Nautical Antiques & Marine Art at Land and Sea Collection™ Dive Helmets, Ship Models, Sextants

Rare Carrying Case SCHERMULY Line Throwing Pistol

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LINKS

To view our current Schermuly Line Throwing Pistol, case, rockets, and cartridges, a complete kit, click here!

This Fine Relic Has Been Sold. Thank you!
 
RARE CARRYING CASE FOR SCHERMULY
BRITISH
LIFE SAVING
LINE THROWING DEVICE

 

THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM IN LONDON  HAS NO EXAMPLES of the CASE!
 
 
Presented is an authentic carrying case for a line throwing pistol of pre-WW II vintage. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE DEVICE OR ANY WEAPON. The case held an example that was exactly like the Schermuly that is on display at London's National Maritime Museum. The case otherwise is complete in all respects including never used coiled throwing lines in their separate sealed compartments. It has the maker's brass seal on its cover. Except for some scratches, dent and dings and missing paint the it is in overall "good" condition.
 

 

 
SIZE: 25" L x 20" D x 7" H                   Weight 40 pounds
 
BRIEF HISTORY: The Schermuly founder was William Schermuly 1857-1929. He was one of fathers of modern rocketry. Although William started the business and developed many ideas, it was his third son Alfred James Schermuly, the actual family pyrotechnist, who invented and put into production this particular Line gun. Produced during the 1920's and highly successful for the throwing of line from shore to ship, or ship to ship. The Schermuly system saved countless lives at sea. the example offered is a classic of this type of line throwing gun. It is of brass,steel and construction with walnut grips. The pistol is clearly marked "SPRA", and with the British Royal Crown. SPRA is an acronym for Schermuly's Pistol Rocket Apparatus.  
 
National Maritime Museum's Description:
Line-throwing pistol consisting of a long barrel with pistol grip and trigger which fires a short blank cartridge. The cartridge is loaded into the breech of the pistol and the rocket is inserted into the muzzle. On pulling the trigger, the gases generated by the fired cartridge eject the rocket on its correct line of flight, and at the same time, burst through the waterproof disc and ignite the propellant mixture, which carries the rocket and line on the remainder of the flight. The rocket (which is missing) consists of a weldless steel case filled with propellant mixture sealed in by a waterproof disc. Fixed to the rocket case is a direction bridle, to the end of which a short length of flexible steel wire is attached, this in turn being connected to the end of the line to be thrown. The number '503324' and the serial number '585' are stamped on the pistol.
 
U.S.HISTORY of Line Throwing Devices:
The Lyle Gun – Breeches Buoy Lifesaving System


A ship is foundering off the coast – lives are at risk, crewmen must be rescued.  That job falls to the surf men of the U.S. Coast Guard, and prior to 1915, to its predecessor, the U.S. Life-Saving Service.  In situations where the stricken vessel is within a few hundreds yards from shore, it is possible to effect a rescue without putting a rescue craft in the water and needlessly risking the lives of the rescuers.  In such cases, a line is launched from shore to the vessel.  Today a rocket fires that line.  Prior to 1952, a small cannon, a line-throwing gun, was used.

A line-throwing gun is a short-barreled cannon designed to fire a projectile attached to a rope to a boat or victim in distress.  Experiments in shooting tethered projectiles dates back to around 1800.  A mortar device was credited with saving lives in 1850.  But it wasn't until West Point and MIT graduate Army Captain David A. Lyle (1845 - 1937) began his research and testing that resulted in reliable efficient designs. 

 
Thus line-throwing guns are most often referred to as "Lyle Guns."   The U.S. government funded many line throwing gun projects.   There were about 30 companies who made line-throwing guns from the late 1800's to 1952.  Famous names included, American Manufacturing, Galbraith, General Ordnance, Naval Company, Sculler and Steward.  Production ceased in 1952 in favor of rockets. 

These line guns are used primarily for shore based rescue operations.  The shooter would fire, aiming over the victims' heads and then pull the line within reach of the victims.  They are also useful for rescuing victims that have fallen through the ice, or are stranded on a cliff or burning building. 

Boats in distress need larger lines.  Lyle guns were designed to throw projectiles weighing approximately 18 pounds, carrying heavier rope to ranges as great as 700 yards.  Once the line was fired to the ship, shore crews sent out breeches buoy equipment and instructions to the stranded sailors.  Once the breeches buoy lines were assembled, the sailors could be removed from the vessel. 

Standard procedure was for line throwing guns and breeches buoys to be used for wrecks within 600 yards of the shore; rescues at greater distances were to be accomplished by lifeboats.

OUR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original condition and packaging. Returns must be insured for their full value. All that is required is a prior email authorization by us for the return. Unfortunately, no refund can be made for the cost of shipping, packaging and handling unless we are at fault.

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