Springfield Armory (1777-1968) - A patriot arsenal and armory established in 1777 during the Revolutionary War on a site selected by General Henry Knox in present day Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. Closed in 1968. Also known as Springfield Arsenal and as The Arsenal at Springfield.
Established in 1777 during the Revolutionary War. The site was selected by General Henry Knox at the request of General George Washington. It became a major ammunition and weapons arsenal by the 1780s.
In 1786 Daniel Shays and 300 insurgents captured the Springfield courthouse and attempted to capture the Springfield Armory during Shays Rebellion. The attack took place on 26 Jan 1787 with the arsenal being defended by a militia force of about 1200. The defenders first fired warning shots and then fired cannons loaded with grapeshot into attackers. Shays men were driven back and the armory was saved. The insurrection was put down later in 1787.
The armory moved from just the storage of weapons and ammunition to the manufacturer of both. In the early 1800s, they pioneered mass production techniques for firearms including the wooden stocks. By 1843 it was reported that the Springfield Armory had some 1,000,000 finished guns stacked vertically in open racks.
With the loss of the Harpers Ferry Arsenal and Armory and the other southern arsenals at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War, the Springfield Armory was the only manufacturer of arms until the federal armory system was rebuilt.
The production of modern rifles at Springfield Armory in the 1900s included the M1903 Springfield, M1917 Enfield, the M1 Garand and finally the M14 rifle. These rifles were all phased in during the 1900s and used during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Armory also developed other weapons including machine guns but did not manufacture many of them in-house.
In 1968 the closure of the armory was announced. Portions of the site were sold off but the core of the armory became the Springfield Armory National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service.
Part of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts.