By the time weapons industrialist Oliver Winchester was born, the Lewis and Clark Expedition sent to the Pacific by Thomas Jefferson had only recently returned with their report on the first overland continental journey. Outside of a small group of mountain men trapping and trading fur for European fashion magnates, few white settlers had found their way across the Great Plains. The firearms of the Revolution demonstrated little difference between a soldier’s flintlock musket and a hunting weapon taken from the mantle.Gunsmiths in early 19th century America were helped along by noted artisans from Germany, Switzerland, and other European powers, but despite advances made in the European and American musket, the requirement of an exterior spark and percussion to ignite powder for a single-shot discharge remained the paradigm. Similarly, the era was unable to move past the cumbersome weapon that required at least half a minute to reload. The military compensation for such an ungainly and vulnerable process was the alternation of troop lines, in which one fired while the other reloaded from behind. Effective as that was in laying down constant fire and simultaneous reloading, the force as a whole was disabled by a large fraction, and the reloading soldiers were vulnerable to saber attacks on horseback as wellFrom the bayonet of 1620 to the emergence of repeating firearms in the American Civil War, sometimes referred to as the “first truly modern war”, military procedures remained largely the same, based on entrenched European customs. Napoleonic tactics were taught as mainstream at the military academies, and the musket remained in a stagnant state of evolution, but even the most tradition-bound army command was forced to give way at some point to a generation of scientist-inventors, civilian manufacturing centers, and entrepreneurs born during the Industrial Revolution. The old guard dug in its heels, and even well past the Civil War, new technologies 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Clem. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/162922/bk_acx0_162922_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.