Eric Johnson demonstrates percussion distributing explosion to the interior of the weapon – Jim Surkamp
Eric Johnson (from the video):
"You see, as nice as that flintlock is, it doesn’t work in the rain, as we said, it doesn’t work too well in the snow, it doesn’t work in the wind or storm.
A man named Alexander Forsythe, a reverend in Scotland, came up with an idea of a fulminate. A fulminate is something you can pound. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulminate_of_mercury He specifically thought about mercury. And he started to experiment with that. The Tower of London thought that was a screwy idea, then thought: "Well, maybe that will work, if it is an explosion." So what was going to happen was – you see there’s a small appendage on this called a
"cone" or "percussion cone" or "nipple." There’s going to be a cap. There’s going to be a cap, a brass or copper cap, filled with a substance called fulminate of mercury, that’s gonna stick on top of this nipple. So, that when you pull the trigger, the hammer hits it, and if any of you are drummers, you know what percussion is: "to strike and to hit" –
that distributes an explosion into the interior of the barrel. And the nice thing about the percussion system – for the most part – is it’s water-proof. Ah . . . now you can fight a battle in the snow, the rain, the ice, and the cold. You don’t have to have the most beautiful day of the year to fight the battle.
Whitney as we mentioned, and some other people. And those folks would create from those template pieces other model pieces and they would stock state arsenals with them. Well, the problem with that system was sometimes a contractor gets in a hurry, and sometimes to make quota, to get in on budget, you might cut a few corners. I’m not saying they all did that, but I am saying it certainly did happen in this period. Some people did that. So what you find in a lot of existing state arsenals in places that have collections of weapons of that period – the antebellum period right before the Civil War – are pieces that need some attention and care and they are pieces that need to be maintained, and needed to be re-inspected."
Eric Johnson is "a blacksmith doing 18th and 19th Century reproductions, some restoration, some consultation, and some sculpted iron artwork for fun, a Jefferson County small farmer growing grass-fed lamb and turkeys, and a struggling father trying to keep 3 kids in higher learning and a wonderful wife happy. I have been; an NPS Ranger, Farm Museum Interpretive Designer, then a Farm Museum Manager for several Ag. historic sites in Henrico Co. VA, Civil War and Revolutionary War reenactment coordinator for the aforementioned site, contract living history interpreter/speaker. I have collected and repaired/restored many black powder firearms over the years and still do."
Tagged: , U.S. Model 1841 Rifle , interchangeable parts , machine-made , Jefferson Davis , 1853 Enfield , Alexander Forsythe , The Mississippian Rifle , Eric Johnson , American Public University System , Jim Surkamp , http://justjefferson.com , http://www.civilwarscholars.com , http://www.apus.edu , southwoodfarm forge