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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HASKELL, James Riehards, inventor, born in Geneva, New York, 17 September, 1825. He was educated at Richfield (Ohio) academy, and at the preparatory department of Western Reserve college. He was assistant postmaster of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1849-'53, and then engaged unsuccessfully in business in New York. In 1854 he began a series of experiments with steel breech-loading rifled cannon and breech-loading small-arms, manufacturing twenty-five of the former, which were purchased by the Mexican government, and were the first of the description that were made in the United States. In 1855 he began experimenting with multicharge guns in association with Azel S. Lyman, who first conceived the idea of applying successive charges of powder to accelerate the velocity of a projectile. In 1885 congress appropriated funds in order to test these guns, but the bureau of ordnance opposed such action. Mr. Haskell's experiments have cost more than $300,000, and the system is now completed, so that the power of these guns is more than doubled, and at the same time the maximum pressure used is less than that in other guns. In 1862, with Rafael Rafael, he invented and constructed a machine gun for very rapid firing, but, notwithstanding' a favorable report on it by a board of army officers, the authorities refused to adopt it. Mr. Haskell is a member of the American association for the advancement of science, and has written several pamphlets on national armament and on ordnance problems.
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