This is a beautiful example of a U.S. Government inspected Colt Model 1883 Gatling gun with carriage and rare caisson. The Gatling gun was first developed in 1862 when Richard Jordan Gatling was issued the first patent covering “Improvements in Revolving Battery Guns”. The first Gatling gun was capable of a cyclic rate of 200 rounds per minute, by the time this model was developed it had a cyclic rate that reached as high as 1,500 per minute.
The Gatling Gun revolutionized warfare and with Gatling’s engineering invention changed the way wars were fought forever. Gatling’s basic mechanism is used on ship and aircraft guns today. The brass encased 10 barrel cluster is approximately 50 inches in length including the breech section. The trunnion strap is engraved “MANUFD BY/COLTS Pat F.A. Mfg.Co./HARTFORD CONN.”. Directly behind the housing for the Accles feed mechanism is marked “1886” over script inspectors initials. Directly behind the marking is the oval plate which houses the spirit level. The plate is marked “GATLING GUN” at the top and “PATENTED” at the bottom. Below the plate is engraved “MODEL 1883/No. 435/CAL. 45”. The inspectors initials “D.F.C.” are stamped at the end of the housing. There is a sight mounted on each side of the housing at the rear.
The side mounted crank allows for a firing rate of about 600-800 rounds a minute. Some of these guns had a rear mounted crank which allowed a much higher rate of about 1,500 rounds a minute The donut shaped brass Accles drum magazine is mounted on top of the barrel housing. The carriage is steel construction with an ammunition box mounted on top of the axle housing on each side of the gun. The right front of the housing is stamped “WATERVLIET ARSENAL.” and “U.S. No. 34 1886” on the left side. The same marking is repeated on the axle housing on the carriage. The stampings are red paint filled. All of the carriage has been nicely painted black. The carriage has two large tan painted spoked wheels with iron rims. Behind the gun on the yoke is a spring loaded seat. The caisson attaches to the yoke of the carriage by means of the towing hook and also is constructed of steel, painted black and has large wooden spoked wheels with iron rims.