This article is about the former US Government-backed day Springfield Armory. For the current company see: Springfield Armory, Inc..
The Springfield Armory was a major firearms manufacturer that was the main center for firearms manufacture from 1777 until its closure in 1968.
Founded in 1777 after being approved of construction by President George Washington after Henry Knox, Washington's artillery chief, scouted the site, the area was chosen as it had some geographical advantages, such as being protected from attack by seafaring enemy naval vessels as the Connecticut River, which it was situated on, was too steep for vessels to ascend. During the American Revolutionary War, the Springfield Armory was the main center of firearms manufacture, and stored muskets, cannons and other weaponry; patriots later built barracks, storehouses, shops and even a magazine. After said war, the Armory functioned as a major ammunitions and weapons arsenal. The arsenal later expanded to a second area south-west of Springfield when manufacturing became even more important.
In 1786 and 1787, the Shays' Rebellion took place, where soldiers under Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary War veteran, marched into the Armory, hoping to seize their weapons and the armory to force a change of government in the Massachusetts area; the rebels soon fled after state militia fired grape shot and the rebels were later tried for treason.
Production in the armory started in 1795, with the armory containing ordnance, howitzers, traveling carriages and the like among other things, and in 1795, produced the nation's first musket. The city of Springfield later became a national center of invention and development, all fueled by the Springfield Armory. The Armory was also largely involved with the growth of the Industrial Revolution, which mostly grew out of the Armory's fascination with interchangeable parts and things of the like, based on the theory that "it is easier to replace parts than make repairs on the field". Early in the American Civil War, the Springfield Armory was briefly the only center for firearms manufacture due to the Harpers Ferry Armory being destroyed, until in 1862, when the Rock Island Arsenal was established. The company was also known for the production of the M1903 Springfield, which was, back in 1900, an experimental magazine-fed rifle which was felt to be an improvement over the Krag-Jørgensen which was used by the US Army at that time.
In 1919, John Garand, then 31, came to the Springfield Armory to develop a self-loading rifle, which after various iterations and modifications, became the famed and storied M1 Garand, which was later adopted as the US service rifle from 1936 – 1963. During its service, the M1 Garand has earned lots of praise because of its durability and accuracy in battle.
In 1968, then-US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced the closure of the Springfield Armory, with the outer portions of the armory being sold off, including the "Water Shops" portion of the armory which was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite the closure of the arsenal, the arsenal was not demolished; it was preserved and then property of the Armory turned over to the state. The Springfield Armory Museum now resides inside the main armory building, with the entire armory, as it is today, now being known as the Springfield Armory Historic Site.
The Springfield Armory was the main center of firearms manufacture in the United States from 1777 until its closure in 1968. Known products include the Model 1795 Musket, the United States' first new musket, the M1 Garand, the US Army's standard service rifle during WWII, and the M14 rifle, the last firearm the Armory would work on before its closure.
- A company of the same name was founded in 1974 and is based in Geneseo, Illinois; other than the name, the company is completely unrelated to the original armory.