Finally, a use for the organ grinders
by Instant Noodle
EXCELLENT MB. PUNCH, As yours is the most scientific journal of the age, I send you a rough sketch of a big gun I have invented, showing it as it will, doubtless, some fine day be seen in action. I should probably have exposed it at the Paris Exposition, among the other articles of war with which that temple of peace is appropriately crowded, but unluckily the thought of the invention did not jump into my head until Monday morning last ; and it sprang there, oddly enough, just after I had read the account of a new cannon, which was shown to the French EMPEROR a day or two ago, constructed on a principle identical with that which I had cleverly invented. Like the weapon which the EMPEROR inspected, and commended, my gun projects its shot by centrifugal force merely vice gunpowder exploded. By extremely simple mechanism, consisting of about five hundred springs and wires and cogwheels, the impulse first created by the turning of a crank is multiplied ten-millionfold, and becomes a motive power equal to the bursting of half-a-ton of gunpowder. This suffices, amply, to project a dozen musket-balls, or a pound or so of grapeshot, with such velocity that their impingement upon the human frame will certainly prove fatal, not to say injurious. As the gun, with all its mechanism, will only weigh twelve tons, it will be admirably fitted for the use of light artillery ; and, being placed on a small donkey-engine, it may be moved about too rapidly for cavalry, or horse-marines, to take, or overtake, it.
One great advantage of my cannon is, that it will go off without making any smoke, and so the soldiers in command of it can see what they are shooting at. Moreover, it will not be like those mortal engines whose rude throats do counterfeit Jove’s thingummy. (I write too much in a hurry to remember a quotation.) Excepting a slight whirring sound, not much louder than the rash of an express train through a tunnel, my gun may be discharged without making any noise ;
and so the man who lets it off need not put cotton in his ears, which will cause a wondrous saving in the cost of our artillery.
The chief benefit, however, which my cannon will confer upon the civilised community is that it will afford employment for the organgrinders. As they are thoroughly well practised in the turning of a handle, they will be just the very men to work the crank of my new cannon. This notion must secure the success of my invention, for certainly the nation will approve of any plan to free it from the organfiends, and Parliament will cheerfully vote enough supplies to enlist them for the service. It would be easy to attach a barrel-organ to each gun, making it in point of fact a gun-barrel-organ. The same handle might be made to work the organ and the gun, so that tunes and shot together might be played upon the enemy. ” Down Among the Dead Men ” would be a fitting air to go with a discharge : or, when the gun poured forth a volley of balls as thick as hail, the organ might appropriately pour forth the “Hailstone Chorus.” Besides, the music of the organs would produce a highly terrifying effect upon an enemy. Imagine fifty organ-guns all playing different tunes ! What foe would dare to face them, or to venture within earshot ?
Firmly trusting in your influence to get my organ-gun adopted, I beg leave to subscribe myself. Yours truly,
P.S. If anybody says that I have borrowed the idea, and am not the original inventor of my gun, I hereby challenge him to play me, for a thousand puns a side, on any organ he may name, not excluding even the organ of credulity.
(22nd June 1867)