It seems hard to imagine a world without revolvers. The concept seems so logical and natural and yet we spent centuries with only single shot firearms.
There were many attempts at designing multiple-shot weapons but the inconsistencies of black-powder and the dangers of 'chain-fire' plus the craftsmanship nature of firearms led more to multiple barrelled innovations rather than shots kept behind a single barrel.
The legend has it that Samuel Colt, sent to sea by his father as a youth, dreamt up his revolutionary concept by watching the ship's capstan turn as it hauled anchor or load and it was the ratchet and pawl of the capstan that conjured up the revolver in his imagination.
Revolvers did exist, but in small calibre and turned by lever or hand which was a slow and imprecise operation. Novelties. Colt's intention was to make a revolver that would rotate and lock by the pulling of the hammer thus freeing the other hand to perhaps carry a second or a sabre. They would be rifled and made to be assembled by the many instead of a lone craftsman and could have different barrel sizes, for the barrel would be detachable. He designed them in the hope of a military contract. But that would not be. The first revolver was not a success.
He carved a wooden model to show the patent offices that his design was practical and it is this wooden model that is the inspiration behind the story.
His invention would change the world forever, and as the saying goes:
“The Lord made men, but Sam Colt made them equal.”
But perhaps not for the better.