WINCHESTER! That's why.
Oliver Winchester had been competing with John Marlin's products for years. Marlin would come out with stronger action rifles while Winchester was still in toggle-link mode and Winchester would outsell Marlin.
Winchester himself had been a shirt manufacturer and Lt. Governor of the State of Connecticut prior to making rifles. He really didn't know much about making rifles, and depended on Benjamin Tyler Henry and Nelson King to improve an earlier design from Smith & Wesson and Volcanic, and later would improve his products with John M. Browning designs, of which the 1894 was one.
But one thing Mr. Winchester was golly gee whiz GOOD at was :
He was very very good at it, and very aggressive. This is why it was the Winchester that WON THE WEST, not Marlin, not the Kennedy repeater, the 1883 Colt Burgess, or the Spencer repeater.
John Marlin sat around pulling out his hair when he thought about Winchester.
Having what is supposedly the best .... or better .... design is not necessarily what makes the winner. I have a Uberti repro of the 1883 Colt Burgess carbine, designed by Andrew Burgess and marketed by Colt. It was supposed to compete with the Winchester 1873 carbine/rifle.
The Burgess has a smaller, more efficient receiver, and is a bit lighter and very pointable. In a lot of ways superior to the Win. 1873 (of which I also own a Uberti saddle ring carbine repro), but the Winchester won out, bigtime; very few of the Burgess lever guns were made, and why is a story in itself, but it goes to the fact that Winchester's ' prowess in marketing was well known and much feared in the marketplace of the time.