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Oliver Fisher Winchester
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Entrepreneur
    (November 30, 1810-December 11, 1880)
    Born in Boston, Massachusetts
    Purchased the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company from Smith & Wesson (1850)
    Renamed it the Winchester Repeating Arms Company (1857)
    Introduced the first Winchester rifle - Model 1866 (the Yellow boy) in 1866
    Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut (1866-67)
    Died in New Haven, CT at age 70
    Winchester repeating rifle was nicknamed 'The Gun That Won the West'
    He was out of his element as a clothing manufacturer turned gun producer.
    Sales were sluggish the first 10 years of operation until he hired engineer Benjamin Tyler Henry.
    Henry rifle sales were brisk, but when improvements were made on the rifle in 1866 it evolved into a Winchester rifle (boss takes credit for another's idea).
    After he died his son took over the company but lasted just three months before dying of TB.
    His daughter-in-law Sarah was convinced evil spirits killed by the rifles were haunting her and built the Winchester Mystery House to ward them off.
    He gave up a business that he knew, moved to New Haven and tried his luck in the arms business, a gamble that paid off handsomely.
    The Union Army was reluctant to use his rifles as 'untested technology,' but some soldiers bought them with their own money because they knew it could save their lives.
    Some Confederate soldiers with muzzle loading guns came up against Union troops using his 16-28 shot per minute rifle, one stating 'damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!'
    His first born daughter died in 1864 at age 29.
    Native Americans used his rilfes against Gen. Custer's troops, which many believe was the reason for the 'last stand' defeat.
    The Winchester Model 94 has sold over 6 million units since 1895 with only minor changes because it was designed right from the beginning.
    New Haven's Winchester Avenue is named in his honor.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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