The Winchester rifle was as much a part of the Wild West as the Colt, a pistol. The 73 Winchester, made in 1873, was the prototype of the Winchester rifles that followed, a gun used extensively in hunting.
Oliver Fisher Winchester (1810-1880) was an American industrialist for whom the gun he manufactured was named. Me organized the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and improved on the Henry and Spencer repeating rifles of the Civil War. Winchester produced a breechloading repeating rifle at his plant in New Haven, Connecticut, an amalgam of patents acquired from different inventors, and his name became a generic term for a repeating rifle.
The Winchester was the scourge of the frontier, and one story about the Fetterman massacre in 1866 says that two civilians armed with Winchesters killed as many Indians as the eighty soldiers without them. Winchester employed B. T. Henry, the inventor of the Henry repeating rifle, and later acquired the patent for the Hotchkiss bolt-action- repeating rifle. The company went on to manufacture many kinds of guns, but all were called Winchesters.
Winchester was a philanthropic man whose generosity was so appreciated by the people of Connecticut that they elected him lieutenant governor.