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Smith & Wesson Arms was founded in 1852. The founders of the company dreamed of creating a completely new rapid-fire and multiply-charged pistols with a cylindrical magazine.
If the first "Colts" had to manually cock the trigger after each shot, then the new weapon had to have instant action - just know, pull the trigger.
A couple of years later, such a weapon was actually manufactured and immediately received a patent. The weapon was so unique that Scientific American magazine even called it volcanic. Indeed, even the well-worn arrows were amazed at the destructive power of the new pistol and its rate of fire. But the company ran into a lack of finance. Then the famous investor, Oliver Winchester, came to the aid of Smith and Wesson.
The founders' union quickly collapsed - their shares were transferred just to Winchester. Smith himself retired and went home to Massachusetts. Wesson remained to work for the new owner as a manager. In his spare time, he came up with a new small revolver that fired special rifled cartridges. Smith and Wesson patented them back in 1854. The creator liked Novika so much that he contacted his former partner, inviting him to restore his former cooperation. It seemed to the engineers that this weapon could be successful.
The intuition did not disappoint the inventors. The improved Model 1 revolver design and proprietary cartridges became a sensation in the arms market. In 1859, Smith and Wesson built a factory in downtown Springfield. As a result, the city became one of the centers of the American arms industry.
The Civil War broke out and Smith & Wesson Arms products were in steady demand. But after the end of hostilities, the arms manufacturers fell on hard times. In the first years after the conclusion of the peace, the partners sold only a few of their revolvers a year. Then Smith and Wesson decided to change their strategy. They decided to play in the European market, which is unusual for American gunsmiths.
So there were agencies for the sale of revolvers in England, France and Germany. The results were encouraging, but the success came from an unexpected direction. In the mid-1860s, an exhibition of weapons was held in Paris. It was visited by the Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, the heir to the Russian throne. He became acquainted with Smith & Wesson products, acquiring several dozen collectibles for himself and his friends.
A few years later, Smith & Wesson introduced a new 44 caliber revolver to the market. The 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 several samples back home. At the beginning of 1871, the future Russian emperor was presented with a special revolver with engraving on the entire body and a mother-of-pearl finish on the handle.
These special designs sold for $ 400, while the usual triplet was only $ 13. The prince liked this pistol so much that during his visit to America he constantly carried this weapon with him. The heir even used the revolver when hunting buffalo, where he was accompanied by the living legend William Cody, or Buffalo Bill. Could the advertisement be better?
In May 1871, Smith & Wesson received an order for 20,000 weapons for the Russian army. At the same time, domestic experts praised American products so highly that they immediately paid for it in gold. Immediately after this contract, others, no less large, followed. Dramatic events served as good advertising for the troika - in June 1876, General George Custer and his 264 cavalrymen were killed by the Sioux Indians.
A couple of months after the tragedy, an article appeared in the Sunday Herald arguing that the tragedy could have been avoided. All the riders had to do was replace their Colt Single Action revolvers with a third model from Smith & Wesson. This publication was a boon to Springfield.
Long-barreled revolvers, which had to be carried in an open holster, became the company's signature product. Such a weapon was invented especially for fans of fast shooting. And the ability to quickly grab a Smith & Wesson became as hallmark of a true cowboy as the ability to hold on tightly in the saddle, drink whiskey and chew tobacco. For decades, the brand came to symbolize American freedom and the ability to defend it with arms in hand.
In the 1930s, the company introduced the Magnum family. Such revolvers and pistols were covered with unfading glory, like the 45-caliber Colt. True, the manufacturing companies preferred to keep silent about the fact that their products are also popular with the bandits. In 1965, the first alarm bell rang. The company, which traditionally represented the Wesson family business, was sold to an outside corporation, Bangor Punta.
And 20 years later, the Californian company "Lear Siegler" became the new owner of the famous arms brand. After that "Smith & Wesson" began to change owners too quickly, being put up for auction in 1986. Could you imagine such a shame before?
And the results of the bidding turned out to be ugly - the American legend and the weapons smithy were bought for 112 million dollars by the British from Tomkins. In their homeland, the arms brand with its rich history turned out to be of no use to anyone. It seemed that the star of the company 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 alarm the gunsmiths.
But it turned out that the 1994 Brady Act prohibited the sale of weapons with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds. These norms turned out to be very useful for manufacturers of pistols and low-loading revolvers. As a result, Smith & Wesson's sales volumes gradually began to grow. But further measures by politicians who decided to fight the free trade in arms again put the entire industry on the brink of survival.
For personal safety, Americans continued to buy weapons. Here are just a national hero - a tough cowboy with a big gun on his belt has already become unfashionable. Weapon makers began to suffer heavy losses. In order to somehow survive, Smith & Wesson was one of the first to accept the rules of the game of politicians, signing a humiliating agreement to restrict business.
The state introduced a new system of control over the production, advertising and sale of weapons to individuals. Sellers began calling Smith & Wesson Clinton & Wesson, hinting at a link to the Clinton administration.
Things got so bad for the gunsmiths that in May 2001 the British sold the once glorious brand. The burdened company, along with its history and debts, was sold for a measly $ 15 million. The new owner is Saf-T-Hammer from Arizona. Most likely, the new owners pursued the goal of acquiring a name, changing their name to the much more famous Smith & Wesson. What economic benefit could be pursued from such a transaction?
And just four months after that deal, the company's shares skyrocketed to the height of those skyscrapers that collapsed 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. When he acquired 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. On this trip, Smith & Wesson seemed like a reliable and trusted companion. Today the company is the largest firearms manufacturer in America.