weaponry wednesday

5

Toothed sword
Gilbert Islands / Micronesia
1825-50
Though flimsy in appearance, this toothed sword and others like in the Museum’s anthropology collection are extremely sharp. Made with hundreds of teeth from Dusky (Carcharhinus obscrus) and Spotfin (Carcharhinus sorrah) sharks, each tooth is pierced with a small hole at the base and tied to the wooden shaft using fibers from coconut shells and hair. Based strongly on writings from visiting missionaries during the 1800s, it appears that native warriors wielded weapons such as these while fighting over tribal territories. Interestingly neither Dusky nor Spotfin sharks inhabit the waters around Micronesia today.  Recent research has suggested that overfishing drove the sharks away to Australia and Fiji near the turn of the 20th century – a case of “localized extinction.”

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

6

Howitzer shells
Ordnance Corps, United States Army
1914-1918
Referred to as “Trench Art,” these small-caliber shells have been decorated by soldiers passing time between engagements. Examples of trench art range from mundane stippling designs like the rudimentary American eagle outline, to elegant and skillful chasing patterns like the floral and urn motif. Trench art is a term that today encompasses almost any form of decorative work carried out by soldiers or prisoners-of-war dating back to the early 1800s. The name itself, however, is born from soldiers stuck in the stalemate of trench warfare during WWI. With ample time and plenty of spent shell casings and other debris available, soldiers took to engraving, carving or molding designs, portraits, scenes and still-life as a means of relaxing. Unfortunately, the artists for these pieces did not sign their work, therefore leaving behind intriguing, albeit anonymous, works of art.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

10

Cased belt revolvers
Wesson & Leavitt / Massachusetts Arms Co.
Chicopee Falls, MA
1850-1851

After incorporating in 1850, Edwin Wesson and Daniel Leavitt became Samuel Colt’s fiercest competitors – so much so that Colt filed suit against their company for copyright infringement in 1852. These small “belt-size,” .31-caliber revolvers are two of only about 1000 ever produced by the company before suspending operations shortly after the Colt lawsuit. The company would eventually evolve into Smith & Wesson.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share! #WeaponryWednes

5

Maynard Carbine
Massachusetts Arms Co. 
Chicopee, MA
1857

As southern secession and even a possible war against the Union became more realistic by the late 1850s, many southern governments looked to bolster their armories. Thus, as demand for both edged weapons and firearms spiked around the country, arms production became big business – and not just for gunsmiths. Practically anyone with even a remotely practical idea on how to gain a battlefield advantage through superior firepower could cash in, and from the mid-1850s through to the end of the Civil War, an influx of firearm alterations, gadgets, gizmos and other weaponized curiosa emerged.

One such offering was the Maynard Carbine, named for its inventor, a New York dentist named Dr. Edward Maynard, whose southern advertising campaign emphasized ease of use:  “Nothing to do with a Maynard but load her up, turn her north, and pull the trigger; if twenty of them don’t clear out all yankee-dom than I’m a liar…” The ads worked. Southern armories ordered about 1,600 of these first-model, breech-loading pieces prior to secession, and the Confederate Congress placed an additional order of 1,000 guns for assorted Cavalry units throughout Virginia and the Carolinas.

Carrying a nickname of “pop-gun,” the Maynard was anything but. It was an efficient weapon to say the least. Factory warranted to fire 12 rounds per minute with an effective range of 1600 yards, it was simplistic in its workings as a breechloader and, moreover, utilized brass cartridges. But, despite its overwhelming popularity, the Maynard had its shortcomings. The lack of a forward stock, for instance, forced the shooter to place his hand on a bare metal barrel, which after six or so rounds became quite hot to the touch. More of a liability, however, was its paper tape primer (similar to toy cap guns still around even now). In an effort to cut down on reloading time, Maynard devised a rolled length of tape embedded with multiple mercury fulminate capsules. Unlike the single-shot percussion caps, however, these capsules were embedded at measured intervals inside the tape and would automatically feed into place when the hammer was cocked. 

