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Schermuley Pistol Rocket Apparatus



The Schermuly's Pistol Rocket Apparatus (SPRA) was an innovative life-saving tool designed by William Schermuly in 1920. It served a crucial role in maritime rescue operations, specifically for throwing lines between ships, often in situations where lives were at risk.

The SPRA resembled a large firearm-type pistol with a wooden pistol grip, a brass trigger mechanism, and a long steel barrel. It operated by utilizing a short blank cartridge to propel a line, offering a safer alternative to launching boats in hazardous conditions. Upon pulling the trigger, the generated gases ejected the rocket, which then ignited its propellant mixture, propelling both the rocket and the line towards the target. This apparatus proved instrumental in scenarios where distressed vessels were in close proximity to shore, minimizing the need for riskier rescue methods.

William Schermuly's invention received official recognition from the British Navy in 1929 through an Act of Parliament, making it mandatory for ships over 500 tons to carry this equipment. This innovation significantly impacted maritime safety, reflecting the critical importance of such tools in preserving lives and vessels at sea. The SPRA remains a tangible link to this rich maritime history, especially in regions with a history of shipwrecks, like Warrnambool, Victoria.

Origin: United States
Manufactured: 1920s
Manufacturer:  William Schermuly 

Type: Flare Gun

Caliber: 25mm
Barrel Length: 400mm (15.75")
Action: Single Action

Magazine Capacity: 1 Round


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