Springfield Armory, Springfield, Massachusetts
The Springfield Armory played an important role in U.S. weaponry production and storage for nearly two centuries. In 1777, the Continental Congress established an arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts, for manufacturing gun carriages and cartridges. After the American Revolution (1775-1783), during Shays' Rebellion (1786-1787), the heavy artillery stored at the arsenal kept a small army of Massachusetts men from capturing it. In 1794, the federal government under President George Washington established a national armory in Springfield so the new nation could manufacture its own weapons instead of depending on foreign weapons. The military's desire for uniform weapons with interchangeable parts stimulated the development of many modern industrial practices, such as mass production and the assembly line. The Springfield Armory thus played an important role in the Industrial Revolution of the early 19th century. During the Civil War, after the armory at Harper's Ferry in Virginia was destroyed, Springfield was the only northern armory in operation and the Springfield rifled musket became the main weapon of Union infantrymen. In the 20th century, the Armory developed and manufactured the M1 rifle used during World War II, the ancestor of the M21 in use by the military today. The United States government closed the Springfield Armory in 1968, but the Armory continues to operate as a national historic site.