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Arming the World

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American Gun Makers in the Gilded Age by Geoffrey S. Stewart

Arming the World tells the story of the American small arms industry from the early 1800’s through the post-Civil War era. Almost from the beginning, the United States produced arms in new, and radically different, ways, relying upon machinery to mass produce guns when others still made them by hand. Leveraging their technological advantage, American gun-makers produced guns with interchangeable parts and perfected new types of small arms, ranging from revolvers to repeating rifles.

The federal government’s staggering purchases of arms during the Civil War stimulated the development of fast-firing breech-loading rifles and metal-cased ammunition. When, in 1865, it became clear that every country in the world had re-equip itself with modern weapons, the Americans had an overwhelming head start. Salesmen from Remington, Winchester, Colt and Smith & Wesson --- and from lesser-known firms, too – traveled the world marketing their guns, dominating – or, perhaps, even inventing – the international arms business. American gun-makers sold rifles and side-arms by the millions and cartridges by the billions to great powers, restive colonies and fading empires alike. Adding a new element to the unstable global balance of power, American gun-makers affected the course of history.

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Copies of Arming the World will ship on the book's release date: April 23, 2024.