James Puckle

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James Puckle

James Puckle, 1713.jpg

Line engraving by George Vertue after John Closterman, published in 1713
BornJames Puckle
1677
Norwich, England
Died 1724
London, England
Occupation Inventor, gunsmith
Flier for James Puckle's 1718 patent revolving firearm, shows various cylinders for use with round and square bullets. Puckle gun advertisement.jpg
Flier for James Puckle's 1718 patent revolving firearm, shows various cylinders for use with round and square bullets.
Replica Puckle gun from Buckler's Hard Maritime Museum Puckle gun Photo.jpg
Replica Puckle gun from Buckler's Hard Maritime Museum

James Puckle (1667–1724) was an English inventor, lawyer and writer from London chiefly remembered for his invention of the Defence Gun, better known as the Puckle gun , a multi-shot gun mounted on a stand capable of (depending on which version) firing up to nine rounds per minute. The Puckle gun is one of the first weapons referred to as a machine gun (though its operation does not match the modern definition of the term) and resembles a large revolver.

Puckle gun

The Puckle gun was a primitive crew-served, manually-operated flintlock revolver patented in 1718 by James Puckle (1667–1724) a British inventor, lawyer and writer. It was one of the earliest weapons to be referred to as a "machine gun", being called such in a 1722 shipping manifest, though its operation does not match the modern use of the term. It was never used during any combat operation or war. Production was highly limited and may have been as few as two guns.

Gun weapon designed to discharge projectiles or other material

A gun is a ranged weapon typically designed to pneumatically discharge projectiles that are solid but can also be liquid or even charged particles and may be free-flying or tethered.

Machine gun fully automatic mounted or portable firearm

A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm designed to fire rifle cartridges in rapid succession from an ammunition belt or magazine for the purpose of suppressive fire. Not all fully automatic firearms are machine guns. Submachine guns, rifles, assault rifles, battle rifles, shotguns, pistols or cannons may be capable of fully automatic fire, but are not designed for sustained fire. As a class of military rapid-fire guns, machine guns are fully automatic weapons designed to be used as support weapons and generally used when attached to a mount- or fired from the ground on a bipod or tripod. Many machine guns also use belt feeding and open bolt operation, features not normally found on rifles.

Contents

Puckle's best-known literary work (reprinted as recently as 1900) was The Club, a moral dialogue between a father and son.

Puckle gun

In 1718, Puckle patented his new invention, the Defence Gun — a tripod-mounted, single-barreled flintlock weapon fitted with a multishot revolving cylinder, designed for shipboard use to prevent boarding. The barrel was 3 feet (0.91 m) long with a bore of 1.25 inches (32 mm) and a pre-loaded cylinder which held 6-11 charges and could fire 63 shots in seven minutes—this at a time when the standard soldier's musket could at best be loaded and fired five times per minute. [1]

Flintlock firearm using a flintlock mechanism

Flintlock is a general term for any firearm that uses a flint striking ignition mechanism. The term may also apply to a particular form of the mechanism itself, also known as the true flintlock, that was introduced in the early 17th century, and rapidly replaced earlier firearm-ignition technologies, such as the matchlock, the wheellock, and the earlier flintlock mechanisms.

Puckle demonstrated two versions of the basic design: one, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second variant, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets which were considered to be more damaging and would, according to its patent, convince the Turks of the "benefits of Christian civilization." [2]

The Puckle Gun drew few investors and never achieved mass production or sales to the British armed forces. One leaflet of the period sarcastically observed, following the business venture's failure, that the gun has "only wounded those who hold shares therein."

According to the Patent Office of the United Kingdom, "In the reign of Queen Anne, the law officers of the Crown established as a condition of patent that the inventor must in writing describe the invention and the manner in which it works." James Puckle's 1718 patent, number 418, was one of the first to provide such a description.

Anne, Queen of Great Britain Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–07); queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14)

Anne was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1707. On 1 May 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1714.

John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu, Master-General of the Ordnance (1740-9), purchased at least two for an ill-fated expedition in 1722 to capture St Lucia and St Vincent. One remains on display at Boughton House and another at Beaulieu Palace (both former Montagu homes).

John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu 18th-century British duke

John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu,, styled Viscount Monthermer until 1705 and Marquess of Monthermer between 1705 and 1709, was a British peer.

The Master-General of the Ordnance (MGO) was a very senior British military position from 1415 to 2013 with some changes to the name, usually held by a serving general. The Master-General of the Ordnance was responsible for all British artillery, engineers, fortifications, military supplies, transport, field hospitals and much else, and was not subordinate to the commander-in chief of the British military. In March 2013 the holder was titled as "Director Land Capability and Transformation", but still sat on the Army Board as Master-General of the Ordnance; in September 2013 the post was eliminated.

Boughton House Grade I listed historic house museum in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

Boughton House is a country house about 3 miles (4.8 km) north-east of Kettering off the A4300 road near Geddington in Northamptonshire, England. Part of an estate of 11,000 acres, it is one of the seats of the Duke of Buccleuch, and famed for its beauty, its collections, and the fact it has survived virtually unchanged since the 17th century. While possessing a medieval core, its exterior evokes an opulent French chateau, causing it to be termed The English Versailles.

There is a replica of a Puckle Gun at Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum in Hampshire.

Hampshire County of England

Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England. The county town is the city of Winchester. Its two largest cities, Southampton and Portsmouth, are administered separately as unitary authorities; the rest of the county is governed by Hampshire County Council.

Blackmore's British Military Firearms 1650–1850 lists "Puckle’s brass gun in the Tower of London" as illustration 77: This appears to have been one of the Montagu guns on loan to the Tower at the time.

