World Renowned - Smith & Wesson

When I Say Revolver - You Say Smith & Wesson

When one thinks of revolvers, the first (and likely the only) name that comes to mind is Smith & Wesson. Smith & Wesson is truly one of the world's most recognizable brands, having carved a niche in the firearms manufacturing industry very early on and continuing to hold prominence with the production of outstanding revolvers, rifles and hand guns. Almost every law enforcement and military agency in the entire world has used S&W at one time or another and many continue to do so until today.

Two Young Men and An Idea

The company originally began with the partnership of Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson, both from old New England families. Horace gained his knowledge of firearms during his work tenure at the National Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts and Daniel apprenticed with his brother Edwin Wesson, the leading producer of target rifles and pistols in the 1840s. They formed their first partnership in 1852 with a plan to develop and market a repeating pistol that had a fully self-contained cartridge. Within two years the company was in financial trouble and was taken over by Oliver Winchester who went on to use their designs to develop the Winchester Repeating Arms Co.

When Knocked Down - Get Up Again

In 1856, Smith and Wesson partnered again and this time produced a small revolver which was built to fire the Rimfire cartridge. They had learned their lesson and wisely patented this invention. This particular revolver turned out to be the first successful fully-contained cartridge revolver available anywhere in the world. They secured patents for this revolver thus preventing other companies from producing a cartridge revolver and in turn developed a very lucrative business.

Patents expire and when the partners recognized the need for a new design in order to keep business perking, they created the Model 3 American, completed in 1869 and marketed in 1870. It was the first large caliber cartridge revolver and pushed S&W to the front of the line in handgun manufacturing. In the late 1800s their line of hammerless revolvers were introduced and the design remains in use to this day.

Famous Revolvers Produced by S&W

Their next, and probably the most famous revolver, the .38 Military & Police - or, as it is known today - Model 10, continues to be in production and has been used by virtually every policing agency in the world. S&W continued to contribute to handgun history with the development of the .357 Magnum which was introduced in 1935. Model 39, the first American made double action auto-loading pistol, was introduced in 1955 and the "Dirty Harry" firearm, the Model 29 chambered in .44 magnum, made its debut in 1956. Production of the world's first stainless steel revolver, S&W Model 60, began in 1965 and launched the era of stainless steel firearms.

Without a doubt, Smith & Wesson has accomplished much in the field of hand guns and long guns. An industry leader since 1852, their innovations continue to impact the world today.