Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Former type Private
Industry firearms
Fate Dissolved
Founded October 9, 1851 (1851-10-09) in Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
Founders Samuel Robbins and Richard S. Lawrence
Defunct 1881 (1881)
Headquarters Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
Area served U.S.
Key people John C. Palmer, Christian Sharps, Richard S. Lawrence
Products Rifles

Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company was the manufacturer of 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.[1]

History[edit]

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 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, VT. The holding company advanced Robbins & Lawrence $40,000 to purchase 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land in Hartford, CT and to erect a brick factory building.[1]

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.[2]

In 1872, Sharps introduced the .50-90 Sharps hunting cartridge.[3] Hugo Borchardt designed the last rifle made by the company, the Sharps-Borchardt Model 1878, but the company went bankrupt nd was defunct three years later in 1881.[2]

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.[1]

Production Sharps Model Type Caliber
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

Legacy[edit]

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 Inc., both of Big Timber, Montana, and the Italian gunmaker Davide Pedersoli & Co. of Brescia, offer a line of Sharps reproductions.[4][5]


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.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Foster-Harris, William (2007). The Look of the Old West: A Fully Illustrated Guide. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. pp. 67–69. ISBN 978-1-60239-024-9. 
  2. ^ a b Flayderman, Norm (17 December 2007). Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media, Inc. p. 194. ISBN 0-89689-455-X. 
  3. ^ Accurate Smokeless Powders Loading Guide Number Two (Revised), Book by Accurate Arms Co, Wolfe Publishing, 2000 p.368
  4. ^ Ramage, Ken (5 August 2008). Gun Digest 2009: The World's Greatest Gun Book. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media, Inc. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0-89689-647-1. 
  5. ^ Taffin, John (1995). "The Sharps 1874". Guns Magazine (Harris) 41 (5): 60–63. 
  6. ^ Hounshell, David (1 September 1985). From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States. JHU Press. pp. 193–194. ISBN 978-0-8018-3158-4.