Sunday, November 2, 2008

A history lesson, Connecticut style

Now that Ralph is participating in NaPoBloMo (he shocked me when he told me he got involved!) I feel I should be writing more posts.
Call it friendly competition. Call it jealousy. Anyhow today I have a short and sweet history lesson to share.

It is inspired by a photo I took through the windshield two weeks ago, on the way to the University of Hartford to visit our children.

This is the scene from I-91 Northbound as you approach downtown Hartford, the "Insurance Capital of the World."
You can see the Travelers Insurance logo, a red umbrella, on the building in the center. My focus is on the old factory on the left featuring the eye-catching blue dome.
Cool, huh? It was built in 1855 by Hartford native Samuel Colt, an inventor who became a wealthy industrialist.

Briefly, very briefly, here is some of what I found on Wikipedia and other sites about Colt. He was born July 19, 1814, one of seven children.
He founded Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Co. in the 1830s. His standardized gun design required uniform machined parts, which led to the growth of the machined parts industry which thrives in Connecticut to this day.
In 1855 he built a huge factory, Colt's Armory, on the banks of the Connecticut River in Hartford in an area known as the South Meadows.
Although Colt didn't invent the revolver, he is credited with popularizing it.
Quoting from one Web site, the factory's "massive scale and Russian-style dome symbolized the power and international aspirations of the manufacturing revolution that unfolded within."
Colt had the dome topped with a rampant colt, made of cast bronze, apparently to ensure that Hartford residents and visitors alike would be intrigued to learn more about him and his life story.
He died on Jan. 10, 1862. He was just 47.
The Colt revolver has been called the gun that won the West.

As I said, this is a brief history lesson. I hope you learned something.
I would still like to find out why Colt chose an onion-shaped dome for his factory, other than to attract attention. But that would take research. And I don't feel like doing any. So there.
It's a blog post, not a term paper, right?


Queen-Size funny bone said...

i heard they were now going to make it into apartments but Im not sure if its true.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

ha ha, and the first thing i thought when i saw the photo was, hey why do they have a russian building there? cool!

smiles, bee

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Interesting and you got my research blood flowing and this is what i found HERE

On top of the Armory the Colonel raised an elaborate, onion-shaped blue dome, supported by columns and crowned by a golden sphere on which perched a rampant colt holding a broken spear. The colt itself was made of bronze and cast in the Armory. All over New England it was customary to adorn factories with cupolas and weathervanes, but Colt's dome was such an eccentric, ostentatious landmark that it gave rise to endless speculation and rumor about its origin. One story had the dome shipped to Hartford as the gift of a Turkish sultan grateful for guns be received during the Crimean War. Another, closer to the truth, said Colt was inspired by the Byzantine churches he saw in Russia to imitate their architecture. The real reason seems to be, simply, showmanship. Colt wanted the Armory seen and admired by everyone. What better way to shake up the stagnant traditions which he felt stultified the city and at the same time to attract the attention and wonderment of steamboat passengers on the Connecticut


Patti said...

Queen: Ralph heard that too

Bee: It is cool

Vinny Bond: Thanks for taking the time to do more research than I ~ it's much appreciated. ;-)

Linda said...

Excellent history lesson, Patti! Perhaps your "competition" with Ralph will benefit all of us in the way of more of your wonderful posts!

Patti said...

Thank you, Duchess Linda ;-)

Catherine said...

Yes ! You learnt me a lot, Patti.
Wasn't Colt a little megalomianiac ?

During my february holidays, I found in Menton this Orthodox church. Don't you find a similarity ? Religion against business achievement !!