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Gatling Gun and Richard Jordan Gatling

Gatling gun and Richard Jordan Gatling (created by M. Howell 1/2009)

Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling (b. 1818 - d. 1903) was an Indianapolis inventor and physician.  He invented the Gatling gun, a rapid fire weapon, and had the first prototypes made here in the city.  He received a U.S. Patent on November 4, 1862.  (Patent No. 36,836).  He eventually sold his patent to the Colt Company in Connecticut. The slang term ‘Gat’ is derived from Mr. Gatling’s name. Dr. Gatling is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.


(IND 623.44 W136G) Wahl, Paul Francis.  The Gatling gun. New York : Arco Publishing Co. 1965.

(IND 623.4424 J66G) Johnson, F. Roy. The Gatling gun and flying machine of Richard and Henry Gatling.  Murfeesboro, N.C. : Johnson Publishing Co. 1979.

(IND 608 M667)Minturn, Joseph Allen. The Inventor’s Friend. Indianapolis : Meridian Publishers. 1893. pgs 82-84.

(IND 683.4 L743G) Lindert, Albert W. Gunmakers of Indiana. Illinois : Sheffield Press, 1968.

Government Documents

(p.d. 623.4 Un58mp Vol. 3 no. 59 [within volume it is no. 1769]) “Handbook of the Gatling Gun, Caliber .30”. Washington D.C.: GPO. 1917.

(p.d. 623.4 Ung58) "Report on Gatling Guns of Large Caliber". Ordnance Memoranda No. 17, 1874.  


(IND 610.5 J86i) Bonsett, Charles A. M.D. “Medical Museum Notes”. Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association. v. 71 No. 9, September 1978. pg 802 Portrait.

(IND 610.5 J86i) Bonsett, Charles A. M.D. “Medical Museum Notes”. Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association. v. 81 No. 12, December 1988. pg 1006 Portrait.

(IND 610.5 I385i) Stark, William A. M.D. “Richard Jordan Gatling 1818-1903. Indiana Medical History Quarterly. Vol. 4 No. 1 March 1978. cover, pgs 3 and 15-19.

(Ref Microfilm F486 O51) Shira, Donald D. M.D.  “Contribution of Ohio Physicians to the Inventions of the Period, 1835 – 1858”. Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly. Oct-Dec 1940, pgs 318-320.

(IND 634.9 O94) Funk, Arville L. “Doctor Gatling and His Famous Gun”. Outdoor Indiana.  Vol. 7 No. 11 May 1964, pg 26-29.

(IND 366.1 I385) “Indiana Mason Inventor of First Rapid-Fire Gun”. Indiana Freemason. Vol. 35 No. 6, November 1957. Pg. 12-13.


(MSS L34) John Coburn Collection, papers 1850-1904. Correspondence: Gatlin to Coburn, 21-December-1873. Indiana State Library, Manuscripts Division.

Newspapers (more items in the newspaper card index under Gatling)

(IND 70 T819 - microfilm) Rosser, M.L. “Dr. Richard Gatling, Man of many talents”. Tri-State Trader. Vol.5 No. 47. March 3, 1973 pg 6.

(IND 70 T819 – microfilm) Irons, Larry R. “Machine Gun’s Inventor Self-Proclaimed Pacifist”. Vol. 18 No. 21, August 19, 1985. pg 13B.

“Death, Richard J Gatling” Indianapolis Journal 2/27/1903 page 4 c. 7

“Death, Mrs. Gatling” Indianapolis Star 9/28/1908 page 10 c. 4

“Tests new gun for public and Governor Morton” Indianapolis Daily Journal 5/30/1862 page 3


(IP 623.4 no. 1) “Gatling Gun” , extracted from  The Great Industries of the U.S., 1872.  T.B. Burr & Hyde : Hartford, CT. pgs 944-950

(IP* 623.4 no. 1) Gatling's system of fire-arms, with official reports of recent trials and great success.  Descriptions, general directions, etc.  

(IP 623.4 no. 2) Gatling Battery.  This implement of warfare was invented and patented by R.J. Gatling, of Indianapolis, Ind. Nov. 4th, 1862. McWhinny, Rindge & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. 1863

IN MH 4-30-2009