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We present the ‘Helmet Gun’ – it’s rather mind blowing

Sam Dickson

To all whom it may concern: Be it known that I, ALBERT B. PRATT, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of Lyndon, county of Caledonia, State of Vermont, have invented an Improvement in Weapons, of whichthe following description. in connection with the accompanylng drawings, is a specification, like characters on the drawings representing like parts. This invention relates to weapons, and among other objects provides a gun adapted to be mounted on and fired from the head of the marksman.

During WW1 a Albert Bacon Pratt of Lyndon, Vermont, USA, applied and was issued patent No. 1183492 for his invention of a…….. “gun adapted to be mounted on and fired from the head of the marksman.” It was pneumatically operated and the gun was  fired by blowing into a tube. For the non-inventors amongst us the details in the patent application is very technically BUT below are some thoughts from the inventor – Albert Bacon Pratt:

The weapon described has many advantages. The gun is automatically aimed unconsciously and incidentally to the turning of the head of the marksman in the direction of the target. In self-protection, one immediately, instinctively turns the head in the direction of attack to see the enemy, or, in hunting, toward any sound made by nearby game. Thus the gun is automatically directed toward the mark in the course of the first instinctive movement. With the gun thus aimed, the only further operation necessary to fire the same is to blow through the tube and thereby expand the bulb and operate the trigger. This is accomplished entirely from the head of the marksman, leaving his hands and feet free further to defend himself or for other purposes as desired. Under some circumstances the gun can be fired not only without the use of the hands and feet, but also without the use of the eyes of the marksman. For example, in hunting at night if an animal made a sound in underbrush, the head of the marksman would be instinctively turned in the direction of the sound and then the gun would be fired, without the use of the eyes of the marksman.

Furthermore, he goes on to say that his invention is useful in war but also useful at home – in the kitchen:

The crown section of the helmet when detached from the base of the helmet may be inverted and used as a cooking utensil, the elongated hood projecting therefrom for protecting the barrel of the gun serving as the handle therefor.

So you have a gun on your head – how does your neck cope with the recoil issues – Albert Pratt claimed he had solved that concern:

The “blow-back” causes the breech-bolt to retreat and automatically cock the hammer, but the strong spring back of the breech-bolt forces the same so quickly forward again following the recoil, that the two movements naturalize one another so promptly that no discomfort to the wearer results from the recoil.

OK – so you would think this is such a crazy idea that it would resigned to this the history books… and it was!!

Sam Dickson

Sam Dickson is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News