From the United States three different kinds of articles in gunnery only were exhibited. These were the common army rifle, Colt's revolvers, and Maynard's primer.— The first of these, manufactured by Robbins & Lawrence, of Windsor, Vt., received much approbation for the excellent quality of their material, and the thoroughness and completeness of their workmanship. The second article mentioned, Colt's revolver, probably gained a further hold in the estimation of the best judges of fire-arms than any piece of gunnery which has been invented the last fifty years. Though it had been long in use with us, both for army and sporting purposes, it seems not to have been known in England. Meeting with doubts upon its first presentation at the Exhibition, it gradually gained its way into favor, until, before the close of the Crystal Palace, it was universally acknowledged to have achieved a success unequalled by a single invention from any part of the world. Hardly second to the revolver in the impression made upon the public mind was Maynard's primer. This most ingenious and effective piece of mechanism, the very simplicity of which is its greatest wonder, when applied to fire-arms of any model, increases their efficiency to a degree which, to be fully realized, must be personally witnessed. Too late in its arrival at the Exhibition to be passed upon by the jury of awards, it received, nevertheless, from scientific men, army officers, and professed sportsmen, a meed of approbation that far exceeded any renown it could have acquired from the medal or mention of excellence. The detonating principle of Maynard's primer is in the form ot little lozenges, each about one sixth ot an inch wide, and one thirtieth of an inch thick. These lozenges, are-enclosed between two narrow strips of strong paper, cemented together and rendered waterproof and incombustible. The single strip thus made is a little less than one-fourth of an inch wide, and contains four of these lozenges (each of which is a charge,) in every inch of its length; the charges forming projections of their own shape on one side, leaving considerable and equal spaces between them; the other side of the strip being one flat surface. One of these strips, containing fifty (or more or less) charges, is coiled up and placed in a magazine in the lock, where, by opening a lid, it can be inspected readily, and Irom whence it is fed out by the action of the lock, one charge being moved forward each time the hammer is raised. When the hammer descends it cuts off and fires the charge fed out upon the nut (or nipple, if one be used) of the gun, thus igniting the powder of the cartridge in the barrel. These primers are made by a very simple machine, (also invented by Dr. Maynard,) capable of making a million a day, at about one-tenth the cost of the percussion caps heretofore used in the United States army and navy. The above is from the Repo rt of E. Riddle the American Commissioner at the World's Fair. We will be able to select Irom time to time some other interesting extracts from it.
This article was originally published with the title "American Fire Arms"