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Robert Parker Parrott
Robert Parker Parrott was born in Lee, New Hampshire on October 4, 1804. After his graduation from the U.S.M.A. in 1824, he was assigned to the 3rd Regiment of Artillery and served for several years as an instructor at West Point. He later served as an ordnance officer at various posts and had attained the rank of Captain by 1836, when he resigned to take the position of superintendent at the West Point Foundry.

He is best known for developing a new process for producing rifled cannon. In his process, cast iron barrels are reinforced by heat-shrinking a wrought iron band around the breech while rotating the entire assembly to ensure even cooling. The distinctive looking weapons which result are known by his name.

The foundry began producing 10 Pdr Parrotts in 1860, and larger models over the course of the following several years. Parrott also designed and gave his name to the projectile designed for use with his rifles.

Parrott remained with the West Point Foundry until 1867. He died on December 24, 1877.

Image from the Smithsonian Institution.
  ©2005 Richard McCoy. View Copyright Info or learn more About the Author.