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1883 Patent for the "Butler Projectile" for Rifled Cannon
(JOHN GAZZAM BUTLER). Noted military ordinance expert and Inventor, best known for his "Butler Projectile" for Rifled Cannon, Author of "Projectiles and Rifled Cannon," 1875.
December 25, 1883-Dated, Partially-Printed U.S. Patent Document, for a "New and Useful Improvement in Projectiles," Granted to (General) John G. Butler and Signed by Merritt L. Joslyn, as the Secretary of the Interior, Choice Crisp Very Fine. This is an original Patent No. 290970, dated Christmas Day, December 25th, 1883, headed "Projectiles" and described as for: "an alleged new and useful improvement in PROJECTILES," Signed "M. L. Joslyn" (Merritt Lindsey Joslyn) as Acting U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and "Benj. Butterworth" as U.S. Commissioner of Patents (he was formerly Secretary of the Chicago World's Fair).

Official U.S. Patent with Embossed Red Seal with Blue Silk Ribbon, printed on Vellum, 4 pages, measuring 12" x 8" with the official vignette at Washington, DC at top center. (General) John G. Butler of the U.S. Army, is granted a Patent. The inside of the Document provides the Illustration for Butler's improvement as well as a full 1-1/4 page description of that improvement. The original application for this U.S. Patent was likely initiated while Butler was stationed at the Army's Watertown Arsenal, Mass., from 1880 to Nov. 29, 1882 and was then placed in Command to April 7, 1883. Extremely rare and important in the Military Ordinance History of the United States.

Military History. " Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1859, to June 11, 1863, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to Second Lieut., 4th Artillery, June 11, 1863.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1863-66: in the Tennessee Campaign (Army of the Cumberland), Aug.- Sep., 1863, being engaged in the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., Sep. 19-20, 1863; in Defense (Bvt. First Lieut., Sep. 20, 1863, for Gallant and Meritorious Services at the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga.) of Chattanooga, Ten., Sep. to Nov., 1863; in garrison at Bridgeport, Ala., Nov., 1863, to Jan., 1864; and as Asst. Ordnance Officer (Transferred to Ordnance Corps, Jan. 29, 1864).

Frankford Arsenal, Pa., Feb. 1 to Dec. 11, 1864, being detached to Trenton, N. J., to arm and receive arms of New Jersey Volunteers, May 19 to July 1, 1864, and to Hilton Head, S. C., to provide arms for General Sherman's Army, then marching to the coast, Nov. 23 to Dec. 10, 1864. Served: as Asst. Inspector and Constructor of Ordnance, headquarters New York City, Dec. 11, 1864, to June 4, 1867 and at Scott Foundry, (First Lieut., Ordnance, Mar. 7, 1867) Reading, Pa., Mar. to June 4, 1867; as Asst. Ordnance Officer at Leavenworth Arsenal, Kan., June, 1867, to May 9, 1870, " and at Ft. Monroe Arsenal, Va., May 9, 1870, to May, 1873; in temporary command of New York Ordnance Agency, May to Sep., 1873; as Asst. to Constructor of Ordnance, New York, Sep., 1873, to May, 1876; as Asst. (Captain, Ordnance, June 23, 1874).

Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., May, 1876, to May 25, 1880, " at Watertown Arsenal, Mass., to Nov. 29, 1882 (in command to Apr. 7, 1883), " Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., May 17, 1883, to Sep. 8, 1886, " and at Springfield Armory, Mas., Sep. 15, 1886, to Dec. 24, 1887; and in command of the St. Louis Powder Depot, Mo., Jan. 6, 1888, to """"".

Civil History. " Author of "Projectiles and Rifled Cannon," 1875. Inventor of the "Butler Projectile" for rifled cannon.

Military History. "

(Major, Ordnance, Sept. 15, 1890)

Served: In command of St. Louis Powder Depot, from Jan. 6, 1888 to Nov. 20, 1890. " In command of Arsenal, Augusta, Ga., from Nov. 25, 1890 to Oct. 28, 1895. " At Watervliet Arsenal, Troy, N. Y., from Nov. 1, 1895 to July 30, 1898. " In command of Kennebec Arsenal, Augusta, Me., from Aug. 20, 1898 to June 7, 1899. " In command of the New York Arsenal, from June 10, 1899 to """""; President of the Ordnance Board, and member of the Board for Testing Rifled Cannon, from June 10, 1899 to """""

Military History. " In command of the New York Arsenal, N. Y., from June 10, 1899 to Aug. 14, 1900. " President of the Ordnance Board p111from June 10, 1899 to Aug. 14, 1900. " Member of Board for Testing Rifled Cannon from June 10, 1899

(Lieut.-Colonel, Ordnance Dept., Feb. 2, 1901)

to Aug. 14, 1903. " In command of the Watertown Arsenal, Mass., from Sept. 11, 1900

(Colonel, Ordnance Dept., Aug. 16, 1903) to Jan. 21, 1904.

(Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Jan. 21, 1904)

Retired from Active Service Jan. 22, 1904,

at his own request, after over 40 Years' Service.


Merritt L. Joslyn was the son of Lindsey Joslyn, a probate and county judge in Woodstock, IL. Merritt served as Captain of Co. H., 36th IL. Vols.,. during the Civil War and was afterwards a member of the House and Senate of Illinois. He was the first Assistant Secretary of the Interior in Chester Arthur's administration, and was Secretary of the Interior ad interim from March 4-6, 1885, in Grover Cleveland's administration. His son, Marcellus L. Joslyn (1873-1963) formed the Joslyn Manufacturing and Supply, Co. of Chicago, which was the U.S. leader in electrical surge and transient protection for power, communications, transportation and industrial process control. Benjamin Butterworth was the son of a Virginia slave-owner, who had a personal awakening, freed his slaves and moved to Ohio where Benjamin was later born. He became associated with Levi Coffin in the "underground railroad" helping to free slaves before and during the Civil War. Beginning in 1861, Benjamin practiced law in Cincinnati. He was Asst. U.S. District Attorney in 1868 and was a Ohio state senator in 1874 and 1875. He served in the U.S. Congress from 1879-83, and 1885-91. For a time, while in Congress, he served as chairman of the Committee on Patents. In 1883 he was appointed a commissioner of the Northern Pacific Railroad. From late 1883 until March 1885 he served as Commissioner of Patents. He served as Secretary of the 1893 World's Fair (Columbian Exposition). He again served as Commissioner of Patents from 1896 to his death in 1898, from pneumonia. John G. Butler (1842-1914), the recipient of this patent, graduated from West Point in 1863. After graduating he was appointed 2d Lt. of Battery M, 4th U. S. Artillery in the Army of the Cumberland, Tenn. campaign. He was Brevetted for gallant and meritorious services in battle of Chickamauga. He was then transferred to Ordnance Corps in 1864. After the war he stayed in the Army and served on various special duties and at 15 Arsenals and stations over a 40 year period, retiring in 1904 as a Brigadier General in the regular army. He also held a number of other U.S. Patents for improvements to ordnance and armaments.
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