FRAMED DIRECTIONS FOR KETCHUM’S HAND GRENADE

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Item Code: 490-922

The Ketchum Hand Grenade was a type of grenade used in the American Civil War. This is an original copy of the directions on how to use the grenade. The grenade was patented on August 20, 1861 by William F. Ketchum, a mayor of Buffalo, N.Y., and was partially adopted in the Union Army. They were used in battles such as Vicksburg and Petersburg. The grenades have the appearance of a cast-iron ball, or a skinny dart, having fins of cardboard to stabilize the flight. They assured landing on the nose, which was backed by a percussion cap that set off the main powder charge in the body. The grenades were largely inefficient because they had to land on their nose to detonate. In one incident Confederates caught them in blankets and hurled them back at the attackers. The grenades came primarily in 1, 3 and 5 lb. varieties.

The grenade was a three-piece weapon, consisting of the plunger (or nostril), casing (body or orange shell, containing main charge), and tailpiece. The slightly convex metal plunger was removed to set the percussion cap on the nipple within the casing; the plunger was refitted through means of depressing by the striking of something hard and solid to drive it back. This proved to be difficult, especially in the fray of battle. The wood tailpiece was removed to place the powder charge inside the shell, and then set firmly back in to hold the powder within. Trajectory had to be an arc in order for the plunger to detonate the piece. A small pressure spring attached to the side of the plunger stem held the plunger in place during flight. The grenade was stabilized by four thin paper fins set into a wood tailpiece protruding from the rear of the projectile.

Black frame measures 8 ¼” x 10 1/8”. Paper has some soiled spots and small holes throughout, but it is still very legible.  [sm]

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