RICHARD J. GATLING - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 08/06/1885 - HFSID 37021
Sale Price $1,870.00
RICHARD J. GATLING
The inventor writes Gatling Co. Secretary/Treasurer Edgar Welles about a meeting with Frederick W. Prince, a Civil War artillery expert who was joining the Company.
Autograph Letter signed: "R.J. Gatling," 2p, 5½x8½, front and verso. Larkin House, Watch Hill, R.I.,1885 August 6.To Edgar Welles, eldest son of Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. In full: "I have recd your favor of the 5th and regret your engagements will prevent your being here this week. Col. Prince leaves tonight for New York. I would liked for you to have met him & he would have liked to have made your acquaintance. I desire that you write me on the receipt of this, and let me know how long you will be in Hartford and what are to be your movements for the coming weeks. I am not feeling very well & my wife wants me to remain here for the present. I will however, go to Hartford and see you or if you can come to this place next week I will try and go to New York with you if thought best. Col Prince expects to remain in NY for 4 or 5 days and we both can see him there if advisable, the coming weeks. Will talk over the Springfield matters when I see you. It might be well for you to write Mr Harmer as he is no doubt expecting to hear from the company. Tell Ingraham to forward my letters here until further notice." American inventor Richard J. Gatling (1818-1903) was best known for inventing the rapid-fire Gatling gun, the first practical machine gun. By the 1850s, Gatling had become wealthy from agricultural inventions such as machines for sowing rice and wheat. He patented the Gatling gun in 1862, the year The Gatling Gun Company was founded in Indianapolis. Only a very few Gatling guns were purchased for Civil War use, but the rapid fire weapon is estimated to have killed over 250,000 soldiers in later wars. After his second patent for improvements of the gun in 1865, he contracted its manufacture to the Colt Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. in Hartford, Ct. The Springfield mentioned in this letter was most probably Gatling's facility which manufactured agricultural implements in Springfield, Ohio. Edgar Welles was Secretary and Treasurer of the Gatling Company. Frederick W. Prince, a Civil War artillerist, joined the Company in 1885, proving helpful in obtaining orders for the gun and writing a book, Machine Guns (1889). Gatling's inventions did not end with the gun. He made further improvements in toilets, bicycles and steam cleaning equipment. His company was fully absorbed by Colt Firearms in 1897. A smudge by Gatling on each page: He made a mistake, smudged the incorrect letter before it dried then wrote the correct letter on the lightened smudge. Otherwise in fine condition.
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