Coffee Mill Gun
The Coffee Mill Gun is a popular nickname for the Agar Gun, a manually-operated early machine gun used during the American Civil War.
It was designed by inventor Wilson Agar in 1861 and so nicknamed due to its resemblance to a common household coffee grinder of the time. The early Agar Guns did not use metal cartridges, instead, standard .58 caliber Minié ball paper cartridges were loaded into metal cylinders with percussion caps situated at the rear, which acted similarly to a primer in a modern metallic cartridge. Loaded cylinders were fed into a hopper. Cranking the handle would load cylinders into the gun, drop a wedge into place to seal the breech, and release a hammer to strike the percussion cap at the back of the cylinder. Used cylinders would be ejected out of the left side of the gun, where they could be collected and reused.
In 1861, Wilson Agar demonstrated the weapon personally to President Abraham Lincoln, who was impressed by its capabilities. He immediately ordered all ten available guns to be purchased for $1,300 (approximately $44,500 in 2022) each. Another 50 were later purchased. The United States Army Ordnance Department dismissed the weapon, seeing it as too inefficient with ammunition. As such, it was primarily relegated to static defenses away from the frontlines and saw limited use. While impressive in a controlled environment, the Agar Gun proved less than reliable in combat conditions. It overheated quickly (which was somewhat alleviated by Wilson Agar introducing a quick-change barrel system in later models), jammed frequently, and the steel cylinders it used to feed ammunition were heavy, expensive, and tended to get misplaced easily. In one account, Lieutenant Colonel George Vincent Fosbery (of Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver fame) reported that after firing one hundred rounds in a minute, the weapon's barrel glowed white hot, with fused metal leaking from the muzzle. Furthermore, the ammunition cylinders formed an imperfect seal that often led to operators being pelted by hot debris and could reduce muzzle velocity of further shots.
17 Agar Guns were also captured by the Confederate States and used sparingly. One was used to fire at a Union observation balloon in 1864- likely the first anti-aircraft use of machine guns in history.
While innovative, the Agar Gun did not reach the level of success its much more famous contemporary, the Gatling Gun, did.
The Coffee Mill Gun and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:
|Game Title||Appears as||Mods||Notation||Release Date|
|History Channel Civil War: Secret Missions||Unnamed||2008|