SMHS Meeting: Samuel Colt and his influence on British Manufacturing

18 Sep 2013

Our September speaker, Stephen Thomas, certainly attracted a good gathering, nearly filling the function room at the Royal Oak with 35 people attending. His subject matter ‘Samuel Colt and his influence on British Manufacturing' no doubt prompting their interest.

Stephen collects antique arms, was a member of the Oxford University Pistol Club and is a member of the Historical Breech-loading Small Arms Association. He lectures at the Imperial War Museum and has a private collection of over 100 pistols. Stephen certainly knows his stuff!

Stephen explained how the firearms industry was instrumental in propagating mass manufacturing, focussing on making parts interchangeable; thus where a product had previously been handmade by a Smith or through linked cottage industry, now parts could be manufactured anywhere and brought together in a production line. Standard specification replacements could be used for repairs and in the arms industry a Blacksmith was no longer a battleground essential. Other industries went on to adopt Colt's production methods. Stephen concluded with a poignant quote from Henry Ford who, in relation to his Model T said we will use the Colt Armoury methods to produce this car.”

Following Stephen's lecture members were invited to view a few pieces from his collection which he had brought along for illustrative purposes.


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7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Function Room of the
Royal Oak Public House,
Station Street, Lewes,
East Sussex.


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