Silver mounted Moroccan snaphaunce musket, 19th century.
Click for larger image.
Wonders of Anglo-Saxon Science,
The Dark Ages were not always as dark as we think they were. Many great thinkers and philosophers who lived during the Dark Ages made some very brilliant scientific discoveries about the natural world that amaze us even today. But then again…
From Horrible Histories
How to Treat a Stroke in the 17th century —- The Treatment of King Charles II of England.
On February 2nd, 1685 King Charles II of England suffered a fit of apoplexy (had a stroke) while being shaved by his barber. He fell into convulsions, at which point the court physician was called immediately. The court physician quickly performed the emergency treatment for a man who had just suffered a stroke. He took out a penknife and bled out 16 ounces of blood from King Charles to “balance his humors”. After the bleeding he was given an enema, which was re-administered 2 hours later. When the King came to he was weak and could not speak. Upon word of his stroke, 14 of the finest physicians in London arrived to treat and cure the kings illness. Each doctor had his own theory of medicine and his own special treatment for stroke. The following treatments of King Charles II are well recorded, and closely details the methods and methodology of 17th century medicine.
On February 6th, 1685 King Charles II of England died of the age of 54.
The Springfield Model 1855 rifled musket,
The Springfield Model 1855 was one of the most unusual muskets produced for the US Army. It was also a great leap in technology which ushered the army from an age of Napoleonic Warfare into the age of modern warfare. The Model 1855 boasted several advances that were unlike all other muskets produced before it. First and foremost the M1855 had a rifled barrel and used the new and deadly conical shaped minie ball. Before the M1855 all muskets produced for the military were smoothbore, which mean’t they lacked the rifling of a rifle. This was done because muskets at the time fired a simple round ball. It took a lot more time to load a rifle because the user had to cram the ball against the rifling, whereas with a smoothbore the user only had to drop a slightly under-caliber ball down the barrel. Of course, this cost the smoothbore musket accuracy when compared to a rifle. The M1855 used what was called a minie ball. The minie ball was conical shaped and had a hollow rear end. Thus the user could simply drop it into the barrel like the older round ball. When the musket was fired, the minie ball would expand into the rifling, thus giving it accuracy. The minie ball was an incredible advance in firearms technology because it allowed muskets to have the accuracy of a rifle, but the speed of a smoothbore.
Another advance was that the M1855 used a much smaller caliber bullet than muskets before it. Older smoothbore muskets tended to use very large caliber bullets. British muskets, for example, were typically .71 caliber. American muskets where typically .69 caliber. The caliber of the 1855 was scaled down to .58 caliber because ordnance officials found that minie balls were more accurate at smaller calibers. .58 caliber would be the standard caliber used in the American Civil War.
The most unusual addition to the M1855 was the Maynard Tape System, invented by a dentist named Edward Maynard in 1845. Unlike other percussion firearms which used copper caps filled with mercury fulminate (percussion caps), the Maynard system used a paper tape filled with blots of mercury fulminate. A mechanism advanced the tape over the nipple of the musket when the hammer was cocked, and when the hammer struck it, a spark traveled down the nipple and ignited the main powder charge in the chamber. It worked much in the same way roll caps work in a toy cap gun today. The theory behind the Maynard System was that it sped up the loading process. Soldiers only had to worry about loading the rifle without placing a cap on the nipple. US Army Ordnance was skeptical of the new system, but Maynard found a friend in then Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who was very enthusiastic about Maynard’s system. As a result, the Maynard Tape System was included in the M1855 design. While a great idea in theory, in practice the Maynard System proved to be impractical in the real world. Often the Maynard mechanism malfunctioned or failed to advance the tap directly over the nipple. Tests also found that the Maynard tape itself tended to misfire. The tape was also very susceptible to moisture, humidity, dirt, and mud. Before the American Civil War, most M1855’s were converted to regular percussion cap.
The Springfield Model 1855 was later replaced with the Springfield Model 1861 and 1863. Around 60,000 were produced.
Exceptional quality custom engraved Marlin Ballard single shot breechloading target rifle, dated 1875.
Negligent Discharge, the Death of Clement Vallandigham, 1871.
In 1871 the attorney and former Ohio politician Clement Vallandigham was representing a man accused of murdering another man in a barfight. Vallandigham intended to prove that the man killed was not murdered by his client, but had accidentally shot himself in the scuffle. According to Vallandigham, the man had been knocked to the ground when he arose and attempted to draw a pistol on his client. While rising his pistol did not clear his vest, and the man cocked the hammer and accidentally shot himself in the chest.
