Back to Homepage

Robbins & Lawrence

Name Street Town State From To
Robbins & Lawrence 196 Main St. Windsor Vermont 1846 1854
Robbins & Lawrence   Hartford Connecticut 1855 October 28, 1856

Patent Date Remarks

Contract for
U.S. Army about 1848 25'000 U.S. Army rifles Model 1841 Mississippi Rifles
Sharps Rifle Company, 1852 Sharps rifles and carbines
British Board of Ordnance, 1855 25'000 Enfild Type II P-53 Rifle-Muskets

Machine company, founded by Samuel E. Robbins and Richard Smith Lawrence. Their building in Windsor was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Today the American Precision Museum is located in this building.

See also Robbins, Kendall & Lawrence

Frederick Webster Howe joined in 1847 and became the plant superintendent in the following year. He and Lawrence developed a milling machine which was commercialized in 1850. Howe, Lawrende and Henry D. Stone who has joined made several improvements in machine tools.

Courtlandt C. Palmer, who got the Hunt, Arrowsmith and Jennings patents contracted with Robbins & Lawrence to produce guns upon these patents. It is believed, that until the year 1852 almost 2000, (other record says 1'000) guns were manufactured most as single shot as the mechanism was not really practice. Benjamin Tyler Henry (see Winchester) was an employee of Robbins & Lawrence and had the first contact to repeating guns.

In 1850 or 1851, Palmer engaged Horace Smith to supervise the Jenning's production and to improve the mechanism of the gun.

The Robbins & Lawrence Machine Shop was the first to achieve interchangeability of parts. With the small British contract in hand and the out broke of the Crimean War, Robbins & Lawrence bought machinery to produce a huge number of the Enfilds. However the chick end of the Crimean War made arms purchases unnecessary and the company was bankrupt with 12'000 undelivered muskets in hand. Some of their machinery was bought by Colt and the most by Lamson, Goodnow & Yale, a Colt associate in Windsor Vermont.

Richard S. Lawrence tock charge of the new Sharps plant in Hartford. (R&L helped Sharps to build his first plant) Model 1841 Mississippi Rifle made about 1848. Barrels are marked US over JH or JCB, JAG, JCB, LBC, Gw or SK over P, two cartouches opposite lock.

2nd Model P 53 Enfields, 16'000 of the 25'000 were made but not all of them shipped to England. Agents of Alabama, Georgia and Virginia bought more than 1'000 of them in New York. The 1st Georgia Infantry at Savannah was equipped with these guns.

.28 caliber percussion, five shot double action Pepperbox, 3 1/2" and 4 1/2" fluted barrels, ring trigger

.31 caliber percussion, five shot double action Pepperbox, 3 1/2" and 4 1/2" fluted or ribbed barrels, ring trigger

.31 cal. pepperbox

Pepperbox left side Pepperbox right side

About 7'000 of these .28 or .31 caliber pepperboxes were manufactured from 1851 to 1854, developed by Richard Lawrence and Daniel Baird Wesson

.54 caliber Jennings Magazine Rifle (most were made in single shot) with pill lock ignition production was under 2'000 until 1852

In 1851, Sharps breechloader Model 1849 was being made in Windsor, Vermont by the firm of Robbins & Lawrence. Rifle production continued in Vermont while a new Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company was formed in Hartford, Connecticut in 1855. It is estimated that only 12 to 15 were made.

.52 caliber model 1853, 21 1/2" round barrel, 200 of these were purchased by the Kansas Aid Society and shipped to the Abolitionists in Kansas in 1855 and 1856. 80 of them were send to John Brown and recovered when John Brown was captured at Harper's Ferry.