Original British WWII Schermuly Pistol Rocket Apparatus Rescue Line Thrower

Item Description

Original Items: Only one set available. William Schermuly 1857-1929 was one of the fathers of modern rocketry. He had served aboard vessels at sea and knew of how many lives were lost each year due to shipwrecks. He invented several different line throwing devices, some of which were used in WWI for such things as throwing telephone lines from trench to trench while under fire. But, the British Admiralty still didn’t see a need for his line throwers. Finally, he came up with a design that was small, easily aimed and fired, accurate and simple to use – the Schermuly Rocket Pistol Apparatus. In 1929, just 19 days before he died, the Admiralty made it compulsory for all vessels over 500 tons to carry line throwers. It was so successful that in 1938, a new act made it a requirement for all ships over 80 tons or 50 feet in length.

The pistol is based on the Webley & Scott brass flare pistol, with a steel barrel extension to take a rocket that would propel a wire over distance. The wire could be attached to a cable to help transfer people from ship to ship or shore to ship.

The pistol barrel has an extra handle to steady the gun when firing. The wood grips are made of mahogany.

This Schermuly Line Throwing Rocket Pistol has a brass frame and chamber, while the rocket tube, or barrel, is steel. It has mahogany grips and a ribbed Bakelite secondary handle, and there are British proof marks on the chamber and frame. It is also marked with serial number 18648 on the barrel and frame, and has patent information on the left side of the frame. Overall, the pistol is in very good condition, and still has the original Schermuly orange label under the grip.

This pistol represents a very unique piece of nautical history, and would complement any collection of nautical or WWII artifacts.

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