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Original U.S. Civil War Federal 10-pounder Parrott Rifle 2.9 Inch Read-Parrott Projectile

Regular price $395.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Robert P. Parrott and Dr. John B. Read were both projectile inventors before the Civil War. Read patented his wrought iron ring sabot projectiles on October 28, 1856, patent #15,999. Parrott purchased from Read the rights to manufacture Read's projectile before 1861, and a royalty was to be paid to Dr. Read. On August 20, 1861, with patent #33,100, Parrott patented an improvement to Read's projectiles. Parrott's patent stated, in part: "This invention consists in an improvement upon the elongated projectile for which letters Patent of the United States were issued on the 28th day of October, 1856, to John B. Read....the cups [Read ring sabots] became so weak as to be liable to break away from the body of the prevent this, I make the said cup, more especially at its edges, of greater thickness, and to insure its proper entrance into the grooves I swage or otherwise form the said cup before the insertion of the projectile in the gun in such a manner that in loading it will enter into the grooves in such a manner that if will not interfere with the free loading of the gun, but that in loading it will be driven completely into the grooves and caused to fit the grooves and lands by the force of the explosion of the charge of powder without any danger of its being broken."

According to a letter written by Parrott, this projectile pattern was tested at the Washington Arsenal under the command of Brigadier General George D. Ramsay in June 1861 and was used exclusively by Ricketts' Battery at First Manassas. The projectile shown here, which was recovered from the site of the Battle of First Manassas, is exactly like that drawn and described in Parrott's patent #33,100. Although the projectile is of Federal manufacture, the sabot design falls under Read's patent of October 28, 1856; Parrott only made an improvement upon Read's wrought iron ring sabot. Therefore, all wrought iron ring sabot projectiles similar to the above example should properly be classified as the Read-Parrott pattern. Parrott later patented a brass ring sabot which should properly be referred to by his name only. The later Parrott patterns have been threaded for fuzes and have brass sabots.

This is an excellent example and a nearly identical example can be found on the Civil War Artillery website this link.

DIAMETER: 3.63 inches
GUN: 20-pounder Parrott rifle, 3.67-inch caliber
LENGTH: 10 1/8 inches
WEIGHT: 18 pounds 1 ounce
SABOT: Wrought Iron Ring
FUZING: Parrott zinc fuze plug, paper time fuze. Fuze is absent.

History of the Parrott Rifle

The muzzle-loading rifled artillery Parrott gun was invented by Captain Robert Parker Parrott, a West Point graduate. He was an American soldier and inventor of military ordnance. He resigned from the service in 1836 and became the superintendent of the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York. He created the first Parrott rifle (and corresponding projectile) in 1860 and patented it in 1861. Daniel Treadwell, who developed a method for making built-up guns in the early 1840s, tried to claim that his patent infringed on an earlier one, but in 1866 S.D.N.Y. court dismissed it, deciding that Treadwell's claim was invalidated by a 1843 British patent to John Frith.

Parrotts were manufactured with a combination of cast and wrought iron. The cast iron made for an accurate gun, but was brittle enough to suffer fractures. Hence, a large wrought iron reinforcing band was overlaid on the breech to give it additional strength. There were earlier cannons designed this way,[clarification needed] but the method of securing this band was the innovation that allowed the Parrott to overcome the deficiencies of these earlier models.[citation needed] It was applied to the gun red-hot and then the gun was turned while pouring water down the muzzle, allowing the band to attach uniformly. By the end of the Civil War, both sides were using this type of gun extensively.

Parrott rifles were manufactured in different sizes, from the 10-pounder Parrott rifle up to the rare 300-pounder. In the field, the 10- and 20-pounders were used by both armies. The 20-pounder Parrott rifle was the largest field gun used during the war, with the barrel alone weighing over 1,800 pounds (820 kg). The smaller size was much more prevalent; it came in two bore sizes: 2.9 inches (74 mm) and 3.0 inches (76 mm). Confederate forces used both bore sizes during the war, which added to the complication of supplying the appropriate ammunition to its batteries. Until 1864, Union batteries used only the 2.9 inches (74 mm). The M1863, with a 3.0 inches (76 mm) bore, had firing characteristics similar to the earlier model; it can be recognized by its straight barrel, without muzzle-swell. Its range was up to 2,000 yards (1,800 m) with a trained crew.

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