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The 18th Century Machine Gun (was Racist)

Navy Department Library

In 1718 Britain, a guy named James Puckle patented the world's first rapid fire weapon: the Defense Gun, also known as the Puckle Gun. Resembling a giant revolver on a tripod, this gun claimed to be able to fire 63 shots in seven minutes (which in modern mathematics is known as "nine shots a minute"). That may not seem like much, but when you consider that the most skilled musketeers at the time could only fire three shots a minute, it was a vast improvement.

"Kills three times as many Frenchmen!"

The official reason why the Puckle Gun never caught on with the British Army is that it had way too many cylinders -- like three or four. Clearly this was more cylinders than British gunsmiths could keep track of.

"We're soldiers, blast it, not wizards!"

And the reason why the Puckle Gun had so many cylinders, by the way, was its blatant racism. Wait, what? You see, included in the patent for the gun was the concept of interchangeable cylinders: one shot regular musket balls meant for "civilized" people, and the other shot square bullets at Muslim Turks. Why? According to the patent, the square bullets hurt more and were meant to teach the Turks the "benefits of Christian civilization."

"A square hole in my chest! This completely changes my attitude on religion!"

There were several reasons why this was a bad idea: First of all, there's no way to test whether a square bullet hurts more than a round bullet without actually shooting one at a volunteer, and that would require finding someone who was willing to convert to Islam beforehand. Secondly, the unnecessary number of extra parts made the gun harder to manufacture, which is why it was never mass produced. Also, this was pretty impractical for the shooters as well, since they had to make sure to change the cylinder depending on the religious convictions of the enemy in front of them -- lest they

accidentally condemn a Christian to eternal damnation by killing him with a bullet meant for a Turk. The Puckle Gun was primarily intended for shipboard use -- but what if the ship should ran into a gang of multi-ethnic pirates? What then, Mr. Puckle?

Via National Portrait Gallery, London Obviously you didn't think this through.

Read more: The 6 Most Ill-Conceived Weapons Ever Built | Cracked.com http://www.cracked.com/article_19233_the-6-most-ill-conceived-weapons-everbuilt.html#ixzz1PRGZ4LGH