One of the best ongoing features of any blog I read is Erik Visits An American Grave over at Lawyers, Guns and Money, which is up to installment 1,135.
Installment 1,134 was particularly interesting because Erik Loomis visits the grave of Samuel Colt, the nation’s first true firearms tycoon whose eponymous company (founded in 1855) is still in business with an estimate $271 million is sales annually.
I did not know previously that Colt was a shady character:
Colt was a true capitalist in that he had absolutely no morals, positions, or scruples except for profit. He routinely sold guns to both sides in European wars. When the Civil War was moving toward starting, he took the same position in his own country. He sold tons of guns to Southern buyers well through 1860 and into 1861 and as late as that year, considered opening a second factory in the South so if secession did happen, he could make tons of money and his business wouldn’t be interrupted. Even when treason in defense of slavery occurred, he still sold 2,000 guns to a Confederate agent in 1861. Colt simply didn’t care. Finally, he came in for real criticism, though it wasn’t yet illegal. Major newspapers called him a traitor. He was outraged. He couldn’t be a traitor to the only nation that really mattered–his wallet. Colt then volunteered for the Connecticut militia for real in response, seeing his business being threatened. He never saw the field.
You can read the rest here.