RICHARD J. GATLING - AUTOGRAPH 06/24/1887 - HFSID 44296
Sale Price $1,020.00
RICHARD GATLING. Signature: "R.J. Gatling/Hartford, Conn./June 24th. 1887.", 3½x2¼ card. Dr. Richard J. Gatling (1818-1903) had moved to Hartford in 1870 to join the Colt Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company to make improvements on the machine gun he had invented. The former native of North Carolina, who had lived in St. Louis as a young man, had earlier improved and developed agricultural equipment, such as a cotton sower. A bout with smallpox in 1845 prompted Gatling to study medicine in order to care for himself and his family; although he graduated, he never practiced medicine professionally. At the outbreak of the Civil War (1861-1865), the 20-year Missouri resident turned to weaponry and invented the rapid-fire machine gun, which he patented in 1862. Gatling demonstrated the efficient gun to Union Army officials, who were skeptical of a Southerner, born on a plantation, offering them such equipment. Union General Benjamin Butler saw its merits and personally purchased 12 guns at $1,000 each, which he put to use against the Confederates at Petersburg, Virginia. In 1866, the Army finally adopted the revolutionizing war-machine. The Gatling 10-barrel dropped cartridges from a 240-round top-mounted magazine into revolving barrels that fired and then ejected the shells as they turned, making it possible to load additional cartridges. The hand-operated crank allowed for firing up to 1,000 RPM at distances up to 2,000 yards. Although Gatling invented and improved upon his machine gun, he (rightfully) feared that more terrible weapons would eventually be created. Fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 28x18.
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