This book recounts the story of gun manufacturer Samuel Colt and his wife, Elizabeth, who together turned a company into an empire and a name into a legend. It is a tale of two lives caught up in profound social and economic change, of a great fortune amassed and expended, of the rise of a new industry, and the transformation of an American city. Beginning with an account of Sam Colt's early failures as both inventor and businessman, William Hosley traces the development in the pre-Civil War years of the notorious Colt revolver - "The Gun That Won the West"--Into the first truly global manufacturing export in U.S. history. At their peak, Colt armories in Hartford and London produced as many as 50,000 guns a year - part of a thriving, technologically advanced arms industry that made the Connecticut River Valley the "Silicon Valley" of the Victorian Age. Although Sam became an international celebrity and symbol of American enterprise, it was Elizabeth who made sure the Colt legacy would endure. Following her husband's premature death in 1862 and the subsequent destruction of the Hartford armory by fire, she rebuilt the factory and launched a forty-year campaign of civic memorialization. A patron of the arts, she endowed parks, museums, public statuary, and other memorials that glorified her family and earned her the status of "first lady" of Connecticut.