnamed infant daughter is stillborn on July 25th.

Elisha K. Root is elected President of the Colt company to succeed Samuel Colt.