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Gatling gun 1860s multi-barrel rapid-fire gun of Richard Gatling

The Gatling gun is one of the best-known early rapid-fire spring loaded, hand cranked weapons, and a forerunner of the modern machine gun and rotary cannon. Invented by Richard Gatling, it saw occasional use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat. It was later used in numerous military conflicts, including the Boshin War, the Anglo-Zulu War, and the assault on San Juan Hill during the Spanish–American War. It was also used by the Pennsylvania militia in episodes of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, specifically in Pittsburgh.

Rifle firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder

A rifle is a portable, long-barrelled firearm designed for long-range precision shooting, to be held with both hands and braced against the shoulder for stability during firing, and with a barrel that has a helical pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the bore walls. The term was originally rifled gun, with the word "rifle" referring to the machining process of creating grooving with cutting tools, and is now used for any long handheld device designed for aimed discharge activated by a trigger, such as air rifles and the personnel halting and stimulation response rifle. Rifles are used in warfare, law enforcement, hunting and shooting sports.

Revolver handgun that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel

A revolver is a repeating handgun that has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. The revolver allows the user to fire multiple rounds without reloading after every shot, unlike older single shot firearms. After a round is fired the hammer is cocked and the next chamber in the cylinder is aligned with the barrel by the shooter either manually pulling the hammer back or by rearward movement of the trigger.

Cartridge (firearms) type of ammunition packaging a bullet or shot, a propellant substance, and a primer within a metallic, paper, or plastic case

A cartridge is a type of pre-assembled firearm ammunition packaging a projectile, a propellant substance and an ignition device (primer) within a metallic, paper or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the barrel chamber of a breechloading gun, for the practical purpose of convenient transportation and handling during shooting. Although in popular usage the term "bullet" is often used to refer to a complete cartridge, it is correctly used only to refer to the projectile.

Pepper-box revolver

The pepper-box revolver or simply pepperbox is a multiple-barrel repeating firearm that has three or more barrels which revolve around a central axis. It mostly appears in the form of a multi-shot handheld firearm. Pepperboxes exist in all ammunition systems: matchlock, wheellock, flintlock, caplock, pinfire, rimfire and centerfire. While pepperboxes are usually handguns, a few rifle-sized guns were made: Samuel Colt owned a revolving 3-barrel matchlock musket from India, and an 8-barrelled pepperbox shotgun was designed; but never went into production.

A repeating rifle, or repeater for short, is a single-barrel rifle capable of repeated discharges following a single ammunition reload, typically by having multiple cartridges stored in a magazine and then fed into the chamber by the bolt via either a manual or automatic mechanism, while the act of chambering the rifle typically also recocks the action for the following shot. In common usage, the term "repeating rifle" most often refers specifically to manually-operated weapons, as opposed to self-loading rifles, which use the recoil and blowback of the previous shot to cycle the action and load the next round, even though all self-loading firearms are technically a subcategory of repeating firearms.

Gun barrel firearm component which guides the projectile during acceleration

A gun barrel is a crucial part of gun-type ranged weapons such as small firearms, artillery pieces and air guns. It is the straight shooting tube, usually made of rigid high-strength metal, through which a contained rapid expansion of high-pressure gas(es) is introduced behind a projectile in order to propel it out of the front end (muzzle) at a high velocity. The hollow interior of the barrel is called the bore. The measurement of the diameter of the bore is called the caliber. Caliber is usually measured in inches or millimetres.

Magazine (firearms) ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm

A magazine is an ammunition storage and feeding device within or attached to a repeating firearm. Magazines can be removable (detachable) or integral (internal/fixed) to the firearm. The magazine functions by moving the cartridges stored within it into a position where they may be loaded into the barrel chamber by the action of the firearm. The detachable magazine is often colloquially referred to as a clip, although this is technically inaccurate.

Revolver cannon autocannon, commonly used as an aircraft gun, that use a cylinder with multiple chambers (like a revolver handgun) to speed up the loading-firing-ejection cycle

A revolver cannon is a type of autocannon, commonly used as an aircraft gun. It uses a cylinder with multiple chambers, like those of a revolver handgun, to speed up the loading-firing-ejection cycle. Some examples are also power-driven, to further speed the loading process. Unlike a rotary cannon, a revolver cannon has only a single barrel, thus its spun weight is lower. Automatic revolver cannon have been produced by many different manufacturers.

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W. W. Greener

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Handgun short-barreled firearm designed to be fired with only one hand

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Ripley machine gun

The Ripley Machine Gun was a volley gun, an early precursor of the machine gun, which was patented in 1861 by Ezra Ripley. Although it is likely that it was never actually produced, it demonstrated a number of basic concepts that were employed in the design of the Gatling Gun that was patented the following year.

Cylinder (firearms) rotating cylindrical part of a revolver

In firearms, the cylinder is the cylindrical, rotating part of a revolver containing multiple chambers. The cylinder revolves around a central axis in the revolver to bring each individual chamber into alignment with the barrel for firing. Each time the gun is cocked, the cylinder indexes by one chamber.

Metal Storm

Metal Storm Limited was a research and development company based in Brisbane, Australia that specialized in electronically initiated superposed load weapons technology and owned the proprietary rights to the electronic ballistics technology invented by J. Mike O'Dwyer. The Metal Storm name applied to both the company and technology. The company had been placed into voluntary administration by 2012.

Confederate Revolving Cannon revolving

The Confederate Revolving Cannon was a weapon developed and used during the U.S. Civil War. The weapon had a design similar to that of a revolver pistol, scaled up to the size of a cannon.

The Caldwell machine gun is a machine gun of Australian origin.

References

  1. Willbanks, James H (2004). Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 154. ISBN   1-85109-480-6.
  2. The Machine Gun 1718 - 1914, h2g2.