Though many are familiar with Remington rifles, many don’t know that in the beginning, the Remington’s didn’t even make rifles. Today, October 28th, we celebrate the birthday of the man who started it all, Eliphalet Remington II.
Eliphalet was born in 1793 in Suffield, Connecticut. His father, a blacksmith, was to play a fundamental role in the eventual development of Remington rifles. As was tradition in those days, Eliphalet followed in his father’s footsteps and began working in the forge at an early age. In August of 1861, Eliphalet made the first rifle barrel to be created by the Remington’s and sold to nearby gunsmiths for use in their production of guns.
Remington Growth and Family
As America and the industries within it grew, the Erie Canal was completed in 1825. With access to more transportation possibilities, an economic boom hit the area. By 1828, the small forge had grown big enough to be moved to 100 acres in New York State. From there, Remington expansion was all but unstoppable.
By 1839, Elipalet’s son Philo had joined the business, joined in 1845 by his brother, Samuel. Up until that year, the Remingtons only made rifle barrels, not the weapons themselves. But that all changed in 1845, when the Remingtons signed a contract for 5,000 Model 1841 Mississippi Rifles. Just a few months later, the Remingtons benefitted from what was a bit of bad luck for someone else. Nathan Ames had been awarded a government contract for 1,000 carbines. However, Ames’s failing health left him unable to fulfill the contract and he turned to the Remingtons.
The Remingtons went on to be one of the most well-known names in firearms. By the start of the Civil War in 1861, they were making rifles and revolvers for the government, including .36 and .38 caliber as well as the Model 1863 Percussion Contract Rifles, better known as the “Zouave.”
Eliphalet Remington II died on August 12,1861, so he never got to see the part his company played in the Civil War and beyond. Eliphalet and his son, Philo, worked together to make many improvements that led to some of the same techniques and models in the gun industry today. One of his greatest achievements was developing the very first cast-steel drilled rifle barrel that could be called a success in America.
Today, as we fight daily against more gun control and keeping our Second Amendment rights alive, let’s take a moment to appreciate the industry and innovation of pioneers like Eliphalet Remington II, who played such a distinct role in the firearms of today.
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