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In his diary Callous and Despicable, Hoarce Boothroyd III points out the rude heckling of some in the audience at a hearing at the Connecticut state capital of Hartford as the  parents and citizens of Newtown were testifying.

Shigeru pointed out the location of Colt's Manufacturing in the state.   Phil S 33 wondered at this behavior in a fairly liberal state.  

Perhaps being a bit older, having grown up in the New Haven area and remembering the Winchester factory, remembering the location being pointed out to me where Interchangeable Parts and the Cotton Gin were 'invented', which made possible the car I was driving in, the clothes I was wearing and the indirectly the growth of slavery & the Civil War, I wasn't surprised, that this was happening in Connecticut.

Thanks mainly to the help of Wikipedia, travel back to the early 1800's.

Although it seems others were involved too, one of the most important inventors in the new country, was one Eli Whitney.  With the rifles his firm manufactured, he was considered to be the main inventor of Interchangeable Parts.  This was one of the most important concepts/patents of the coming Industrial Age.

His other major invention was the cotton gin, which exploded cotton production and slavery in the south.  Today, there is an Eli Whitney Museum in the New Haven area.  I sharpened up my late grade school local history, by going to his Wiki page.

Samuel Colt built on the Whitney expertise, at first using the Whitneyville factory in the 1840's to sub-contract pistol parts, for an improved system of Interchangeable Parts.  He opened his factory in Hartford Conn, where it remains today, Colt's Manufacturing Co. a major contractor & supplier for the Army.

The gun company with a 150+ yr heritage in New Haven was the Winchester Arms Co..  This was the "Gun That Won the West"  and continued through WW I  & II.  The factory closed there in 2006.  I recently read that people are trying to rehab the factory into dwellings and ground floor shops.

Smith and Wesson, manufacturer of mainly revolvers, started in Conn. but soon moved north to near-by Springfield, Mass.  Very interestingly in a WiKi footnote via CNN, it is one Andrew Cuomo, then HUD secretary under Pres Clinton, now Governor of NY, who tried to put together a gun safety program (trigger locks, less violent ads, authorized dealers doing back ground checks), with which Smith & Wesson, then the only manufacturer to do so, cooperated.  They were punished by the NRA and allied gun groups.  You will recognize some of the names in the justice proceedings.

This from the Wiki entry for Smith & Wesson:

"In March 2000 Smith & Wesson was the only major gun manufacturer to sign an agreement with the Clinton Administration. The company agreed to numerous safety and design standards as well as limits on the sale and distribution of its products. Gun clubs and gun rights groups responded to this agreement by initiating large-scale boycotts of Smith & Wesson by refusing to buy their new products and flooding the firearms market with used S&W guns. After a 40% sales slide, the sales impact from the boycotts led Smith & Wesson to suspend manufacturing at two plants. The success of the boycott led to a Federal Trade Commission antitrust investigation's being initiated under the Clinton administration, targeting gun dealers and gun rights groups, which was subsequently dropped in 2003. This agreement signed by Tomkins PLC ended with the sale of Smith & Wesson to the Saf-T-Hammer Corporation. The new company (Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation), which publicly renounced the agreement, was received positively by the firearms community."
Seems the boycotts by the fear mongering NRA were the cause of the loss of business by Smith & Wesson.  We know who was in charge of the Justice Dept in 2003 when the anti-trust suit was dropped.  


At any rate, guns were important to Connecticut, even though most of them might have actually been used out of state and out of the country.  The people back in Connecticut, certainly knew where their bread was buttered and kept an eye on things in their markets.  And thousands who worked in the factories and as allied suppliers were/are threatened by any change in the marketplace.

Connecticut was the place where the educated invented and perfected the product , ran the factories, and counted the money.  The article on Eli Whitney points out how he used his Connecticut government and Yale connections for obtaining contracts and moving favorable legislation.  Some things never change.

It was a "gentlemen's" gun world then, until the NRA and the remaining manufacturers figured out how they could boost sales by hoping into bed with each other after the Vietnam War.  They started "punishing' any body or firm who they saw as a threat, especially after the attempt on the life of Ronald Reagan and injury of Press Sec Brady.

As has been pointed out numerous times, people need to consider if they and their government are being used and manipulated by the NRA.

The NRA is a group that is so powerful and full of itself, they turned on one of their own constituent firms, for what they saw as a goal more important than relatively benign action to slow the loss and injury of innocent lives.  They are beneath what any sensible gun ownership should involve.  

Thank you to those who were not intimidated by the thuggish behavior.

I just had a history update from the 6th grade. It's pretty ugly. Even in 'nice' Connecticut.

