Skip to comments.The mystery of the vanishing gun inventor
Posted on 08/16/2013 9:21:09 AM PDT by Second Amendment First
William Cantelo, a 19th Century inventor rumoured to be working on an early version of the machine-gun, left his house one day and never returned.
In the early 1880s, the residents of Bargate Street, Southampton, were probably a bit fed up with one of their neighbours.
From the cellar beneath the pub run by William Cantelo would come the sound of rapid gunfire.
Cantelo, an engineer and gun-maker, was experimenting with a new type of gun. Nobody knew what it was, but it produced shots in quick succession. It was clearly not your average rifle.
One day, Cantelo announced to his sons - also engineers - that he had perfected his new invention. It was a machine-gun, a weapon which used the energy of explosive recoil to load the next bullet. It would fire continuously until the bullets ran out.
Cantelo and his sons packed it away into cases, and Cantelo went off, presumably to sell it. He frequently travelled on sales trips, as a successful builder of - among other things - ships' capstans, and other bits of marine engineering.
William Cantelo was never seen again.
As millions of Europe's young men were busy machine-gunning each other to death in World War I, the inventor of the weapon died, a very rich man and a knight of the realm. His invention had revolutionised warfare - the centuries-old infantry advance became useless, as it could be simply mown down.
Consequently armies retreated into trenches while the generals worked out how on earth to fight this new kind of war. The man who had brought about this murderous step-change was quietly buried in a south London cemetery.
His large and impressive monument contains no indication of what he invented. But his name is written in large letters - Sir Hiram Maxim.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
If Chucky Schumer could time travel, he’d go back and hate on this guy.
I wonder how the square bullets worked.
This reminded me of an old, humorous Russian short story, about a despondent and suicidal inventor, who the devil had successfully persuaded to commit suicide. But then the devil gets an impression from the man’s mind of the design of the, at the time, first fully automatic pistol.
Realizing its potential as a murderous weapon of war, suddenly the devil realizes that if the inventor commits suicide, the plans for the automatic pistol will be lost, and countless lives spared. So the devil has to do whatever he can and quickly, to convince the inventor to not commit suicide, that life is worth living.
This puts the devil in a most peculiar position of having to discreetly help the inventor find success, money, a wonderful wife, happy children, etc., for as long as it takes for him to complete his invention.
Probably, due to windage, not too well, but it was a neat selling point ("That'll show 'em!")
I don't know if the barrel was smooth-bored or rifled, but if smoothbore, and the chambers loaded with shot, at 37MM, it would have made a nasty close-range weapon. Heck, put wheels on it and wheel it on the flanks of advancing ranks of infantry and you'd raise merry hell.
“We have no fear of the Hottentot, for we’ve the Maxim gun......and they do not.”
Probably well enough, unless the operator used the square chambers with the round barrel.
And be called out and done away with in a Duel.
A custom of honor we never should have done away with.
The Guns of the South is a great read. AK-47’s in the Civil War, provided by time traveling South Africans.
The Guns of the South is a great read. AK-47s in the Civil War, provided by time traveling South Africans.
You are not the first one to tell me that.
I actually bought (at garage sales and other sources) hard back copies of his books on alternate history for the first world war and the second world war (in the latter, space aliens attack during the war). But I felt like I was being strung along. Some themes started in one book didn’t reach completion until two books later. I read four and sold the rest of them to a second hand book store.
My time is too valuable.
The Marines used 37MM canister rounds(shotgun rounds)with devastating effect against the Japanese on Guadalcanal.
A former friend of mine who was a giant lib and a CW reenactor who believed himself to be a CW expert would go into apoplectic fits if this book was even mentioned. He would complain to management if he saw it on the shelf in a store. He said it was racist trash like the Turner Diaries. It was like a crucifix to a vampire with him. Piqued my interest enough to read it, and it was fairly good. It got me to reading alternative history.
Up until the NFA of 1934, Marlin .22 lever action rifles could be ordered with Maxim silencers.
Is the author saying William Cantello and Hiram Maxim are one and the same ? Or what’s the point of the Cantello part of the story ?
The first would be rather easy to prove with DNA testing.