Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company was the manufacturer of the Sharps Rifle. The company was organized by Samuel Robbins and Richard S. Lawrence as a holding company in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 9, 1851 with $100,000 in capital. Despite Sharps departing from the company bearing his name, Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company would go on to produce over 100,000 rifles, but would dissolve in 1881 with the widespread use of repeating rifles.
|Founded||October 9, 1851Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.in|
|Founder||Samuel Robbins and Richard S. Lawrence|
|John C. Palmer, Christian Sharps, Richard S. Lawrence|
Christian Sharps (1810–1874), patented his rifle in 1848. The first contract for 5,000 rifles was in 1850 and manufacturing started in 1851. The Model 1851 "box-lock" was developed by Christian Sharps, Rollin White, and Richard Lawrence at Robbins & Lawrence of Windsor, Vermont. The second contract for 15,000 rifles was so large that no suitable land was available in Windsor, Vermont. The holding company advanced Robbins & Lawrence $40,000 to purchase 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land in Hartford, Connecticut, and to erect a brick factory building.
Christian Sharps left the Company in 1853. He later formed a partnership with William Hankins in 1862, known as Sharps & Hankins. In 1855, manufacturing was moved to Hartford and continued until 1876. Operations were then moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut.
In 1872, Sharps introduced the .50-90 Sharps hunting cartridge. Hugo Borchardt designed the last rifle made by the company, the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878, but the company went bankrupt and was defunct three years later in 1881.
The Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company produced over 100,000 firearms during the US Civil War for the Union Army, but the company was plagued by lawsuits and eventually succumbed to a shifting marketplace as repeating rifles became more popular with shooters.
|1849 to 1850||Model 1849||Rifle||0.44|
|1850 to 1850||Model 1850||Rifle||0.44|
|1852 to 1855||Model 1851||Carbine||.36, .44, .52|
|1853 to 1855||Model 1852||Rifle||0.52|
|1853 to 1855||Model 1852||Carbine||0.52|
|1853 to 1855||Model 1852||Shotgun||Various|
|1854 to 1857||Model 1853||Carbine||Various|
|1856 to 1857||Model 1855||0.52|
|1856 to 1857||Model 1855||U.S. Navy Rifle||0.52|
|1855 to 1857||Model 1855||British Carbine||0.52|
|1859 to 1866||Model 1859||Carbine||0.52|
|1859 to 1866||Model 1863||Carbine||0.52|
|1859 to 1866||Model 1865||Carbine||0.52|
|1859 to 1866||Model 1859||Rifle||0.52|
|1869 to 1871||Model 1869||Carbine||0.52|
|1869 to 1871||Model 1869||Military Rifle||0.50-70|
|1869 to 1871||Model 1869||Sporting Rifle||.44-77, .50-70|
|1871 to 1881||Model 1874||Various|
|1877 to 1878||Model 1877||0.45|
|1878 to 1881||Model 1878||Various|
Reproductions of the paper cartridge Sharps 1863 Rifle, the metallic cartridge 1874 Sharps Rifle, and Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878 are manufactured today for use in hunting and target shooting. A number of companies, among them Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company and C. Sharps Arms Co. Inc., both of Big Timber, Montana, and the Italian gunmaker Davide Pedersoli & Co. of Brescia, offer a line of Sharps reproductions.
The Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company had manufactured bicycles under contract for Weed Sewing Machine Company in Hartford. When Sharps relocated to Bridgeport, Weed bought the old Hartford plant to manufacture bicycles themselves.
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