In this week’s episode of the Resistance Library podcast, Molly interviews Ammo.com’s Sam Jacobs about Benjamin Tyler Henry, the Henry rifle, and how this innovative design transformed the arms industry.
While Henry doesn’t have the same household recognition as Sam Colt or Smith & Wesson, Benjamin Tyler Henry is a towering figure in the world of ammunition and firearms – and those in the know, know. Henry invented the eponymous Henry rifle, which was the world’s first repeating revolver that actually worked.
Henry was born in Claremont, New Hampshire in 1821, to one of the most prominent families in the area. His grandfather, Colonel Benjamin Tyler, had been the town’s first millwright, who founded several successful mills in the town and invented the wry-fly water wheel. One of his cousins, James Tyler, likewise continued in the innovative spirit of their shared grandfather by perfecting this water-wheel design, creating much of the prosperity that visited the town during the early years of the Industrial Revolution, but allowing paper and textile mills to spring up throughout the town using the power of this perfected design.
At a young age, he became an apprentice gunsmith, working his way up to the foreman at Robins & Lawrence Arms Company of Windsor, Vermont. It was here that he worked with Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson on the volitional repeater, which would eventually become the Henry rifle.
Sam explains what made Henry’s repeating mechanism so disruptive and the two discuss the role it played in the Civil War. Sam talks about Henry’s complicated partnerships with other firearm greats, including Smith, Wesson, and Winchester. To learn more about Henry, read Sam’s article at Ammo.com’s Resistance Library.
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