Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ironically, it was this American made British military rifle that resulted in one of the Union’s finest rifles.

The Pattern 1853 Enfield, Windsor Pattern.
In 1856, the Windsor pattern rifles were manufactured by Robbins and Lawrence of Windsor, Vermont, under contract with the British War Department. 

During the Crimean War (1854-1856) there was a shortfall of Enfield rifle muskets. Insufficient numbers were being produced in the United Kingdom and, despite a contract for their manufacture being placed in Belgium, further assistance from both the United States and France was sought. An American contact was swiftly set up in February 1855 for 25,000 US rifle muskets, altered to the Enfield bore, to be made by Robbins and Lawrence of Windsor, Vermont. Enfield rifle muskets made in Britain were variously stamped on the lock 'ENFIELD' - for those made at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield - 'LAC' for those manufactured by the London Armoury Company or 'TOWER' for other contract gunmakers. The American produced Enfields were stamped with 'WINDSOR' on the lock.

Unforeseen financial difficulties at Robbins and Lawrence and complaints in Britain that the American Enfields were of inferior quality resulted in a total of only some 16,000 rifle muskets being produced in the US for the British Army.

Colt would become a benefactor of the Robbins and Lawrence failure. Colt purchased the barrel rifling and other manufacturing machinery from R&L and produced 131,000 Colt "Special" Model 1861 Rifle-Muskets for the Union during the American Civil War.


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