Smith & Wesson was founded in 1852 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson, two knowledgeable gunmen with a similar interest. Intrigued by the idea of improving firearms—a trend that was popular at the time—the two came together to achieve this goal. They began their entrepreneurship in Norwich, Connecticut, intending to manufacture a “lever action repeating pistol that could use a fully self-contained cartridge.” This venture was unsuccessful in the beginning, and by 1854 they were suffering financial difficulties and sold their company to Oliver Winchester.
In 1856, however, the two men came together again in a second partnership to market a revolver that fired Rimfire cartridges. This revolver became the “first successful fully self-contained cartridge revolver available in the world.” By patenting this design, they were able to keep other manufactures from using it, thus giving them a lucrative business. With a newly productive business, they were able to continue making new designs. They are still one of the more recognized names in the firearm world today.