"Colonel Colt was on his feet a good five seconds before the carriage had come to a halt"

 Samuel Colt (1814-1862) was an American inventor and businessman, best known for his involvement in the manufacture of firearms. He is associated in particular with the development of revolvers.

Colt first travelled to England in 1835 in order to seek a patent for his newly-designed revolver; he returned in 1853, when this novel is set, to open a gun factory in London.

By the time Colt died in Hartford, Connecticut, aged 47, his fortune was estimated to be worth $15,000,000.