15. American Precision Museum, Windsor VT ±30 guns, 24 on display (80%). Established in 1966

American Precision Museum Exterior
American Precision Museum Case


The American Precision Museum is housed in the 1846 building that was home to the famed Robbins & Lawrence firearm and machine tool makers. It was the crucible in which pioneering firearm inventors such as Tyler Henry, Daniel Wesson and Horace Smith cut their teeth producing pepperbox pistols and the experimental Jennings rifle. Robbins & Lawrence was contracted to produce the Springfield Model 1841 ‘Mississippi’ rifle and the British Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle. In 1861 it was sold on to Lamson, Goodnow & Yale, who produced the Springfield Model 1861 Special rifle, the Windsor Sharps, the radical Ball lever-action repeater and Palmer bolt-action rimfire carbines. Col. Berdan worked on his rifle and famous Berdan primer at L.G.&Y. The greater contribution of the firms was building machine tools for the major gun makers in Britain and America.

The museum has an unequalled collection of machine tools of all ages. Its focus is educating visitors to appreciate the history and mechanics of machine tools and how they contributed to consumerism.

The collection of guns in the American Precision Museum is a fairly reliable inventory of firearms made in the factory, but the immensely complicated story of the succession of businesses and their contracted products, set in a turbulent historical period, has been very difficult to curate. Although the first room is dedicated to firearms, there is little continuity between displays and, adding to the puzzlement, one case holds some firearms that are not seemingly related the factory. Wall texts use irregular firearm names and terminology. Missing is a Jennings repeating rifle (albeit very rare) and the Hunt 1848 ‘Rocket Ball’ it fired.

Brown, C., Arming the Union: Gunmakers in Windsor, Vermont. Windsor, (2012)
Hubbbard, G., Windsor Industrial History, manuscript, 2 volumes, (1922)
Smithurst, P.G., The Guns and Gun-making Machinery of Robbins and Lawrence, Windsor, (2007)
(Exhibits open late May through October)