To be fair, Maynard’s paper tape priming system worked great - at least until it started raining. Despite its varnishing, the tape roll still proved unreliable in damp conditions, and was soon replaced with the standard metallic percussion cap action. 

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

9

Revolving pistol
Phillipe Selier Desellier
Belgium
1710-1720

Not only among the earliest small arms in The Charleston Museum’s weaponry collection, this flintlock pistol is also one of its more remarkable. Besides its decorative coin-silver furniture and detailed engravings, this weapon exhibits an early revolver-type mechanism. Equipped with a pivoting forward stock, tandem barrels, frizzens and flash pans, the shooter can, after firing a first shot, depress the spur on the outer side of the trigger guard and with the other hand, turn the barrels over to ready another round.

Although popular versions of revolving firearms emerge in earnest in the 1830s, inventors had been tinkering with rotating barrel concepts since the 17th century striving to move past the drawback of single-shot firearms (meaning shooters had to stop and reload their gun after each individual shot). Although adding extra barrels seemed logical, it made for heavy weapons, and no matter the number of barrels on gun, its user was still going to have to load each barrel individually gaining no real measureable firing efficiency. Only after innovations in self-contained cartridge technology did revolving and rotating guns come into their own as efficient and reliable weapons.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

6

Bolo knife with wooden sheath
unmarked
Philippines / South Pacific / Oceana
1830-1850

An intimidating and heavy tool to say the least, the term bolo appears to be of native Philippine origin as does the unique design itself. First developed as farming implement, the thick curved blade (typically around 18-inches length) widens considerably at its tip. This extra weight at the forward end created a powerful and effective cutting motion. Because of this, the bolo easily lent itself to all sorts of agricultural tasks including plowing. 

Although still today commonly used as field tools, Pacific Island peasants of the early 19th century learned to use them as self-defensive weapons, and militaries soon took notice. Armies in both Europe and the US eventually adopted the bolo knives for use in their artillery crews, who used extensively in both World Wars to clear brush and cut trails for their caissons. 

One of the more public and gruesome uses of a bolo occurred on December 7, 1972 when a would-be assassin used one to attack then-First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. On stage with cameras rolling, Marcos was stabbed multiple times in the midsection and received serious lacerations to her hands and forearms, but somehow survived. In this interview with Marcos, she discusses her distaste for the use of this particular knife. 

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

4

US Navy gas mask, Mark II
United States
1919-1920
With the advent of chemical warfare during World War I, the United States military scrambled to develop protective and reliable defenses from poisonous gases. The US Navy’s Mark II Head Canister Gas Mask certainly stood alone for its abnormal design. Completely different than other gas masks of the period, the Mark II’s canister housing the all important air filter was fixed on the top of a heavy steel headband. When not in use, the rubber mask could be tucked inside the “helmet” which made for a smaller, more portable apparatus unlike the Army’s larger version which needed its own carrying case (and likely would have stuck out over the tops of trenches anyway). In an attack, air could be inhaled through canister’s rear section, drawn through the filter, through the front two rubber tubes and into the mask’s intake valves above the lenses. Spent air was directed out through a flapper type exhale valve centered at the mask’s forehead.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

6

External image

Royal Artillery Cartridge Box
Unmarked
Origin: London
Date: 1775-76

Cartridge boxes such as these were vital accoutrements for soldiers as they provided a ready supply of ammunition for their all-important firearm. Adorned with a brass badge identifying the Royal Artillery, the top leather flap covers a wooden block with 9 individual compartments in which a single cartridge was placed. A detachment of the Royal Artillery served in Charleston during the siege and occupation of the city from 1780-82.

