Before there was the Smith & Wesson firearms manufacturer, there was the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company formed in 1855 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson. Volcanic made an improved version of the Rocket Ball ammunition developed by Walter Hunt and a gun to fire it with called the Volcanic Pistol that incorporated the lever-action design. It was offered in .31 and .41 calibers.
The Volcanic Repeating Pistol (and rifle) were the predecessor to the Winchester repeating rifle.
The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company obtained all rights for the Volcanic designs, both pistol and rifle, as well as the ammunition. In 1855, new investors were added, which included Oliver Winchester. Fewer than 2,000 of the two models were made until 1852, when financial ailments caused the end of production. Wesson remained as plant manager until rejoining Smith to found the Smith & Wesson Revolver Company. It was Winchester who forced the end of Volcanic Arms company in late 1856. moving the plant to New Haven, Connecticut, reorganized as the New Haven Arms Company in April of 1857. In 1866, it was reorganized again as Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
While working at the Volcanic Arms Company, B.Tyler Henry, the plant superintendent, began to experiment with the new rimfire ammunition, modifying the Volcanic lever action design. The result was the Henry rifle, which Henry would later start his own company selling them.
The following video is presented by the National Firearms Museum curator: