In 1718, James Puckle of London, England, demonstrated his new invention, the “Puckle Gun,” a tripod-mounted, single-barreled flintlock gun fitted with a multishot revolving cylinder. This weapon fired nine shots per minute at a time when the standard soldier’s musket could be loaded and fired but three times per minute. Puckle demonstrated two versions of the basic design. One weapon, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second variant, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets, which were believed to cause more severe and painful wounds than spherical projectiles. The “Puckle Gun” failed to attract investors and never achieved mass production or sales to the British armed forces. One newspaper of the period observed following the business venture’s failure that “those are only wounded who hold shares therein.”
According to the Patent Office of the United Kingdom, “In the reign of Queen Anne, the law officers of the Crown established as a condition of patent that the inventor must in writing describe the invention and the manner in which it works.” James Puckle’s 1718 patent for a gun was one of the first to provide a description.