A breakthrough so important that it alters the course of an industry is rare indeed. But it happened in 1871, when Gilbert H. Harrington invented the top-breaking, shell-ejecting revolver. For the first time, handgunners had a firearm that was not only durable and accurate, but easy to load and unload as well.
To produce his invention, Harrington teamed up with William A. Richardson. The two men gave their names to a firm that would soon become synonymous with high-quality, technically superior revolvers and shotguns. Harrington & Richardson's reputation for excellence became established so firmly, so quickly, that in 1880 the firm was named sole North American licensee for England's Anson & Deely double-barrel hammerless shotgun.
In its day, the Anson & Deely was considered to be the finest shotgun available anywhere, at any price-and only the most quality-conscious manufacturer could be entrusted with its creation.
H&R's success led it to break ground for a state-of-the-art factory in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1893. Just a few years passed before the factory had to be expanded. It was here that H&R developed a broad line of firearms, including their innovative-and hugely successful-single-barrel shotgun, which featured automatic shell ejection.
In 1932, an H&R pistol was used to set a new U.S. pistol record, and would go on to become the most famous firearm of its kind-the U.S.R.A. single-shot target pistol. This pistol was so accurate that it was adopted by the U.S. Army Pistol Team.
In wartime, H&R answered the call to duty. During World War I, H&R was an important producer of shoulder-type flare guns. In World War II, the company was a major producer of military firearms, earning many commendations from the U.S. armed forces. It produced the U.S. M1 Garand rifle, was the largest single manufacturer of the M-14, and one of the major producers of the M-16.
In November of 2000, the Marlin Firearms Company purchased the assets of H&R 1871, Inc. Marketing its products under the brand names of Harrington & Richardson® and New England Firearms®, H&R 1871, LLC is currently the largest manufacturer of single shot shotguns and rifles in the world.