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    Dr. Edward Maynard

    The image above is considered to be Dr. Edward Maynard with a 2nd Model 1865 percussion Maynard with full-length scope. The eight-plate tintype is encased in a wood and pressed paper covered case. An extraordinary find!

    The following short tribute to Dr. Edward Maynard by H.W.S. Cleveland appeared in the May 7, 1891 issue of Forrest and Stream. We are fortunate that a contemporary of Dr. Maynard took the time to write a short memorial for the riflemen of that day. It provides us with numerous details of this gentleman.

    Dr. Edward Maynard

    “The announcement of the death at Washington, D. C., on Monday last, May 4, of Dr. Ed­ward Maynard at the ripe age of more than seventy-seven years, affords a striking illustration of how speedily a man whose name was widely known and honored in his day of active ser­vice may drop out of sight and be almost forgotten in the tur­moil and seething fer­mentation of succeed­ing years, when a new race has come to the front and is absorbed in present issues, while the deeds of yes­terday are only “re­membered as a tale that’s told.”

    “Had Dr. Maynard’s death occurred twen­ty-five or thirty years ago there would have been no need of telling the world who or what he was. Few of his contemporaries are left to-day. To them the mention of his de­cease will awaken many reminiscences of long past years, but to the great mass of readers it will be un­known.

    “He was a man of rare qualities and of rare acquirements, and apart from the elements of character which commanded the respect of all who knew him, and the warm affection of the wide circle of his friends--the world at large is in­debted to him for discoveries the value and importance of which can never be justly estimated, and ought to be gratefully re­membered.

    “He was born in Madison, N. Y., April 26, 1813, entered the Military Academy at West Point in 1831, but owing to delicate health was forced to resign the same year. He then applied him­self to the studies of civil engi­neering, architecture, anatomy and drawing, with an earnest­ness which was a prominent characteristic, and which could never be satisfied with smatter­ing acquirements or with half­way work. He finally adopted the profession of dentistry, and es­tablished himself in Washington in 1835.

    “His discoveries in dental sur­gery have been of such impor­tance and his skill as an opera­tor was so remarkable, that it may be safely said that he has had no superior in his profes­sion, and the honors bestowed upon him in recognition of it in this country and in Europe are sufficient proof of the truth of the assertion.

    “Many of the most important improvements in the instru­ments of dentistry were of his invention. He was the first too successfully practice (in 1838) the thorough filling with gold foil of the nerve cavity, in­cluding the nerve ca­nals in molar and bi­cuspid teeth. He introduced this opera­tion in Europe in 1845, and at St. Pe­tersburg. The Emper­or’s physician, Dr. Arndt, having wit­nessed it, Dr. Maynard was immediately employed as the court dentist. The Emperor (Nicholas I.) offered to give him a title with the rank of Major if he would remain in Rus­sia ten years and teach and practice his profession while at­tached to the court. This he declined, but received from the Em­peror in addition to the sum paid for his services a magnificent diamond ring.

    “In 1857 he accepted the chair of Theory and Practice in the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (the first dental college ever established), and held the like posi­tion in the Faculty of the Dental Department of the National Uni­versity at Washington. He received honorary degrees from leading associations in Europe and America. His winning and always gen­tlemanly and courteous man­ner, his rare intelligence and the wide scope of his information, served to secure the warm per­sonal friendship of all whom he chose to admit to such intimacy, and the large and varied circle of acquaintance he thus made with leading men of all parties, sects and opinions, gave a rare zest to his conversation and made him a most interesting companion.

    “But the honors and friend­ships he acquired through his professional reputation and practice were equaled if not surpassed by those resulting from the exercise of his inven­tive talents in another and en­tirely different field. Thousands of men in every quarter of the globe who were ignorant of the fact that he was a professional dentist are familiar with his name in connection with the Maynard rifle, which was the first breechloader that proved it­self equal in its performance to the best muzzleloading rifles, and may be truly said to have served as the model which has revolutionized the arms of the civilized world. This is neither the time nor the place for de­tailed statements of its peculiar features, but there are circum­stances connected with its his­tory, that in justice to the mem­ory of the inventor should be clearly stated and put on record.

    “The invention was patented several years before the war, and therefore before the demand for improved weapons had incit­ed inventors everywhere to the study of the subject. There had been many previous attempts to construct breech loading guns, but the results had been so ut­terly inadequate to the wants of military service and so far below the required merits of the sportsmen that they served rather to illustrate the difficulty of the problem than to aid in its solution.

    “The perfect simplicity and en­tire efficiency and safety of the system of levers by which in the Maynard rifle necessary move­ments of the barrel are effected can only be compared to the an­atomical system by which the greatest possible ease of motion and resistance to pressure are secured in the animal structure. Yet the ingenuity here displayed was really of secondary importance compared to that of the ammunition and the method of its preparation, which involved the principle by which alone it has thus far been found possi­ble to secure in breechloaders the same degree of precision and force that is attained by muzzleloaders.

    “Dr. Maynard was the first in­ventor of a metallic center-fire cartridge, and the instrument by which it was loaded insured the perfectly true delivery of the bul­let into the barrel of the rifle, and the most exacting tests to which it was subjected served to prove that it had no superior in all essential points, while in fa­cility of manipulation it so far excelled all others that it was at once obvious that a revolution in firearms was at hand.

    Innu­merable efforts at improvements have since been made and are still making, adapting them to the necessities of modern mili­tary service, or increasing their efficiency by various ingenious devices, but in all of them the scientific principles by which Dr. Maynard first secured the prime essentials of precision and force are still adhered to and have never been improved upon. Various changes of detail in the Maynard rifle have from time to time been introduced, but in all its essential features it is the same as the original weapon and still holds its high place in the estimation of lead­ing sportsmen and riflemen throughout the country.

    “Dr. Maynard has himself made many additional inven­tions in connection with fire­arms of very great value, as for instance a register which may be attached to any repeating ri­fle, which indicates at all times the number of cartridges that are in the magazine. He has also made a double-barreled rifle which completely overcomes the previously inevitable defect of unequal accuracy owing to the deflection of one barrel by the heating of the other. Instead of soldering the barrels together he simple clamped them by a most ingenious device, which while perfectly strong and firm, al­lowed the expansion of either barrel without affecting the oth­er. Another advantage was that if desired, a shot barrel might in a moment be substituted for one of the rifle barrels, or a pair of shot barrels in place of the ri­fles. A very beautiful model of such a gun was made and its ef­ficiency proved by careful tests, and so high an authority as Quartermaster-General Meigs said of it that if introduced it would drive all other sporting guns from the market. But it has never been manufactured for sale, and the model alluded to is the only one in existence.

    “The Kings of Sweden and Prussia recognized the great val­ue of Dr. Maynard’s inventions. The former by giving him the Great Medal of Merit of Sweden, an honor rarely conferred, and the latter by decorating him with the Cross of the Red Eagle.

    “The very imperfect statement given of Dr. Maynard’s inven­tions has extended this notice beyond just limit, but the innate modesty and delicate refinement of his nature would never allow him to obtrude his claims upon the public and the services he has rendered are too important to be suffered to pass into oblivi­on.

    “As one of the very few surviv­ing contemporaries who was honored with his friendship, I offer this tribute to his memory.

    H. W. S. Cleveland”


    Dr. Edward Maynard, H.W.S. Cleveland, Forrest and Stream, Volume XXXVI, No. 16, No. 318 Broadway, New York, May 7, ­­­­1891, Page 306

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