Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Darth-Vang, Oct 10, 2021.
Yes, he was doing it as well.
Certainly during wartime, as numerous subcontractors were making parts for single rifle and handgun styles (1911’s, Garands, carbines, etc.).
Eli Whitney has been credited for the concept of interchangeable parts in firearms, but he was just a champion of the concept, not the originator. People such as Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval was using standardized cannon with interchangeable parts in the 1700s. Honoré Blanc and Louis de Tousard were doing it with shoulder fired weapons long before Eli Whitney.
Roswell Lee was an employee of Whitney who went on to run the Springfield Armory and implement some of his own management ideas as well. Whitney visited the Armory and later used many of Lee's ideas.
Sam Colt is probably the one who really first did it successfully in mass production.
US managed to be, generally, the first nation to fully standardize their military weapons, and that in the mid 30s, and fully implements by 1942. (Despite that, examples with hand-fitting, Johnson Rifle, Reising, etc., still occured.)
Brits were on about the same schedule, at least with Brens and most Vickers; the Lee rifles had different bolt heads to fit them to correct headspacing.
In military weapons, one of the "tells" is when the number of parts matched by serial number are observed. That's occurs about 1945-1950
For non-military firearms, they are not generally taken apart in groups to a dozen or more and washed together, and need to be reassembled by matched numbers. So, there are still some boutique manufacturers who do not have "universal" parts.
The first US weapon with interchangeable parts was the 1819 Hall Rifle.
The technology to 'make all their guns to have the same exact specifications' was available in the second quarter of the 18th century, in the form of accurate gauges and master patterns. By the third quarter of that century, almost all nations had firearms made the same specifications to the point where replacement parts could be stocked that required minimal hand fitting. By the 1850, no hand fitting was required by many US and foreign gunmakers.
However, to this day there are some weapons systems drawing that carry notes like "file to fit" or "fit as required".
Not really. According to the Eli Whitney Museum...
"Whitney’s work in making muskets from a number of interchangeable parts once identified him as the sole originator of the idea. But tests on a collection of Whitney muskets indicate that all their parts were not interchangeable."
Just a factoid.
I agree with Double Naught that Whitney's demonstration of reassembling muskets from mixed parts was not authentic, not representative of what was produced by Whitney at the time.
You sure about those dates CapnMac ? I'm not sure what "standardized" is suppose to mean. Fully interchangeable parts? Or does it mean adopting a weapon that meets certain criteria but doesn't necessarily have interchangeable parts? I think we were "standardized" , by either definition, long before the 1930s.
Fun tidbit: The company that Whitney founded still exists. They make jet engines now.
Hall Rifle of 1819, on Forgotten Weapons.
A member of the Whitney family, but not Eli . . . and no.
The Pratt & Whitney Company was founded in 1860 by Francis A. Pratt and Amos Whitney*, with headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. The company manufactured machine tools, tools for the makers of sewing machines, and gun-making machinery for use by the Union Army during the American Civil War. Now, known as Pratt & Whitney Measurement Systems, it is headquartered in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
The engine division is actually a separate corporate entity. In 1925, Frederick Rentschler approached Pratt & Whitney for funding and a location to build his new aircraft engine. Pratt & Whitney loaned him $250,000, the use of the Pratt & Whitney name, and space in their building. This was the beginning of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, which evolved into today's widely known aircraft engine manufacturer. In 1929, Rentschler ended his association with Pratt & Whitney Machine Tool and merged Pratt & Whitney Aircraft with Boeing and other companies to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC). His agreement allowed him to carry the Pratt & Whitney name with him to his new corporation. Pratt & Whitney Division (now part of Raytheon) is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut.
* Amos was born seven years after Eli died, he was a distant cousin or nephew. The Whitneys were actually a fairly prominent family in the the Connecticut area.
It really cannot be used as a pistol.
Separate names with a comma.