Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HOTCHKISS, Benjamin Berkely, inventor, born in Connecticut in 1830; died in Paris, France, 14 February, 1885. He was brought up as a machinist, and as early as 1856 designed a rifle field-gun, which was purchased by the Mexican government. In 1860 he submitted to the United States government an improved system of rifling belt and percussion fuse for projectiles, and after their adoption he engaged in their manufacture in New York. During the civil war, more Hotchkiss shells were used than any other variety except the Parrott shell. Mr. Hotchkiss visited Paris in 1867, and invented an improved metallic cartridge case as a substitute for the paper case then used in the French army. This form was purchased by the French authorities, and its manufacture begun at St. Etienne. He remained in Paris, where he made important improvements in the guns used by different nations, including his revolving cannon, which was adopted in Germany, Holland, Denmark, Russia, Italy, Austria, Chili, China, Norway, and the United States. His next invention of importance was that of a magazine rifle, devised in 1875, and followed in 1882 by a quick-firing gun that has since been adopted in France, England, and the United States. During 1882 the firm of Hotchkiss and Company was formed, and the policy was introduced of manufacturing the guns in the different countries using them. In this manner connections were established in Germany, Austria, Italy, England, and Russia. At the time of his death, Mr. Hotchkiss had the reputation of being the first artillery engineer in the world, and up to July, 1886, his factories had delivered 5,037 guns, of which but two had ever failed the Hotchkiss ordinance company, in which the three original partners are managing directors, was formed in 1887, and arrangements were made by the United States government for the establishment of one of the company's factories in this country.
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