At the special request of President Jefferson, when Secretary of State in Washington's Administration, Mr. Eli Whitney undertook the manufacture of muskets for the United States, taking as a model the Charleville flint-lock, that being the most improved arm in use in Europe. In presenting his views to Mr. Jefferson in reference to the feasibility of making all arms interchangeable, Mr. Whitney met with most violent opposition, both English and French officers ridiculing the idea as an impossibility, and claiming that each arm would be a model and would cost at least one hundred dollars. Supported by the Government, Mr. Whitney prosecuted his labors, and established an Armory where the most perfect uniformity of parts was secured to the great satisfaction of his friend, Mr. Jefferson. The Springfield Armory was established in the year 1800, and the system invented by Mr. Whitney was put in force there. The English War Department was forced to adopt the same system, and put it to practical use in 1855 by importing a large amount of American machinery. Since that date other European governments have adopted the same general system, which is made especially necessary in the proper manufacture of breech-loading small arms.
The sporting rifle weighs 9 to 10 pounds. The barrel is 24 inches long. It carries when loaded 15 cartridges. See Kennedy Rifle and Phoenix Rifle.
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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