Biography of Richard J. Gatling
Famous American Biographies





RICHARD JORDAN GATLING, an American inventor of much note, was born in Hertford county, North Carolina, September 12, 1818. At an early age he gave promise of an inventive genius. The first emanation from his mind was the invention of a screw for the propulsion of water craft, but on application for a patent, found that he was forestalled but a short time by John Ericsson. Subsequently he invented a machine for sowing wheat in drills, which was used to a great extent throughout the west. He then studied medicine, and in 1847-8 attended lectures at the Indiana Medical College at Laporte, and in 1848-9 at the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati. He later discovered a method of transmitting power through the medium of coin pressed air. A double acting hemp break was also invented by him. The invention, however, by which Dr. Gatling became best known was the famous machine gun which bears his name. This be brought to light in 1861-62, and on the first trial of it, in the spring of the latter year, two hundred shots per minute were fired from it. After making some improvements which increased its efficiency, it was submitted to severe trials by our government at the arsenals at Frankfort, Washington and Fortress Monroe, and at other p.oints. The gun was finally adopted by our government, as well as by that of Great Britain, Russia and others.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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