Colt Automatic Pistol Adverts
Above are a selection of contemporary Colt adverts for each of their major automatic pistols during the first 2 decades of the 20th century, all designed by John Browning. First is the Colt M1902, the first of Colt’s semi automatic pistols, developed from the M1900 designed for the US Army. The M1902 was produced into the 1920s in several variants but the ‘sporting’ pistol (for the civilian market) shown in the advert was only made until 1908. The advert focuses on the pistols rapid fire capability declaring the “arm can be discharged at a rate of 5 rounds a second”, emptying the M1902’s 7-round magazine in 2 seconds. The uses the rule of three, drawing attention to the pistols ‘high velocity - accuracy - rapidity’, and also highlighting Browning’s name.
The pistol in the second advert is the Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless, which was produced between 1903 and 1945. The advert featured in the November 1913 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, which at the time was a literary magazine - it was not until the 1960s that it became a women’s magazine. Cosmopolitan was extremely popular by 1914 and had over 1,000,000 readers making it an obvious choice for advertising in just before Christmas.
The final advert capitalises on Colt’s government contract for the new M1911, judging from the illustration the advert probably dates to around 1913 to 1918 and the US’ involvement in Mexico. The advert plays on exacting tests that the US army put the Colt through proving it “is the best pistol for home protection.” For once an advert doesn’t exaggerate the truth to sell its product - in 1910 during one of the last US Army tests of the Colt pistol over 5,000 rounds were fired through one pistol without stoppages.
For more classic Colt adverts click here
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