The Mills Cartridge Belt
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The Mills Cartridge Belt

The Mills Cartridge Belt


The Mills Cartridge Belt

The Mills Cartridge Belt

The Mills cartridge belt was invented in 1866 by Captain (now Brigadier-General) Anson Mills, of the U. S. Army. His purpose was to provide an acceptable substitute for the clumsy box then used for carrying fixed ammunition. He first made belts of canvas, forming loops by sewing additional strips to the body of the belt. It was difficult, however, to make these loops uniform in size, or cylindrical, and after many experiments the inventor perfected a method of weaving the belt and loops in a homogeneous fabric of cotton. The loops thus formed are cylindrical, affording perfect friction at all points on the circumference of the shell, and they are also uniform in size and equidistant from each other, giving the belt a neat and attractive appearance. The belt thus formed is exceedingly durable, and, by reason of its flexibility, more comfortable to wear than any other belt. Not only in the Army, but among sportsmen and all others who have occasion to carry fixed ammunition, the belt became widely popular as soon as it was introduced The adoption of the belt by the United States Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as by the National Guard of the several States, and by many Foreign Governments, followed its introduction in due course. For many years the manufacture of the Mills belts was conducted by Thomas C. Orndorff, who invented the method of weaving one loop above another so as to produce what is generally known as the Orndorff, or double-loop belt. This belt is now used exclusively by the United States Army and the Army of Great Britain. It is essentially a military belt, for use where it is desired to carry a maximum of ammunition. For sporting purposes the single-loop Mills belt meets every need. The belts vary in depth from 3 inches to 2 inches, with loops from 24 inches to 34 inch.

In wearing this belt, care should be taken to have the cartridges well set down in the loops. The belt should never be thrown about upside down, but always worn with the larger mouth of the loop upwards, and the cartridges extracted as is illustrated in the drawing. The wearer should start the cartridges from the bottom with his second, third and fourth fingers, and withdraw them by their heads from the top with the thumb and forefinger. If care is taken to conform to these instructions, there is no reasonable possibility of loss of cartridges, but, of course, if the belt is worn upside down or thrown about carelessly the cartridges will fall out, just as the contents of a soldier's pocket would escape if he hung his trousers up by their legs.

Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.

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