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Alexander John Forsyth

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Occupation  Inventor, clergyman
Name  Alexander Forsyth
Children  Mary Forsyth Reid
Religion  Presbyterian

Alexander John Forsyth Glenbuchat Heritage 14 Major Gen Sir Alexander John Forsyth Reid
Full Name  Alexander John Forsyth
Born  28 December 1768 (1768-12-28) Belhelvie
Died  June 11, 1843, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom

Education  King's College, Aberdeen

Alexander John Forsyth (28 December 1769 – 11 June 1843) was a Scottish Presbyterian clergyman who invented the percussion ignition.

Alexander John Forsyth Alexander John Forsyth LLD 17681843 WikiTree FREE Family Tree

Gunsmiths like Joseph Manton invented more reliable forms of ignition, like the tube lock in 1814. The artist Joshua Shaw designed what is recognized today as the percussion cap, which he patented in the United States in 1822, since Forsyth had threatened his rivals in Britain with legal action. These new forms of ignition proved popular among hunters during the Regency period, who had their old reliable flintlocks converted.

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Life

He was educated at King's College, Aberdeen, and succeeded his father as minister of Belhelvie in 1791.

While hunting wild duck, he was dissatisfied with his flintlock fowling-piece due to its long lock time (the delay between the time the trigger is pulled and the time the main charge of gunpowder begins burning); by the time the pellets actually left the barrel, the target animal could hear the noise from the trigger being pulled and have time to either fly, dive, or run before the shot reached it. He patented his scent-bottle lock in 1807; this was a small container filled with fulminate of mercury

During the Napoleonic Wars Forsyth worked on his design at the Tower Armouries. But when a new Master General of Ordnance was appointed he was dismissed; other experiments had had destructive results and the new master general did not wish to see Britain's main arsenal destroyed.

Napoleon Bonaparte offered Forsyth a reward of £20,000 if he took his invention to France, but Forsyth declined. The French gunsmith Jean Lepage developed a similar form of ignition in 1807 based on Forsyth's design, but this was not pursued.

References

Alexander John Forsyth Wikipedia


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