Daniel B. Wesson : biography
Daniel Baird Wesson (May 18, 1825 – August 4, 1906) was a firearms designer from the United States. He was responsible for helping develop several firearms that had a very large influence in the field.
Wesson remained active in the firm until his death in 1906. After a four-year illness, Wesson succumbed to " ... heart failure superinduced by neuritis... " Daniel Wesson was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Springfield, Massachusetts. His great-grandson Daniel B. Wesson II, (called Dan Wesson) followed the family tradition as gunsmith.
Daniel Baird Wesson was the son of Rufus and Betsey (Baird) Wesson.New York Times Daniel's father was a farmer and manufacturer of wooden plows and Daniel worked on his father's farm and attended public school until the age of eighteen, when he apprenticed himself to his brother Edwin Wesson (a leading manufacturer of target rifles and pistols in the 1840s) in Northborough, Massachusetts.
Daniel Wesson had five sisters and four brothers: Cornelia (b. 1810); Edwin (b. 1811); Betsy (b. 1814); Rufus Jr. (b. 1815); Charlotte (b. 1819); Jane (b. 1823); Franklin (b. 1828); Martin (b.unk); and Frances (b. 1830).
Wesson was married to Cynthia Maria Hawes, May 26, 1847 in Thompson, Connecticut. The couple had one daughter and three sons: Sarah Janette Wesson (b. 1848); Walter Wesson (Smith & Wesson executive, b.1850); Frank Wesson (b.unk); and Joseph Wesson (Smith & Wesson executive, b.unk).
In 1900, Daniel Wesson, a strong advocate of homeopathy, founded the Hampden Homeopathic Hospital with a donation of $100,000. New York Times The hospital (later known as Wesson Memorial Hospital) was located in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1923 the hospital switched from homeopathy to modern-day medicine.Springfield, Volume 2, p.79 (Cruikshank, Ginger, Arcadia Publishing, 2000)
Smith & Wesson
In 1854, Daniel B. Wesson partnered with Horace Smith and Courtlandt Palmer to develop the Smith & Wesson Lever pistol and the first repeating rifle – the Volcanic. Production was in the shop of Horace Smith in Norwich, CT. Originally using the name "Smith & Wesson Company", the name was changed to "Volcanic Repeating Arms Company" in 1855, with the addition of new investors, one of whom was Oliver Winchester. The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company obtained all rights for the Volcanic designs (both rifle and pistol versions were in production by this time) as well as the ammunition, from the Smith and Wesson Company. Wesson remained as plant manager for 8 months before rejoining Smith to found the "Smith & Wesson Revolver Company" upon obtaining the licensing of the Rollin White "rear loading cylinder patent.
In 1856 Smith & Wesson began to produce a small revolver designed to fire the Rimfire cartridge they had patented in August 1854. This revolver was the first successful fully self-contained cartridge revolver available in the world. Smith & Wesson secured patents for the revolver to prevent other manufacturers from producing a cartridge revolver – giving the young company a very lucrative business.
At the age of 65, Horace Smith retired from the company and sold his share of the business to D. B. Wesson, making him the sole owner of the firm. In the late 1800s the company introduced its line of hammerless revolvers (still represented in Smith & Wesson's handgun line).
In 1899, Smith & Wesson introduced what is arguably the most famous revolver in the world, the .38 Military & Police (Model 10). This revolver has been in continual production since that year and has been used by virtually every police agency and military force around the world.
Image:Wesson Mansion.jpg|Wesson Mansion, Springfield, Massachusetts
In 1886, Daniel Wesson built a summer home in Northborough, Massachusetts called Wesson Terrace. Now called White Cliffs, it is owned by the La Cava family and is a function facility often used for weddings, wedding showers, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Northborough's Annual Winter Ball, and gatherings for various local associations.
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