3rd June 1761 - birthday of Lieutenant-General Henry Shrapnel

500px Henry shrapnel

On the 3rd June 1761, Henry Shrapnel was born in Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire[1].

Later in life he lived in the Kings House, in Salisbury Cathedral Close.

He was well known in his time for inventing ‘an explosive shell capable of being fired from existing artillery pieces; the device was in the form of a hollow spherical case, filled with small, round shot and a charge of powder, which was ignited by a fuse of variable length inserted in the base of the shell. The released shot, he hoped, would lethally spray the enemy[2].’

Like Lazlo Biro, W.H. Hoover or John Macadam[3], Shrapnel found lasting fame through his name becoming an English noun. ‘Shrapnel’ as a word for ‘fragments of shell’ is first recorded in 1940[4].

Image credits

According to Wikimedia Commons ‘This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.’

Footnotes

[1] John Sweetman, ‘Shrapnel, Henry (1761–1842)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2010 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25473, accessed 17 Jan 2014]

[2] John Sweetman, ‘Shrapnel, Henry (1761–1842)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2010 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25473, accessed 17 Jan 2014]

[3] 10 People Immortalized In Products - Listverse

[4] Online Etymology Dictionary

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