While I was tracking down the patents on the Bar pistol for Peter Rasmussen’s article last week, I ran across something interesting (well, I think it’s interesting). On the same day that Behr applied for his British patent on the pistol (May 26th, 1898), he also applied for another patent, and they were both granted with sequential numbers. The second patent was – and I’m quoting here – “An Improved Cartridge for Cyclists’ Use for Scaring Dogs and the Like”.
You may have heard of the Velo-Dog revolvers in tiny calibers meant to ward off dogs chasing bicycles, and this was meant to address the same problem. The mixture Behr was patenting? Equal parts gunpowder, magnesium powder, and granulated sulpher. Yep, it’s basically a 19th century pepper spray flash-bang…or Dragon’s Breath ammo for a revolver:You can download the complete patent (although there’s not much more to it) here: Great Britain 1898 patent #11998