The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 7, 2017
 
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2011-01-13

Sam Colt

Chaz Allen

Sam really didn’t like being on shipboard that much, but here he was. When it was all said and done, he really didn’t have much choice. To say that Sam had a difficult childhood would be an understatement. What with his mother dying when he was young and his sister committing suicide.
At one time his family had been well off, but by the time Sam was fourteen, all the family’s resources had been squandered. To make matters worse, Sam was a terrible student. His father told him he should go off and be a sailor. So, here he was.
The ship was the Carvo, which was set to sail around the world, probably for the China trade. Now, Sam knew that men made fortunes in the China trade, but not if you were an ordinary seaman. And in 1830, it took nearly a year to make a round trip.
As a seaman he worked hard. Life on ship consisted of long hours of work and long hours of boredom. If he wasn’t on his watch, there was nothing to do. Most of the men had some little hobby of some kind to occupy their time.
Those who could, read. But most couldn’t. Sam, he whittled. A little skill he picked up from the ships carpenter. In fact, the capstan, that big wooden cylinder with the sprocket rods coming out of it that is used to pull up anchor, caught his attention and gave him an idea. One that would change life almost everywhere in the world, and certainly a long way from the ocean where he got it.
And he spent a good part of his year carving a model of his idea. But, he didn’t come away from his year as a seaman with much more than that. Once back on land he convinced John Pearson make a prototype. And it took Pearson two years to do that. Finally the working copy was done...and Sam applied and received a patent.
Within a few years, Sam’s invention was hailed as the most significant single item in the west. Actually, you could say that it tamed the west. Soon, people everywhere was saying....”god didn’t create all men equal....Sam did! It’s a Little Known Fact that the capstan of a sailing ship was the inspiration of Sam’s invention....a revolving chamber in a gun.....Sam’s colt.....colt 45!