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In 1851 Colt's exhibited guns at London's Crystal Palace Exposition and two years later opened a branch there that operated until 1857.The Colt's factory in Hartford manufactured 3,000 Dragoon pistols by the end of 1850, first at the Pearl Street location and then on Grove Lane.The company also obtained rights to the English Vickers-Maxim automatic machine gun, giving it control over all machine gun production in the world.
In 1847 Colt borrowed money from his banker cousin Elisha Colt and other Hartford businessmen to lease a factory on Pearl Street in Hartford, where he adapted the system of interchangeable parts to the mass production of guns.The routine nature of most of the incoming correspondence lessens its informational value. Generally, the Administrative File contains "public relations" materials, including drafts of unpublished company histories and biographies, scrapbooks, armory museum records and an index to correspondence compiled by museum staff.The Publications File contains several catalogs of arms manufactured.That holding company collapsed in 1958 and what remained became the holding company Fairbanks Whitney. The records also document many of the company's outside contracted activities and subsidiaries such as the Gatling Gun Company, London Armory/Agency, and Union Ferry Company.By 1960 manufacturing operations moved from Hartford to West Hartford. Records on several of the related activities are limited to a single item.Samuel Colt's widow Elizabeth ordered the Armory rebuilt exactly as it was. A holding company was formed in New York State although the Armory was still known as Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. Gatling later moved to Hartford after improving the desgin.Colt's produced the first machine gun, the Gatling, in 1867. Colt's entered into association with John Moses and Matt Browning in 1891 to manufacture their machine gun.The Army had adopted the Colt .45 as its standard sidearm in 1911.During the war Colt's produced 425,000 automatic pistols, 151,700 revolvers, 13,000 Maxim-Vickers machine guns and 10,000 new Brownings.The collection contains handwritten and printed materials, bound volumes, drawings and foreign language material.Material in the separate manuscript catalog was transferred into the record group.