Volcanic Repeating Arms – And The Tale of Two Legendary Companies

In 1854, Daniel B. Wesson and Horace Smith partnered with Courtlandt Palmer and Oliver Winchester to develop a lever-action pistol and the world’s first repeating rifle, the Volcanic. Early production took place at Smith’s shop in Norwich, Connecticut. They initially used Smith & Wesson as the companies name, but shortly-there-after in 1855 changed it to “Volcanic Repeating Arms Company.

The Volcanic rifle and pistol did not see commercial success, and by the end of 1856, the company had become insolvent. Oliver Winchester and his partner John Davies bought the bankrupt firms’ assets and reorganized under the name “New Haven Arms Company.”

Smith left the company immediately after and was followed by Wesson eight months later. After their departure, Benjamin Tyler Henry took over as the companies lead inventor and gunsmith. Between 1856 and 1860, Henry would invent and manufacture the powerful .44 Henry Rimfire cartridge and the Henry Repeating Rifle, which would form the basis for the famous Winchester Lever-Action Rifle series.

Continue Reading About Smith & Wesson

Coming Soon – The History of Winchester


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