Bird Hunting Withdrawls or Why I visited Sam Colt at the Wadsworth

colt_blue_domeIt has been a few weeks since bird hunting season ended and the withdrawals are here. How many times can you count empty shotgun shells and cross-reference them by gauge and manufacturer? I’m starting to  miss my favourite rifle that I found by researching rifle scope reviews. IThere just isn’t enough shot, wad, primer and powder to fill up the time until turkey season.

As a distraction, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT has an exhibition worthy of a gunner’s viewing. Samuel Colt: Arms, Art, and Invention runs thru March 4, 2007, with arms designed by Sam in the early years of Colt. Sam was quite the inventor as well as charlatan, traitor, and genius. It all depended on whom you spoke to back in the mid 1800s. What is intriguing is that Sam understood marketing and his brand even before there was anything called marketing and branding.

Sam knew what his name (brand) meant to those interested in purchasing firearms—simplicity of design, durability, and reliability. He traveled to Europe extensively hawking his guns from sultans in Turkey to czars in Russia. He even fended off copyright infringements. Fake Colts back then were as numerous as fake Rolexs in NYC’s Chinatown.

There are also some oils by George Catlin, who made a name for himself by painting native Americans in the 19th-century. Catlin also painted some canvases depicting Colt’s firearms. Talk about product placement. These guys were well ahead of marketing the curve.