Colt first made his living as a nitrous oxide salesman somewhere in the 1830s. He later went to England as E.H. Collier did after patenting his revolving flintlock. He returned, patented his idea for the revolver, and promoted it in France. He would then later create and manufacture his first gun, the Patterson, which featured revolving, breach loading, and a folding trigger. The Patterson was the first practical revolver. He would later use the ideas of the Patterson to create the Colt Peacemaker - a gun which was quite popular in the wild west.
Colt's first company - the Patent Arms Company - failed. However, an order of 1000 revolvers by the US government for the Mexican-America war allowed him to reestablish his company as the Colt Manufacturing Company.