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Todays blog comes to you from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. I have officially started to blog about some of the things that I do at work. Historic Scientific Instruments (HSI) is one of the 11 division in the museum and where I currently spend some of my time. We are in the middle of emptying out the space where the HSI collection is being housed and moving it to a temporary space.


There have been many, many objects that I’ve lamented about not blogging about so far in our unpacking phase but what has triggered the blog…. a gun.


This is a short-ranged air rifle probably from the early 1800′s produced by G. Wallis as etched on the gun. This gun was donated from the Physics department and was used for demonstrations in classrooms (doing what, I don’t know). The little bit of info I’ve been able to glean from the web indicates that George Wallis was a gunsmith from Hull England and died around 1803 although his gunsmith shop seems to have been sold after his death. Being a bit of a gadgety person I needed to find out how exactly these guns operated.


A small canister is pumped full of compressed air by a manual pump. This particular gun has a ball reservoir that attaches to the bottom of the gun (it’s in the collection but we haven’t unpacked it yet.)  This air rifle is a muzzle loaded air rifle meaning that only a single bullet could be loaded into the barrel of the gun. You can see the rod attached under the barrel that is used to push the bullet in. Pull the trigger, compressed air releases and the bullet comes flying back out, with close to the same amount of force as a modern 9mm pistol.


I can’t wait to see what’s packed away in the next box.



Lynn Jones is museum assistant at the Yale Peabody Museum currently working out of the West Campus Collections Building. She has worked in the entomology, paleobotany, vertebrate paleontology, vertebrate zoology and botany divisions.

Taken from the following blog: Daily Dose of Dorkiness

Lynn, much appreciations for

Lynn, much appreciations for sharing with us the view of this piece, that is really priceless and it it was not here, I do not where I would be able to get a glimpse of it!

This is the reason wahy I've

This is the reason wahy I've always wanted to work in a museum. This is the only place you could peck at such a valuable items. This is really wonderful!

A real masterpiece. that

A real masterpiece. that weapon is absolutely priceless. Thanks for the great post!

This reminds me of a set of

This reminds me of a set of Austrian air compression rifles used around the same time in Europe. I can't remember the exact name for them but they were pretty impressive considering the times when flintlock rifles and pistols were the norm. A very interesting piece :)