Soldiers produced cartridges in the following manner:
- A 6” X 5 ½” trapezoid-shaped piece of nitrated cartridge paper was wrapped around a wooden dowel, known as a former.  An approximately 1” section extended beyond the end of the former to form a small hollow tube.
- With the paper held in place, the musket ball was placed inside the tube so that it rested on the tip of the former.  
- The paper was then tied off with twine above the musket ball.
- The apparatus was then turned ball-end down and the former removed.
- A measure of powder was then poured down into the cartridge.
- The cartridge was completed by tying or twisting shut the open end of the cartridge. 

Revolutionary War cartridges often contained buck shot in addition to the standard musket ball. From The Charleston Museum’s collections, this is one of the best-preserved examples of a Revolutionary War cartridge box.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

6

Trench knife
Landers, Frary & Clark
New Britain, CT
1917

The United States entered into the First Word War just as trenches erupted throughout the European battlefront. With no other tactic available than charging enemy lines on foot, US doughboys were now more than ever reliant on close-quarter, hand-to-hand weaponry. Taking advice from battle-weary French troops, American armorers put forth the US M1917 trench knife nicknamed the “knuckle duster.”  A scary implement indeed, pyramidal teeth protrude from the knuckle bow and the blade is actually a triangular spike purposely designed to puncture the thick overcoats often worn by the enemy inside their own trenches.

Landers, Frary & Clark, whose mark (“L.F.&C.”) is stamped at the hilt, opened just after the Civil War as a housewares company producing myriad kitchen appliances and utensils. In the spring of 1917, the company went to work making edged weapons for the US army.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

4

Tusk–handled swords
Unmarked
Siam (now Thailand)
1870-1890

Although a horrific looking pair, these notably large swords are completely impractical for combat. Likely they were used instead as ceremonial, presentation or perhaps decorative weaponry within the royal palace in Bangkok.  Each weighing in at a burdensome 22 pounds and measuring over 6 feet long, they are unwieldy as they are heavy and bulky. The lower half of an elephant’s tusk makes up the handle, its girth too large to grip effectively by an average sized person. Furthermore, unsharpened blades and lack of personalization on each one indicate some sort of ornamental decoration.

Born in Charleston on September 21, 1854, Dr. Thomas Heyward Hays was chief of Bangkok’s Royal Thai Navy Hospital beginning in 1886 and eventually served as the consulting physician to Siam’s Royal Court. These edged weapons are but a small part of his extensive collecting in Southeast Asia, most of which he donated to the Charleston Museum in 1924. He died on February 2, 1954, at age 99, and is buried in the Bangkok Protestant Cemetery.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

6

Sword bayonet & scabbard
Châtellerault armories
France
1874
Engraved for the Impériale de Châtellerault arsenal in France’s Poitou-Charentes region, the name “sword bayonet” refers to this weapon’s dual purpose. Ideally, it was fixed to the muzzle end of the French Chassepot, a bolt-action rifle issued to French Troops during the Franco-Prussian War thus converting the rifle into a long pike for charging enemy trenches. In close, hand-to-hand combat, however, the piece (complete with a hand guard and curved saber-styled blade) was designed for use as a short sword. Although this bayonet’s shape and style was first developed in the 1860s, these abnormally long sword bayonets proved once again advantageous when trench warfare came into its own during World War I, the near two-foot blade greatly extended a soldier’s reach when attached to the end of his rifle.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

4

Caisson (or ammunition chest)
Unmarked
Spanish (attributed)
c.1898

A standard design used in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, this compartmentalized ammunition chest was made to hold cartridges, case shot and canister shot. Made from pine with thick metal bands at the seams, when fully packed it could weigh as much as 450 pounds. Because of their weight, ammunition chests like these were loaded and secured onto limbers, two-wheeled horse- or vehicle-drawn carts. When in use the limber was detached and moved manually with the chest still in place. By World War I, military supply companies were producing most caissons with iron sheeting, which added a greater measure of protection for the explosive shells inside them.  