Originally posted to PinHole on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ouch, a painful history, that I hadn't known. Tks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber, PinHole

    Join us at RASA: Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment. (Repeal will not ban guns, just help regulate them.)

    by Sharon Wraight on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:45:53 AM PST

  •  It's actually worse than that: (6+ / 0-)

    Ruger and Remington also manufactured here. Plus, we make submarines, helicopters, fighter jet engines, tanks and APCs, we used to make the fission blocks for nukes. We make guidance systems and bombsights, the guts of smart bombs and cruise missiles. United Technologies research department is the think tank for weapons development that the military relied on for decades. And it looks like we'll be in the forefront of cyberwar, too.
    In all, about 30% of CT payrolls are dependent on Guns&Bombs Inc. We are the Wargasm State.
    And, there's a gun owners association, a mini NRA, in Newtown, so hostile pro-gun loons are no strangers to "nice" Connecticut.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:34:02 AM PST

    •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      I was hoping someone would bring up that gun owners association.  

      And, yes, the factory systems developed in Conn and Mass spawned submarines and aircraft manufacturers.

      The northern half of North Haven, where I lived, was the partial home to a major Pratt & Whitney factory.  Jet engines & helicopters.  In the '50s & '60s, the high school had a highly regarded "shop/technical" dept.  It fed boys directly into the Pratt & Whitney,Winchester and other  factories.  

  •  The Armory System (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    concernedamerican, PinHole

    The linked Wikipedia page on Eli Whitney points out that he  "has often been incorrectly credited with inventing the idea of interchangeable parts;" indeed, the idea was around in France before his time and was successfully implemented not by him but by the Springfield Armory and the system of independent but closely related contractors that arose in the Connecticut River Vally.
    The Springfield Armory was the center of the 19th Century's version of Silicon Valley, a period of intense innovation in a regional economy characterized by government investment and private entrepreneurship working in concert.
    It was this community, with the Armory at its center, that perfected the system of precision manufacturing and interchangeable parts that subsequently enabled every mass produced technology from sewing machines to bicycles to automobiles to computers. And of course, firearms.
    In 1968, Robert McNamara ended the federal relationship as the sole customer of the Armory, outsourcing the manufacture of the new M16 automatic rifle to private industry. This is the turning point that led to the massive profit driven marketing of military style weapons to the general public.
    A history of the Armory and its role in the creation of the "American System of Manufacturing" is here:

    Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

    by Perry the Imp on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:42:32 AM PST

    •  In defense-Your point about Eli Whitney (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      is why I wrote this:

      Although it seems others were involved too, one of the most important inventors in the new country, was one Eli Whitney.
      The "history'" fed to a 6th grader, is more than likely quite simplified, even in high school.  How many in this country retain a 6th grade level of American History in general, and the Constitution in particular?

      Some might say one would not even encounter it at the level you point to until grad school.

      When I went into Wiki to research this subject, it was not knowing the business about Smith & Wesson and the NRA.  That subsequently became my focus, not childhood memories of places associated with Eli Whitney.

      Thank you for the additional info.  

      You are quite right about the whole Conn River Valley.  Some of my ancestors were recruited as skilled workers from Sheffield England in the mid-1800's and worked at a knife factory next to Hop Brook.  One can still see the foundations of this small mill factory at Hop Brook State Park.  It was then absorbed into Scoville Manufacturing.  

      •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't mean to attack your excellent post, and I realize I was nitpicking a side issue. The history of the Springfield Armory and the model of government and industry partnership in technological innovation has interested me ever since being introduced to it as the html slinger on the forgeofinnovation site I linked to. The historical role of the armory has gotten short shrift for some reason, and the Armory itself, now a National Historic Site,  has tended to be a mecca for gun enthusiasts when it should be a site for historic investigation. The uncomfortable fact that the basis for so many of our creature comforts lies in the manufacture of weapons of war tends to complicate the discussion, especially in the context of K-12 education. It's ironic that the cotton gin contributed materially to the expansion of slavery and the Armory's capacity to manufacture muskets contributed materially to the victory of the Union in the Civil War and the ending of slavery.
        Anyway, I did appreciate the main thrust of your post - the problem is not merely "gun nuts" but the economics of arms manufacturing, which has always bedeviled foreign policy but now has come home to roost with civilian access to ordnance. There is another excellent post on the forces driving private industry to market arms to private citizens here.


        Plangentarchy: dictatorship of the whiners

        by Perry the Imp on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:28:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No problem... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Perry the Imp

          Unfortunately too many do not look in depth at the entire holistic picture, as we seem to have done.

          It is good to recognize the monsters and monsters to be among us.

          The teaching of history, esp in grades 3-10 is a delicate balance between what a child at that age can handle, what will overwhelm him, what she can relate to and what will go in one ear and out the other.  

          And there is virtually NO economics education in high school or among those directed in a math or science direction in college.  (Mr P, the bright eyed math & physics student among them)  

          The trashing of Smith & Wesson by the NRA was the real eye opener.  

          I'll follow your reference to the Springfield Armory at a later time.  Need to get to bed.

  •  So the right wingers put Smith and Wesson out (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nautical Knots, mrblifil, BachFan, PinHole

    of business, not liberal legislation.  It was the right wing's boycott in reaction to the company's safety controls, that ended up ruining the company's prospects.  

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 06:02:51 AM PST

  •  This story (4+ / 0-)

    on the Newtown first responders is very eye opening, and should be required reading. Warning: very disturbing scenes and encounters are described, so don't click lightly, especially if you are a parent.

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