1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, March 31, 2007

More bashing of "Baby Bunting"


"He dropped into his opera tunes for a while; but evidently it was not
"Fatinitza" and his vanished holiday over which he was chiefly
meditating, for presently he exclaimed: "I'll give them a shooting-match
in the morning. You shoot?"
Bolles hoped he was going to learn in this country, and exhibited a .22 Smith
& Wesson revolver.
Drake grieved over it. "Wrap it up warm," said he. "I'll lend you a real
one when we get to the Malheur Agency."


The above is taken from a short story named "The Jimmyjohn Boss" by Owen Wister, author of what is widely considered the first Western novel, "The Virginian". It covers a small part of the conversation between Dean Drake, the newly fledged, nineteen-year-old ranch foreman and the new-from-the-East schoolmaster, Bolles. They're on the stage to the locationof new employment for the both of them, the Malheur Agency (a collection of ranches in the Malheur River country - Eastern,Central Oregon. Pretty country).
Notice the disparaging tone used to describe the oft (wrongly) touted "First Cartridge Handgun".
Not to say that I hold any grudge toward Smith and Wesson. They were innovators in their own right, and they developed the ammunition that my honey, the Beretta Stampede eats - 38 Special and .357 magnum. And, for that matter, what would Dirty Harry have used otherwise? I just think that their early revolvers are ugly and clumsy compared to Colt single actions, and that the double-action feature is a ho-hum, so-what kind of thing. All the time you'd spend aiming your second round would be ample for your underworked thumb to pull back the damned hammer unless it's just too much work. But. I'm off in the wrong direction.
This next is taken from the Texas Ranger Dispatch, online magazine:
"The first cartridge patent was granted by France to inventor Jean Samuel Pauly for a “self-contained, self-primed center fire metallic cartridge” in 1812. Then, in 1854, fellow Frenchman Eugene Lefaucheux obtained French and English patents for his pistol, which fired a self-contained, pin-fire, metallic cartridge. In 1861, Colonel George Schuyler bought 10,000 of the 12mm pin-fires for Lincoln’s army. When the war ended, Union soldiers were allowed to take them home as souvenirs." In the interest of fairness it needs to be stated that Pauly's invention, a (hopefully beefed-up) percussion cap with a .22 ball stuck in the end, would have been sent home to mama by the most anemic (and that's saying something) "Baby Bunting".
Now would also be as good a time as any to explain the "Baby Bunting" thing: We're back to Wister's story; Drake asks Bolles in response to the prospect of liqoured-up cowhands challenging their baby foreman on Christmas Day
"...I haven't got my gun on. Have you?"
"Yes,' said Bolles, but with a sheepish swerve of the eye.
"Drake guessed at once. "Not Baby Bunting? Oh, Lord! and I promised to
give you an adult weapon!--the kind they're wearing now by way of
full-dress."

So now we're clear on the "Baby Bunting" reference. Notice however the other Frog name mentioned in the article, Lefaucheux. Sorry Kevin. That's what you get for being born in a competent - if pain-in-the-butt country. It's not that I hate S&W or love France. I just hate bullshit - and French bashers are the worst sort of ignorami.
Anyway, during the course of S&W's rise to prominence they were forced to buy out the patent of one Rollin White (who may or may not have been related to the folks responsible for the later White sewing machine, White Freightliner [one of two vehicles I've run into in my days] and the WW2 White M3 halftrack - I haven't found out yet). But, what Rollin patented in 1854 was the idea of a revolver cylinder bored clear through, an obvious necessity for a cartridge revolver as the cartridge needs to stay put while the hammer acts upon it (ie has to be rimmed) but needs be inserted in some way. S&W agreed to pay White a royalty of 25 cents per unit but, in the fullness of time, hosed him. What's interesting is this: Rollin White never applied for a European patent because of a French one already extant.
Anyone? Anyone?
Eugene Lefraucheux's 1854 patent the drawing for which appears below.
In closing, from Smith and Wesson's own website, a quote of an old joke used at "Baby Bunting's" expense:
"If you shoot me with that thing and I find out about it, I’m gonna give you a good whuppin"

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