To prove his theory Vallandigham spent an afternoon shooting his pistol at pieces of cloth at different distances to determine the pattern of the gunpowder residue. When he returned to his hotel room he placed the still loaded pistol next to an unloaded pistol he intended to use as a prop to demonstrate his point.
The next morning Vallandigham grabbed one of the two pistols and headed to court. Unbeknownst to him, he accidentally took the loaded pistol rather than the unloaded prop. Using the pistol he demonstrated to the court how the man had shot himself,
"Pretending he was Myers, Vallandigham took a pistol, then slowly pulled it out, cocking it as he drew it forth. When the muzzle cleared the pocket, he tried to place it in the exact position which he believed Myers’s weapon would have assumed at the moment when it was discharged. “There, that’s the way Myers held it,” Vallandigham said, “only he was getting up, not standing erect.” At that moment he pressed the trigger. There was a flash and the half-suppressed sound of a shot. “My God, I’ve shot myself!” Vallandigham exclaimed in shocked dismay as he reeled toward the wall and tried to hold himself up."
Vallandigham’s demonstration was very convincing to the jury and his client was acquitted. Unfortunately Vallandigham died the next morning.
March 9, 1945: Operation Meetinghouse begins.
The first bombings conducted by the United States over Japan came in the form of the Doolittle Raid, a 1942 air raid that succeeded in boosting American morale but caused very little long-lasting damage to targeted Japanese cities. Systematic strategic firebombing campaigns by Allied forces began in the last months of the war. The bombing campaign dubbed Operation Meetinghouse, which struck Tokyo on March 9-10 with incendiary bombs and firestorms, was of an entirely different nature and more closely resembled the 1945 bombing of Dresden.
On March 9, 1945, around 330 B-29s (the plane that carried out the majority of bombings in Japan, including the final atomic strikes over Hiroshima and Nagasaki) launched an attack on the Japanese Home Islands from U.S. outposts in the Mariana archipelago. The bombers carried out low-altitude raids over Tokyo using incendiary bombs, which were gruesomely effective against the tightly-packed and highly-flammable buildings that were common in Japan. The manner in which the bombings were carried out also made it impossible to avoid devastating civilian populations. There was no way to accurately target, with these napalm bombs, factories and industrial buildings, and avoid civilian areas. Fiery infernos burned on the ground, reaching 1,000 ° C, and wind swept burning debris and “clots of flame” into the air, setting everything surrounding alight. Civilians threw themselves into canals and any nearby water in attempts to escape the burning, but still stacks of incinerated bodies piled up in the streets. Curtis LeMay, who executed the strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific Theater, described the victims as having been “scorched and boiled and baked to death”. An estimated 80,000 - 100,000 (according to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police) died in that overnight air raid, during which some 4,500,000 pounds of incendiaries were dropped in three hours.
The stench of burning human flesh was reportedly so strong that the Americans bomber pilots flying thousands of feet overhead could smell it.
The firebombing of Tokyo, which was followed by similar bombings in Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe, was the deadliest air raid of World War II. It was only the beginning of a firebombing campaign that targeted and destroyed Japanese cities both large and small throughout the spring and summer until the capitulation of the Japanese Empire in August of 1945. In a memorandum dated June 17, 1945, Bonner Fellers - a U.S. Army strategist on psychological warfare - described the American firebombing campaign of Japan as “one of the most ruthless and barbaric killings of non-combatants in all history.”
Gold and silver Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver owned by western singer/actor Gene Autry.
Decorating work designed by Tiffany and Co. Engraved by Leonard Francolini. Inscribed, “To Gene on his 81st birthday with deepest love and affection ever yours Jackie”.
On This Day in History, March 9th, 1562
Public kissing is banned in
Venice Naples, punishable by death. The ban only lasts one day before the local nobleman is forced to rescind it.
peashooter85 why so obsessed with flatulence? Is it of medical interest to you?
I have gas tonight
This rifle is believed to have been presented to Nelson together with a scimitar and canteen by the Sultan of Turkey after the Battle of the Nile. Ivory stocked, the rifle is decorated with silver and gilt studs and with bands of gilt brass and mother of pearl. The lock is a Turkish variant of the Spanish miquelet lock on which is gold koftgari decoration (an ornamental work produced by inlaying steel with gold)
That is an amazingly beautiful rifle.