Smith & Wesson located in Norwich Connecticut was founded by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson in 1852. Learning the trade from their former jobs, the men formed a partnership with the aim of marketing of a lever repeating pistol that used a fully self-contained cartridge. This first pistol was unfortunately not successful and by 1854 the company was already slipping into debt. Facing their hard finical difficulties the men were forced to sell their company to Oliver Winchester, founder of Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
After forming their second partnership in 1856, Smith & Wesson took their patent and produced a small revolver which was designed to fire the Rimfire cartridge. Being the first successful self-contained cartridge revolver available in the world. Realizing that the patents would expire at one point the company started designing new models. In 1870 the Model 3 American was brought to life. It was the first caliber cartridge revolver produced, bringing Smith & Wesson to the top as the world's leader in handgun manufacturing.
Now still taking the lead as one of the major handgun companies, Smith & Wesson continue bringing out newer models to satisfy the different needs of each individual. At the turn of the 20th century they came out with the first Magnum revolver, .357 Magnum. And in 1955 the first double action auto-loading pistol (Model 39) was introduced as well as the Model 29 chambered in .44 magnum. Model 29 was made famous by Clint Eastwood in the movie 'Dirty Harry' which was revealed in 1956. It's unbelievable of the accomplishments Smith & Wesson have achieved. There is no way anyone could understand the history of modern handguns such as pistols or revolvers without understanding the history behind Smith & Wesson itself. Without them, handguns of today wouldn't be the same.