Smith & Wesson Arms appeared in 1852. Its founders Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson settled, like the Colt, in Connecticut. Only their firms were opened not in Hartford, but in Norwich. The creators of the company dreamed of creating a completely new rapid-fire and multi-charged pistols with a cylindrical magazine.
If the first “Colts” after each shot had to manually cock the trigger, then the new weapon should have an instant action – know yourself, press the trigger.
A couple of years, these weapons were actually manufactured and immediately received a patent. The weapon turned out so unique that the magazine Scientific American even called it volcanic. After all, even the sighted arrows were struck by the lethal force of the new pistol and its rate of fire. But the company was faced with a lack of finance. Then a famous investor, Oliver Winchester, came to the rescue of Smith and Wesson.
The founders’ union quickly disintegrated – their shares were transferred just to Winchester. Smith himself retired and went home, to Massachusetts. Wesson was left to work for the new master as manager. In his spare time, he came up with a new small revolver, which shot special rifled cartridges. Their Smith and Wesson patented in 1854. Novik liked the creator so much that he contacted the former partner, inviting him to restore the former cooperation. The engineers thought that this weapon could be successful.
The instinct did not disappoint the inventors. The improved design of the Model 1 revolver and branded ammunition have become a sensation in the arms market. In 1859, Smith and Wesson in the center of Springfield built a factory. As a result, the city became one of the centers of the American arms industry.
The Civil War began and the products of Smith & Wesson Arms began to enjoy a steady demand. But after the end of hostilities for the arms manufacturers came hard times. In the first years after the conclusion of the peace, the partners sold only a few of their revolvers per year. Then Smith and Wesson decided to change the strategy. They decided to play on the unusual for the American gunsmith market in Europe.
So there were agencies for the sale of revolvers in England, France and Germany. The results were encouraging, but success came from an unexpected side. In the middle of the 1860s an exhibition of weapons was held in Paris. It was visited by the Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, heir to the Russian throne. He got acquainted with the goods of Smith & Wesson, having purchased dozens of collectible items for himself and his friends.
A few years later, Smith & Wesson presented the market with a new revolver of the 44th caliber. Model 3 featured an automatic lubrication system. One of the first testers of this model was the Russian military representative in the United States, General Gorlov. He sent some samples back home. In early 1871, the future Russian emperor was presented with a special revolver with engraving throughout the body and mother-of-pearl finish of the handle.
Such special samples were sold for $ 400, although the usual triple cost only 13 dollars. This gun was so liked by the prince that during his visit to America he constantly carried these weapons with him. The heir even used a revolver in bison hunting, where he was accompanied by a living legend, William Cody, or Buffalo Bill. Could advertising be better?
In May 1871, Smith & Wesson received an order for 20,000 weapons for the Russian army. At the same time, domestic experts appreciated American products so highly that it was immediately paid with gold. Immediately after this contract, others, no less large, followed. A good advertising for the triple was dramatic events – in June 1876, General George Custer and his 264 cavalry were killed by the Sioux Indians.
A couple of months after the tragedy, an article appeared in the newspaper “Sunday Herald” stating that the tragedy could have been avoided.The riders only had to replace their revolvers of the Colt “Single Action” with the third model from “Smith & Wesson”. This publication was a gift for Springfield.
The branded product for the company were long-barreled revolvers, which had to be worn in an open holster. Such weapons were invented especially for fans of rapid shooting. And the ability to quickly grab Smith & Wesson has become the same hallmark of a real cowboy as the ability to hold fast in the saddle, drink whiskey and chew tobacco. For decades, the brand has become a symbol of American freedom and the ability to protect it with weapons in their hands.
In the 1930s, the company introduced the Magnum family. Such Revolvers and pistols covered themselves with fame as glory as the colt of the 45th caliber. However, the companies-manufacturers preferred to keep silent about that their products are popular also with bandits. In 1965, the first alarm bell rang. The company, which traditionally represented the family business of Wesson, was sold to a foreign corporation “Bangor Punta”.
And in 20 years, the Californian company Lear Siegler became the new owner of the well-known arms brand. After that, Smith & Wesson began to change their owners too fast, having appeared in 1986 for auction. Was it possible to imagine such a shame earlier?
Yes, and the results of the auction were ugly – the American legend and weapons smithy was bought for 112 million dollars by the British from Tomkins. On its homeland, the arms brand with its rich history turned out to be of no use to anyone. It seemed that the company’s star was close to sunset, but at the end of the 20th century, new laws were introduced in America that regulated the sale of weapons. At first, these rules did not cause trouble to the armourers.
But it turned out that the Brady Law of 1994 prohibited the sale of weapons with a magazine capacity of more than 10 cartridges. These norms proved to be very useful for manufacturers of pistols and low-load revolvers. As a result, sales volumes of Smith & Wesson gradually began to grow. But the further measures of politicians who decided to fight the free trade in arms again put the entire industry on the brink of survival.
For the sake of personal safety, the Americans continued to buy weapons. Only the national hero – a steep cowboy with a big cannon on his belt became already unfashionable. Manufacturers of weapons began to suffer heavy losses. To somehow survive, Smith & Wesson was one of the first to adopt the rules of the game of politicians, signing a humiliating contract for limiting business.
The state introduced a new system of control over the production, advertising and sale of weapons to private individuals. The sellers began to call Smith & Wesson the company Clinton & Wesson, hinting at a connection with the Clinton administration.
The cases of gunsmiths became so bad that in May 2001 the British sold the once glorious brand. The company, which became a burden, together with its history and debts, was sold for a miserable $ 15 million. The new owner was the firm Saf-T-Hammer from Arizona. Most likely, the new owners pursued the goal of acquiring the name, changing their name to the much more famous “Smith & Wesson”. What economic benefit could be pursued from such a deal?
And just four months after that deal, the company’s shares skyrocketed to the height of those skyscrapers that crashed in the fall of 2001. The growth was as much as 250 percent! In the first months after the tragedy, all of America was in mourning, and the new head of Smith & Wesson could not help smiling. Acquiring the company, he knew what he was doing.
President George W. Bush quickly showed his Republican views. The nation felt strong, ready to defend its rights and freedom. In this campaign, “Smith & Wesson” seemed a reliable and trustworthy companion. Today, the company is America’s largest producer of firearms.