Samuel and Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt Collection
In 1905, Samuel Colt’s wife, Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, donated a large collection of important firearms, medals, artwork, and furnishings to the Wadsworth Atheneum – many of which came from their home Armsmear. Today, the Wadsworth is one of the most renowned repositories for family heirlooms and firearms owned by the Colts.
July 19, 2014 marked Samuel Colt’s 200th birthday. Guns & Ammo featured a commemorative reprint of a 1962 series on the innovator in its July issue. And below is a slideshow of objects from the museum’s collection illustrating how Colt’s industrious spirit influenced the city of Hartford and the world at large.
Samuel Colt (1814–1862) of Hartford is one of Connecticut's most celebrated industrial designers and renowned as an inventor, manufacturer, and entrepreneur. Between 1835 and 1862, Colt redefined firearms engineering and manufacturing with his improvements to the revolving cylinder and use of interchangeable parts. His innovations in industrial production, in combination with his aesthetic sensibility, resulted in some of the most popular and artistic firearms of the mid-nineteenth century. Colt's firearms stood at the center of many military conflicts in this period, including the Seminole Wars, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. PICTURED ABOVE: Royal Porcelain Manufactory (Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur, Berlin), Portrait of Samuel Colt, 1855, bisque porcelain (lithophane). Bequest of Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, 1905.1636.80