I’m a forty-something IT professional and historian living in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For almost twenty years I’ve owned this domain and have hosted a variety of things on it including a tribute to Canadian musician Stompin’ Tom Connors, a vintage camera museum, a personal blog, and other sundries. I have enjoyed letting this site metamorphosize over the years, and I figured it might be fun to blog about the research topic that has consumed me for the past few years.
I’m finishing a history degree at North Carolina State University where I chose to write my thesis on the evolution of the American firearms industry in the late 1850’s and early 1860’s. My focus has been on Smith & Wesson and its seminal Model 1 revolver, but my research has expanded into the worlds of Samuel Colt, Simeon North, Robert Johnson (no, not this Robert Johnson, although I respect them both as masters of their respective trades), Rollin White, and a dizzying array of other gunmakers, engineers, craftsmen, lawyers, politicians, and crooks.
I’m particularly interested in how Smith & Wesson’s rise fits into Alfred Chandler’s theories about management and the rise of the modern enterprise, and how this intersects with the rapid advances in metalworking and machine tools over the first half of the 19th century. I also examine a parallel shift in how patents were being increasingly leveraged by large enterprises to maintain monopolies.
To my knowledge, my research is the first to tackle private gun manufacturing from this angle.
I have presented my research at the 2017 North Carolina State University History Graduate Student Association annual conference, the 2016 annual convention of the Smith & Wesson Collector’s Association in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the 2015 State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium in High Point, North Carolina; the Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh, North Carolina; and several other smaller venues.
I’ve been an amateur genealogist for over 30 years and maintain an online family tree. I’m also an inveterate collector and enjoy antique books, W. R. Case knives, empire furniture (I’m a huge fan of Thomas Day), guitars (especially those made by Jean Larrivée in Vancouver), and other old things that tickle my fancy. I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 2014 while still a junior at NCSU. I’ve been a Toastmaster since 2006. And my call sign is KM4ZXH.
The photo in the masthead of this blog is a Connecticut Arms Hammond Bulldog, circa 1866.
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