Pistol Patent Day

Pistol Patent Day is observed next on Tuesday, February 25th, 2025 (309 days from today).

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Pistol is a Revolving Pistol, also known as a Revolver, is a pistol with a revolver-type cartridge, normally containing six rounds. That's why it's often referred to as a pistol (green means six, a six-shot gun), but also has a design that uses more ammunition. To commemorate the day the first pistol was patented in the United States in 1836, Pistol Patent Day is celebrated every year on February 25.

The origin of Pistol Patent Day

Pistol Patent Day is celebrated generally on February 25th based on Samuel Colt's receipt of a revolver patent on February 25, 1836.

Samuel Colt (July 19, 1814 - January 10, 1862) was a famous American inventor, industrialist, and businessman. He was famous and best remembered for perfecting the revolving cylinder mechanism that allows the gun to fire multiple times without reloading. Later versions of his legendary Colt revolver, first patented in 1836, played a major role in settling the American West. By promoting the use of interchangeable parts and assembly lines, Colt became one of the wealthiest industrialists of the 19th century.

When Colt was 15 years old, in 1829, Colt was working in his father’s textile factory in Ware, Massachusetts. Here, he honed his skill in machine tools and manufacturing processes. In his spare time, he experimented with gunpowder, which caused small explosions on nearby Lake Ware. In 1830, Colt was sent to the private Amherst Academy in Amherst, Massachusetts by Colt's father. Despite being said to be a good student, he was often disciplined for conducting unapproved demonstrations about his explosive device. After one such display at the school's 4th of July 1830 celebration caused a fire on the campus, Amherst expelled him and his father sent him away to study as a sailor.

In the fall of 1830, 16-year-old Colt was serving as an apprentice sailor aboard the Corvo. From studying how the wheels and flaps of ships worked, he figured out how a similar rotating cylinder could be used to load individual cartridges in front of the gun's barrel. Based on his idea, he started carving wooden models of his dream gun. As Colt later recalled, "no matter which way the wheel turned, each spoke always aligned with a clutch that could be placed to hold it. The pistol was conceived!"

Upon returning to Massachusetts in 1832, Colt showed his father his carved model guns, who agreed to finance the production of two pistols and one rifle based on the design. While the prototype rifle worked fine, one of the pistols exploded and the other failed to fire. Although Colt blamed the failures on poor workmanship and cheap materials, his father withdrew his financial support. To raise money to pay for more expertly built guns, Colt began touring the country to introduce the public to the new medical marvel of the day, nitrous oxide — gas. It was through these often outlandish dramatic performances that Colt developed his skills as an accomplished Madison Avenue pitcher.

Colt was able to own prototype guns made by professional gunsmiths with the money saved from his days as a "medicine". Instead of the many individually loaded revolvers used in the original repeater guns, Colt's pistol used a single fixed barrel attached to a rotating cylinder containing six cartridges. The hammer action of the gun rotates the cylinder to align the next box to be fired with the barrel. Instead of claiming to have invented the revolver, Colt always admitted that his gun was an improvement on the revolver-locked pistol patented by Boston gunsmith Elisha Collier circa in 1814.

Colt continued to refine and improve his pistol with the help of master gunsmith John Pearson. After receiving an English patent in 1835, the United States Patent Office granted Samuel Colt US patent 9430X for a "Revolving Gun" on February 25, 1836. Together with a group Influential investors including US Patent Office Director Henry Ellsworth, Colt opened the Manufacturing Company Patent Bracelet in Paterson, New Jersey to manufacture his revolver.

By 1837, Colt's Patent Arms Company’a guns were selling very little despite the production of 1000 guns. In 1842, the company closed its Paterson, New Jersey, factory after a series of economic downturns, exacerbated by Colt's lavish spending habits,. However, the US government ordered 1,000 pistols when the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846 that was the reason for Colt was back in business. In 1855, the Colt Manufacturing Company was opened in its present location of Hartford, Connecticut, with sales offices in New York and London, England by Colt. Within a year, the company was producing 150 guns per day.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Colt supplied guns exclusively to the Union Army.The Colt's Manufacturing Company plant in Hartford at the height of the war was operating at full capacity, employing more than 1,000 people.

Observing Pistol Patent Day

To celebrate Pistol Patent Day, you can find interesting information about Colt pistols. Learn about the importance of the Colt pistol in the Mexican-American War, or in the American Civil War. Share your insights with the hashtag #PistolPatentDay.


Pistol Patent Day has been observed annually on February 25th.


Saturday, February 25th, 2023

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Tuesday, February 25th, 2025

Wednesday, February 25th, 2026

Thursday, February 25th, 2027

Also on Tuesday, February 25th, 2025