Erskine S. Allin, Director of the U.S. Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts: Inventing and Manufacturing the New Weapons that Won the Civil War

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Established by an act of Congress, the Armory at Springfield would be instrumental in the successes of the American military from the Revolution to well into the twentieth century. The institution, as well as the individuals within its employ, demonstrates the complexity of the world of politics, history, and military affairs. This book details the history of the Springfield Armory.


“Erskine S. Allin was Master Armorer at Springfield Armory from 1853 until his death in 1879. It would be hard to imagine a more exciting and innovative time in the history of arms making. When Allin started his career at the national Armory at Springfield Massachusetts the flintlock represented the state of the art of small arms ignition. The term flintlock is applied to the mechanism of ignition which was introduced at the beginning of the 17th century. The flintlock quickly replaced earlier firearms-ignition technologies, such as the dog-lock, match-lock, and wheel-lock. It continued to be in common use for over two centuries with essentially no changes. Flintlock muskets were the mainstay of Western armies between 1660 and 1840. It was replaced by percussion cap and, later cartridge-based systems in the early-to-mid 19th century, all within the working life of Erskine S. Allin.”
-Professor Emeritus, James B. Whisker,
West Virginia University

Table of Contents

The Arsenal of Freedom
Roswell Lee
Allin as Master Armorer
Allin and the Civil War Years
Breech Loaders Come to Springfield
The Model 1873 and the 45/70 Cartridge

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