GATLING, Richard Jordan, American in ventor: b. Hertford County, N. C., 12 Sept. 1818; d. New York, 1903. While a boy he as sisted his father in perfecting a machine for sowing cotton seed, and another for thinning out cotton plants. Subsequently he invented a machine for sowing rice. Removing to Saint Louis in 1844, he adapted this invention to sowing wheat in drills. For several winters he attended medical lectures in Cincinnati, and in 1849 removed to Indianapolis, where he en gaged in railroad enterprises and real estate speculations. In 1850 he invented a double acting hemp brake, and in 1857 a steam plow, which, however, he did not bring to any prac tical result. In 1861 he conceived the idea of the revolving battery gun which bears his name. Of these he constructed six at Cincinnati, which were destroyed by the miming of his factory. Afterward he had 12 manufactured elsewhere, which were used by General Butler on the James River. In 1865 he improved his inven
tion, and in the year following, after satisfac tory trial, it was adopted into the United States service. It has also been adopted by several European governments. At the time of his death he was perfecting•a few business formali ties prior to placing his new motor plow on the market. Although best known as the inventor of a terrible death-dealing weapon, he was the gentlest and kindliest of men. The sight of returning wounded soldiers early in the Civil War led him to consider how war's horrors might be alleviated. By making war more terrible, it seemed to him nations would be less willing to resort to arms, and he accord ingly devoted himself to the study of ordnance and ballistics, with this end in view.