Dr. Draper Stone’s Steam Gun (1861)

On May 25, 1861, while the “Winans” Steam Gun was drawing considerable press attention, Dr. Draper Stone’s Steam Gun was noticed by Scientific American. It consisted of a boiler and engine with a revolving barrel, of differing length, depending on what size of projectile was desired. The barrel had six openings from which shells would be forced out as fast as it could revolve – 200-300 per minute “without any difficulty.” It could be aimed in any direction, and could be made to throw musket balls two miles “and kill a man” or could be built of a size to send 5 pound shot five miles!

The May 13, 1861 Milwaukee Morning Sentinel provides a description of a test of this gun – Stone had attached a 7 foot barrel to the boiler of a large steam engine at the La Cross Round House.  Using steam at less than 75psi, he shot projectiles at a wooden target -“some of them were forced entirely through it.” Stone claimed that at 200- 300 PSI he could send a shot that would kill a man a half mile away.

While the writer of the article had had a pleasant excursion to the round house to view the test, he noted that a committee formed by the local chamber of commerce to look at the gun had not showed up …”


2 Responses to “Dr. Draper Stone’s Steam Gun (1861)”

  1. One of the steam powered machine guns still exist. It is very old, rusty, covered with bird dung, and but mostly intact. The steam engine is missing, but it appears that almost everything else is still there. I have taken about 10 JPG pictures of the steam gun. It looks exactly like the one in the logo drawing on the top of this page. It you are interested and send me your e-mail address I will send you the pictures.

    • If you are from Maryland, am betting that you are thinking of the replica of the “Winans” Steam Gun by US 1 outside Baltimore? If you are thinking of another, I would love to see an image!

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