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

4

Cavalry Saber
Maker: William Glaze
Origin: Columbia, SC
Date: 1855-60
Copied from the standard Model 1840 sabers, this piece was carried by Corporal Alfred Manigault of Company K, 4th South Carolina Cavalry. Once a Columbia silversmith, William Glaze began a new career as an arms maker circa 1850. By 1855, Glaze advertises his firm as making edged weapons as well “converting old arms into more modern types. His timing was excellent. By the early 1860s and the outbreak of the Civil War, Glaze had partnered with Benjamin Flagg and converted the “Palmetto Iron Works” into the “Palmetto Armory.” For the duration of the war, Glaze and Flagg provided thousands of muskets, pistols and swords to the Confederate Military.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

2

Minie Balls
Unmarked
American
1861-65

In 1849, an officer in the French Army named Claude Etienne Minié developed this simple projectile and subsequently changed warfare forever. In what would become notorious for its battlefield brutality, this conical, hollow-bottomed lead bullet aptly named the Minié (pronounced min-yay) ball was first used sparingly among French soldiers in the Crimea, but the American Civil War saw its first use on a large scale. Before this time, rifles unlike smoothbore muskets were highly accurate and superiorly powerful but took time to load. To achieve its proper spin while in flight, the bullet had to be forcefully rammed over and through the barrel’s rifling – a series of spiral grooves within the barrel. A smoothbore’s barrel, which as the name suggests was smooth on the inside, was usually preferred because of its speed (a soldier could load and fire one approximately three times per minute). Of course, this speed sacrificed accuracy so smoothbores were generally en masse and at close range. Minié’s little bullet changed all of that combining the speed loading of a smoothbore with the accuracy and power of a rifle. Like a smoothbore musket ball, the Minié ball was cast from lead at a diameter slightly smaller than the gun barrel. This of course allowed it to fall freely down the barrel upon loading. It was when the gun fired, however, that the true genius of Minié’s invention materializes: the rapid expansion of powder gas underneath the Minié ball’s hollow base forced its soft lead apron outward thus tightening its fit and engaging the rifling as it traveled. A trained soldier could still fire off his three shots per minute just like he could with a smoothbore, but now he is able to pinpoint targets at a much greater range.

Note: The pronunciation of the Minié Ball (i.e. mini-ball) is actually an American corruption of what should have been pronounced as a “min-yay” ball - named for its creator and not to be confused with a mini (or miniature) ball.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

2

Triple barrel pistol
J. Laugher
London / Birmingham
1780-1785
An early repeater, the priming (or flash) pan (positioned at the top-rear of the barrel) contained three individual primer chambers, each one connected to a specific barrel. A small measure of powder was loaded into each chamber (housed within a “box lock”) and each barrel was loaded individually. After firing a shot, the pan was manually rotated with a small turning knob exposing the next chamber and, subsequently, readying the next shot.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

2

Revolving carbine
Deane, Adams & Deane
London
1850-55
Attempting to expand on the success of Colt’s handheld revolvers, gunsmiths everywhere made earnest attempts to transfer those same mechanics into long arms. Despite their best efforts, however, these models ended up as near complete failures. When fired, a radial blast of lead shavings and burning specs of powder burst out of the narrow seam between the cylinder chambers and the barrel. Of course, this same reaction occurred when firing a revolving handgun, but since this was a long arm, the shooter’s face, wrists, forearms and elbows were now in close proximity to the gun’s main charge (whereas holding and firing a handgun with an outstretched arm prevented injury). Thus, users often endured painful cuts and burns upon firing the weapon. One of Sam Colt’s own salesmen noted in 1862: “I could sell a great number of them, that is if I had the proper confidence in them. My last trial was before a General Gist in Union, South Carolina…Took me all the evening to pick the powder and pieces of lead out of my face.”

