Six shooters and fancy rides

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop., play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

This week, some interesting trivia and origins of words and how they came to be common in the English language.

Cowboys of the past often referred to their guns as a “piece” or a “Colt.” The six-shooter handgun used by lawmen and cowpokes in the Wild West became the revolver of choice used by the US Military. (1)

Young Samuel Colt (1814-1862) ran away from home while he was a teenager, to board a ship destined for the high seas.

While the story could be folk lore, it is said he based the mechanical design of the 6-bullet, revolving cylinder sidearm on a ship’s wheel. (2)

He became a firearms manufacturer in Connecticut, and woke up one morning in 1847 a wealthy man, when the US Army placed a purchase order for 1,000 pistols, to be used in the Mexican War. His company sold sidearms to both the North and the South during the Civil War. Colt died in 1862, one of the richest men in America. (3)

Despite a brief break in production during the 20th century, the company is still in production today.

In 1905, a man named John T. Thompson conducted serious testing on .45 caliber weapons, helping to establish .45 as the standard for military use. He also invented the “Tommy Gun.” (4)

A “Clarence” was a large, elegant, 4-wheeled horse carriage that had a 4-passenger capacity. It was designed for 2 horses and named after the Hanoverian William Henry, the Duke of Clarence. (1765-1837) It was presented as transportation in the first part of the 19th century(1840). William Henry ruled as William IV circa 1830. (5)

This horse carriage was nicknamed the “Crawler,” for its slow speed in traveling, and was also known as a “London Growler,” since it was rather noisy as it made its way along. (6)

The passenger seats faced one another inside a closed box, while the driver had a seat in front and above, in the open air.

King William IV strongly wanted to maintain a Crown-monarchy over the British Parliament, but as time passed and standards changed, he stubbornly had to accept reforms.

He was always involved in scandals and had 10 illegitimate children with the Irish actress, Dorothea Jordan. (7)

A “Brougham” was also a 4-wheeled carriage, the first one to be designed to be pulled by a single horse. The passenger seat was enclosed in a box, with the driver seated openly up front. The coach was so tiny that is could only seat 2 people comfortably, 3 if squeezed. (8)

Invented in 1838 by a Scotsman named Henry Peter Brougham, he nick-named his own coach “the Garden Chair on Wheels.”

He later became 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux (1778-1868).

Brougham was a prominent lawyer who became famous for defending Queen Caroline against an annulment of her marriage, sought by her husband King George IV. (9)

Also a famous politician in his day, Henry Peter Brougham campaigned to have text books made available to the lower and working classes of people, at affordable prices, and also sought to end the slavery of human beings. (10)

He rose through the political ranks to the position of Lord Chancellor under the Lord Melbourne and Earl Grey Administration.

That is all for now. More next week.

Closing with the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1-10: “Bloomers, Biros and Wellington Boots,” by Andrew Sholl