Walter Hunt

Made forerunner of Winchester

Born—Martinsburg, N. Y July 29. 1796

Died—New York City, June 8. 1859

Walter Hunt was a professional inventor and machinist with no business acumen whatsoever. He learned the machinist trade in his hometown and worked there until 1826. He moved to Brooklyn and attempted to set up a shop to manufacture a flax-spinning machine he had invented. The project collapsed in less than a year because of lack of capital, and Hunt began an endless round of experiments and inventions, many of which might have made him a fortune if he had had the money or the business ability to exploit them properly.

Among the Hunt inventions were a heating stove, a spring strap, an ice boat, a nail-making machine, an inkstand, a fountain pen, a forest saw, an alarm gong for police stations, a safety pin, and a sewing machine. The last 2 were probably Hunt's most important innovations, but neither brought him success. Safety pins were well known in antiquity, but Hunt's pattern was the forerunner of those used today. The story is that he invented it to pay a debt. At any rate, he sold all rights to it for $100. His sewing machine predated Howe's and was very similar to it, but he never patented it and so lost all rights to Howe.

Hunt is best known to gun students, however, for his work on breech-loading arms. First he developed a bullet with a hollow base large enough to hold its powder charge and closed by a cork wad pierced with a hole to transmit the flash from a separate primer. He patented the bullet in 1848, and the next year he obtained a patent on a gun to use it. This gun. which he called a "volitional repeater", had a tubular magazine under the barrel and a straight-drive firing pin impelled by a spiral spring, both features well ahead of their time. The repeating mechanism was too fragile and complicated, but it formed the basis for the Winchester rifle after improvements by Lewis Jennings, B. Tyler Henry, Horace Smith, and Daniel Wesson. As with flmost all his inventions, he promptly old it to someone else for development.

Hunt married in 1812 or 1814 and had 4 children. He died poor at the age of 63.—Harold L. Peterson

Children Walter HuntWalter Hunt Sewing Machine ImagesWalter Hunt Rifle

The Sako Vixen (now Al) Rifle in the De Luxe version. Skip-line checkering and extra-high luster bluing differentiate De Luxe from standard sporter or heavy-barrel models.

Production of the 7 mm Mag. Golden Anniversary Models began in 1971.1000 rifles with engraving and carved stocks were made to commemorate Sako's 50th year In business.

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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