For generations, Colt Firearms has produced some of the most remarkable, beautiful and important firearms in history. But even among the ranks of Samuel Colt’s most celebrated creations, one model stands out for Colt enthusiasts because of its rareness – the Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon. Only 240 were produced, and only a small number still survive.
The Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon evolved from Samuel Colt’s legendary “Walker Colt Dragoon” designed by Sam Colt and Texas Ranger Captain Samuel Walker. The first model to come from Samuel Colt’s own factory in Hartford, Connecticut, the Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon was produced only in late 1847 and early 1848, and its entire run of only 240 pistols sold out immediately. With a mere two dozen surviving to this day, it remains the rarest and most sought-after of all Colt Dragoons.
You can imagine, then, how delighted I am to present you with the opportunity to acquire a handsomely decorated, authentically accurate revolver, on this, the 150th anniversary of the first firearm produced in Hartford by Samuel Colt. Colt’s ultra-rare classic returns in the form of the “Whitneyville Hartford Sesquicentennial Tribute” Revolver. A fully-functional blackpowder firearm, the Tribute is produced by Colt Blackpowder Arms from the specifications of the original 1848 Dragoon and decorated by America’s finest artisans under exclusive commission from America Remembers.
First of the Hartford Colts
The origins of the Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon go back to1846, when gunmaker Samuel Colt received a letter from Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker of the Texas Rangers. Writing in praise of Colt’s Paterson revolvers, Walker said, “the Texans…have learned their value by practical experience…their confidence in them is unbounded, so much so that they are willing to engage four times their number.”
This letter of praise was good news to Samuel Colt. Now, with the promise of sales to defenders of the frontier, Colt joined with Walker to design a newer, larger pistol that they felt would become “the most perfect weapon in the world for light mounted troops.”
Colt named the product of this collaboration the “Walker Model.” It would be America’s first “six-shooter,” a terrifically powerful .44-caliber pistol ideally suited for frontier combat. Collectors and historians later termed it a “Dragoon,” after the men who would carry them; “Dragoons” were mounted riflemen that today we would call Cavalry.
To produce the initial run of Walkers, Colt turned to Eli Whitney, Jr., son of the inventor of the cotton gin. Using Whitney’s factory in Connecticut, Colt produced the Walker Model to widespread acclaim, selling the bulk of the run to the government and the remainder to civilian buyers. With this success under his belt, Colt was back in the gunmaking business for good, establishing a new factory of his own in Hartford, and beginning work on what would become known as the Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon.
This new Dragoon would feature design improvements over the Walker Model, which to this day remains the largest and heaviest handgun ever produced by Colt. The Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon included many parts identical to Walker parts, making it a unique hybrid of old and new. This led to its later designation as the “Transition Walker.”
Only 240 were produced before Colt moved on to his next design, the First Model Dragoon. As an important link between the Colt Walker and later revolvers, and the first model to come from Colt’s own factory in Hartford, the Whitneyville Hartford Dragoon would go on to become one of the most revered and treasured firearms of all time, continuing to be a favorite of collectors to this day.
Rebirth of A Classic
The Colt Blackpowder Signature Series brings back many of Colt’s most famous blackpowder weapons that have been out of production for years, in some cases going back to their original manufacture as long as 150 years ago. All the firearms in the series are
produced by Colt Blackpowder Arms to the design specifications used by Samuel Colt in his original production designs, but with improved metallurgy and state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies of today.
The revolvers in the Whitneyville Hartford Sesquicentennial Tribute come from this “Signature Series.” They bear the authentic Colt markings of the original revolvers, along with Samuel Colt’s signature engraved on the backstrap in keeping with Colt’s tradition of “signing” presentation firearms to the celebrities and dignitaries of his day.
Each part of the revolver bears a matching serial number. These unique numbers designate each revolver as an authorized Colt Blackpowder revolver honoring this historic 150th anniversary. The original barrel markings are also present, as is the Colt’s patent stamp on the left side of the frame. The cylinder bears the Texas Ranger battle scene motif created for the Dragoons by legendary Colt engraver W.L. Ormsby.
A fully functional blackpowder firearm in .44 caliber, the Whitneyville Hartford Sesquicentennial Tribute is not only an authentic continuation of Colt’s rarest Dragoon, but also a magnificently decorated Tribute to Samuel Colt, thanks to the wonderful work of talented artisans under direct commission from America Remembers.