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Published on Oct 6, 2008
The Gardner gun was an early machine gun. It had one or two barrels, was fed from a vertical magazine or hopper and was operated by a crank. The Gardner machine gun was invented in 1874 by William Gardner, formerly a Captain in the Union army during the American Civil War. After producing a prototype he went to the Pratt and Whitney company, who after a year of development produced a military version of the weapon. A demonstration to officers at the United States Navy yard in 1875 was successful, however they showed no interest in the weapon. On 15 January and 17 March 1880 more tests were conducted at Sandy Hook Proving ground in front of an Army review board. The weapon performed well, and they recommended that the Army buy a limited number for field evaluation, noting the low cost of the weapon. However the U.S. Army again declined to purchase. At this point, the British Royal Navy, which had successfully deployed the Gatling gun became interested in the weapon, and Gardner was invited to England to exhibit his weapon. The British Admiralty were so impressed by the demonstrations that they adopted the weapon and purchased the rights to produce the weapon in England. Gardner would remain in England to supervise the construction of the weapons. The British Army then took an interest in machine guns and after a series of trials selected the Gardner gun. The Army adopted the weapon, although its introduction was delayed because of opposition from the Royal Artillery. (Wikipedia) A Gardner gun is on show in The Pancho Villa Museum, Chihuahua, Mexico. It is not clear how the gun came to be in the hands of Pancho Villa's forces.