Oliver Winchester: Founder of one of the most widely recognized names in the world of firearms

Oliver Winchester

Today marks an important day in 2nd Amendment history. It is the birthday of Oliver Winchester – founder of one of the most widely recognized names in the world of firearms.

Winchester Repeating Arms founder Oliver Winchester was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 30, 1810. While his life is largely indistinguishable from his career as a gun manufacturer, it’s worth noting that, in addition to revolutionizing the American firearms market, he also served as the 32nd Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut as a Republican from May 1866 to May 1867, underneath Joseph Roswell Hawley. He was also one of the great philanthropists of his time, giving a lot of money in particular to Yale University, which is in New Haven.

Winchester was born on the outskirts of Boston, at a time when there was still farming going on in those parts. His family were penniless farmers in a hardscrabble world. He had almost nothing in the way of formal education. What he did have, however, was a solid amount of business sense and no shortage of gumption. He was apprenticed as a church builder, but quickly began earning a tidy sum as the inventor of a new style of shirt collars for men, which constituted his first patent.

Winchester began his business career making garments in New York and New Haven, and selling men’s furnishings in Baltimore. After years of successful business, he started looking for new opportunities. Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson (you might have heard of their later endeavor, Smith & Wesson Revolver Company) acquired a rifle design and improved it with the help of shop foreman, Benjamin Tyler Henry (yes, that Henry). In 1855, they began manufacturing the “Volcanic” lever-action rifle. The company was incorporated as the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. The largest stockholder was Oliver Winchester.

Continue reading Oliver Winchester: The Forgotten History of Winchester Repeating Arms’ Iconic Founder at Ammo.com.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments



    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner