Description

    [Civil War]. Samuel Gardiner Explosive Bullet Contract. Four pages, 8" x 12.5", New York, November 19, 1861. Inventor Samuel Gardiner signs this contract with Robert J. Hubbard, both of New York, for a patent on their "Explosive Bullet, or shell or Ball for Muskets, Rifles and Cannons," which would be used during the Civil War.

    Gardiner had "invented a new and useful improvement and invention in the forming and designing of an Explosive projectile, called an Explosive Bullet, or shell or Ball for Muskets, Rifles and Cannons, and an Explosive or detonating powder to be used therewith and a new fuze in form and substance also to be used in connection with the above, and for the purpose of securing to himself the benefit of said implement and invention."

    The contract further states that Gardiner had sold a one-eighth interest in the patent right for $500: "said party of the first part has agreed to and hereby does sell and dispose to the said part of the second part a certain undivided one Eighth (1/8th) part, portion or interest in the Patent-right to be obtained for said invention and discovery for and in consideration of the sum of Five Hundred Dollars lawful Money."

    The contract continues stating that if any contracts "shall be made or taken with the Government of the United States or any other Government or with any persons or individuals for the use or right to manufacture said invention of Balls or said powder or fuze, the same shall be taken and made by the parties in interest under the name and stile of firm as may in future be agreed upon... the said party of the first [Gardiner] part does give to the said party of the second [Hubbard] part a proper writing stating the mode and manufacture of the said powder which the said party of the second part and his assigns of said patents intent shall at all times be permitted to manufacture and use in the manufacture and sale or in the use of said Balls or Bullets, that said part of the second part is not to divulge or make known the secret of manufacturing said powder but is to keep the same a secret with himself."

    Gardiner's invention was one of the earliest "Explosive projectiles" used in rifles. These bullets improved upon others by exploding at the end of a time fuse, which often meant that after they entered human flesh, they exploded, causing much suffering and damage. Eventually, the Confederate Army seized some from Union troops and used them in battle. One New York Tribune correspondent wrote of the horror of witnessing this: "To my dying day, I shall have in my ears the wailing shrieks of a private of the 1st Long Island, shot dead beside my horse with a percussion musket-ball, whose explosion within its wound I distinctly heard." Gardiner visited President Lincoln at the White House to show him samples, and, eventually, the War Department ordered more than 100,000 bullets. [Richard N. Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows, (Macmillan, 1958), 179.] Both Gardiner and Hubbard have signed on page three. The docketing on the verso, dated May 1863, is signed by John L. Hayes, the Acting Commissioner of Patents. Toned paper with minor stains and soiling. Folds.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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