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

2

Shotgun
Westley Richards & Co.
London
1855-1865
Sporting and hunting firearms, while still a necessary piece of equipment in most households, began taking on more artistic and refined characteristics especially by the early 19th-century. Carvers and engravers used lockplates and stocks as personal canvases with which to exhibit their remarkable skill. This double-barrel percussion shotgun bears the mark of Westley Richards, who established his first London gunsmithing shop in 1812. This particular piece also contains another interesting feature: John M. Happoldt, one of Charleston’s most prolific gunsmiths of the mid 19th-century, replaced the original wooden stock with one of his own. His maker’s mark is still visible underneath the rear section just behind the grip. Westley Richards & Co. is still manufacturing fine, highly collectible sporting firearms today and remains under family ownership.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

2

Wooden bullets and Clip
Unmarked
Germany
1940-1945

Made for a Karabiner 98 Kurz bolt-action rifle (the standard service rifle of the German Wehrmacht by 1935), this metallic “Mauser K98” stripper clip is stacked with cartridges containing carved wooden projectiles. Axis powers occasionally experimented with wooden bullets in the later stages of World War II, believing a wounded soldier caused the enemy more trouble than a dead one. Fortunately, this concept was short-lived. Most wooden bullets tended to tumble in flight resulting in highly unreliable accuracy and range. Others simply shattered or disintegrated upon firing. Only under extremely close combat situations were wooden projectiles at least somewhat effective. One US Army medic recalled how the dozens of large splinters left by wooden bullets were a tremendous nuisance since “Though they weren’t deadly…every splinter had to be removed to avoid infection.”

Assorted wartime reports have also mentioned stockpiles of wooden bullets found in both Italy and Japan after the war. It is thought, however, these were used as training tools for new recruits, thus saving the metal for actual combat. William C. Anthony, a gunner’s mate (GM) in the US Navy, found this clip in France during WWII.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

2

Smoothbore Musket
Unmarked
Continental Europe
1805-1810
Between South Carolina’s secession on December 20, 1860 and its firing on Fort Sumter the following April, Charleston scrounged for whatever weaponry it could procure to supplement its growing defenses. In so doing, the state appropriated several stores of outdated flintlocks from by-gone eras and subsequently put them to use among Charleston’s first volunteers. This .69 caliber smoothbore musket - first used by New York troops during the War of 1812 and similar to French Charlevilles used during the American Revolution - is just such an example. Also noteworthy is its hastily improvised conversion from flintlock to percussion cap (the latter being a more reliable ignition system invented in the 1830s). Instead of replacing the entire action, the original flint jaws were fitted with a blunt hammerhead, and a percussion socket was drilled into the rear barrel.  Lastly, officials stamped an “SC” the lock plate to denote its state issue.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes

4

Target Pistol
Joshua Stevens
Chicopee, MA
1875-1880
Joshua Stevens, who in 1864 founded “J. Stevens & Co.”, marked this nickel-plated single shot .22-caliber target pistol with a detachable shoulder stock. Joshua Stevens is perhaps best known for his development of the .22 LR (for long rifle) round. These small caliber bullets became the mainstay ammunition for firearm training and practice. It was an inexpensive round with minimal noise that by1888 became the favored ammunition for recreational target shooting. The Stevens’ company produced upwards of 4 million single-shot, .22-caliber target firearms by 1892 making it among the top post-Civil War weapons manufactures in the country. Today, nearly every firearm manufacture produces at least one model for the .22 LR. It is the most widely sold bullet in the world with annual production falling between 2.3 and 2.5 billion rounds.

Weaponry Wednesday: Each Wednesday we post an object (or group of objects) from the Charleston Museum’s diverse weapons collection. Many Weaponry Wednesday items may be on permanent exhibit in our armory or elsewhere in the museum, but some pieces rarely see exhibition, temporary or permanent, but are well worth sharing.  We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on WEAPONRY WEDNESDAY! Also, we always want to learn more about our collection - if you have some insights on a piece, please feel free to share!  #WeaponryWednes