What does John Marlin mean for the History of American Firearms?

John Mahlon Marlin is one of the most famous names in the history of American firearms inventing and manufacturing. His name is synonymous with Marlin Firearms, a gun manufacturer that is still relevant nearly 200 years after he was born. Marline was born in Boston Neck, Connecticut in 1836, and he died in July of 1901. He will forever be remembered for his ingenuity and countless contributions to firearms design and innovation.


Few names in American gun design command as much respect as that of John Marlin, and it is not so difficult to see why this is the case when you take a look at some of his most important contributions. Many of them have served as the basis for the designs of countless firearms that followed. Marlin Firearms was acquired by Remington in 2007 but remained a force in American firearms manufacturing for as long as it did because the company was responsible for moving the industry forward in the past two centuries with advanced designs that improved both form and function on many models of guns. Here is a short list of some of the most important:

  • - Marlin Model 1881 (One of the first large caliber repeating rifles with lever action)
  • - Marlin Model 20
  • - Marlin Model 27
  • - Marlin 1881
  • - Marlin 1893
  • - Marlin 1895
  • - Marlin Model XT-22 (There are over 15 varieties of this rifle alone!)
  • - Marlin Model 1897
  • - Marlin Model 444
  • - Marlin Model 25M
  • - Marlin Model 60
  • - Marlin Model 336- A worldwide favorite for hunting and sport
  • - Marlin Model Golden 39A- The longest continuously manufactured lever-action repeating rifle ever
  • - Marlin Model 7000
  • - Marlin Model 2000
  • - Marlin Model MR7


John Marlin served as an apprentice in his early years at a tool and die making shop. During the period of the Civil War, Marlin took employment at the Colt plant in Hartford, Connecticut and by the time 1870 rolled around, he was ready to open his own store on State Street in New Haven. This would be the beginning of his full-time career in manufacturing his own innovative designs of revolvers and derringers. Part of his genius was his ability to attract top-tier talent, including engineers, designers and inventors, who helped develop industry breakthroughs that led to such innovations as the Marlin Model 1891 and the Marlin Model 1893. Many of the same models and designs that were incorporated into early Marlin firearms all the way back then, are still in manufacture today.

Marlin Firearms initially only produced single-shot weapons, with the company focusing its efforts on the manufacture of lever-action repeating rifles in 1881. From that point, the company expanded out into the design and manufacture of many different models. The impact of John Marlin and Marlin Firearms is most certainly felt throughout the world of gun design and manufacture to this day. His legacy is not one that will soon be forgotten by any appreciators of firearms history.

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