It wasn't until the fulminate of mercury
was made into a solid pellet and put into a convenient metal container--the percussion cap--around 1820 that the percussion system of ignition took off.
Before leaving the subject of fulminate of mercury
, I should mention that while the use of primers containing it in commercial ammunition ended during the late 1920s, they continued to be loaded in military ammunition for many years thereafter.
A rim "bumped" onto that end was filled with fulminate of mercury
Fulminate of mercury
gets some pretty righteous product placement; everyone with a score to settle is going to want some.
Terror, in the form of militant anarchism--the Al Qaeda of its era--had already been on the march for a generation, its detonations caused by such devices as the "Orsini bomb," whose sinister horns were filled with fulminate of mercury
, which exploded on impact, thus bypassing the need for a fuse.
The explosive mixture to be packed inside was fulminate of mercury
, a highly volatile sandy-coloured crystalline powder substance.
The lever action firearms they developed was designed around a caseless Rocket Ball cartridge consisting of a hollow base bullet containing a powder charge, reported by some sources as fulminate of mercury
, and capped with a primer.
By means of a wheel or finger, individual dots of fulminate of mercury
were automatically placed in position over the percussion nipple when the gun was cocked.