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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know what kind of interest there is in the Colt Forum community surrounding old historic documents. Personally I find these documents fascinating. I thought I would share a few with the members here.

John Browning’s first pistol patent was filed on 14 September 1895 and was followed just over a year later by three more pistol patents filed on 31 October 1896. All four U.S. patents were granted on 20 April 1897, having been given successive numbers:

  • #580,923, for an automatic pistol that was never manufactured, but various elements of which appeared in later Browning pistols;
  • #580,924, for a design which became the Colt Automatic Pistol of 1900;
  • #580,925, for an automatic pistol with a rotating barrel locked breech design and a grip safety, which was never manufactured;
  • #580,926, for the design which became the 1900 FN Browning.
There was a lot of paperwork generated around these patents as the details had to be worked out by patent attorneys and corrections made. Here is a small sample of one of the document packets of the Colt Company's Copy of files of Browning's Automatic Pistol Patent No 580,923. By the dates on the paperwork this is the time period between filing and approval. Lots of red pencil marks and corrections in the legalese are yet to be made as well as research to see about infringements on other patents. It must have been Friday afternoon in the drafting department when they ran the blueprints because they are upside down, lol.

Hand written note in pencil on the back of Browning Patent Drawing 580,923 (the 4th picture):

"Blue copies of drawings, 4 sheets, prepared from model by

Redding & Kiddle, of Browning Automatic Mag. Pistol
Red'd Aug. 7th, 1895. Ser. No. 562,577. Sept 14th, 95
Model pistol first shown to Mr Redding to decide if it
is an infringement of Magazine on
July 9th, 95 by C.J.E.. & Mr. J.M.B.

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Premium Member
1,293 Posts
Excellent post and thanks for sharing. I love these early patent papers and have many related documents.

I remember discussing these documents with your Dad at a past CCA show. He was telling me that he had the earliest patent papers and then I told him about mine -- which is the oldest patent date to appear on any production Colt semi-automatic pistol -- which is A.C. Wright's patent dated August 25, 1896. From serial number 1 to just before the Pre-war/Post-war single line slide marking (which eliminated the roll-mark with patent dates), this patent date appears on all Colt 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP slides.

I found this years ago in a pile of patent papers that a Connecticut gun dealer had obtained years earlier from Colt engineer John Hintlian's collection. I'm extremely grateful that Mr. Hintlian had the foresight to salvage so many of the historical papers that Colt's discarded following WWII.

The patent awarded to A.C. Wright (patent 566,367) is pictured under Colt 1908 Vest Pocket serial numbers 1 & 2:

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