Until the 19th century was well along, handguns were limited to single-shot weapons. In 1836, a 22-year old Hartford, Connecticut man, Samuel Colt, came up with a concept for controlled rotation of a firearm that would allow multiple rounds to be fired without reloading. Colt, the son of a textile manufacturer, developed a fascination for […]
Here’s another kind donation to the historic military book collection at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. This is an 1899 first edition of Harpers Weekly “Pictorial History of the Spanish American War”. The artwork is wonderful and the images are unique and interesting. Thank you, Grant Brandon!
Shawn Pease brought this wonderful World War I-era American flag to us. According to his grandfather (who served in the 101st Infantry of the famed “Yankee” Division), the flag “flew in France during the War”. Note the period repairs and patches including two with vintage silk. Shawn and I are figuring out a plan to […]
Pre-American Civil War Providence Horse Guards militia helmet. They sure had style back then. Some of these men formed the nucleus of the First Rhode Island Cavalry who served with great distinction during the U.S. Civil War. Rhode Island’s citizen militias helped make our state regiments some of the most effective units for the Union […]
Our Rhode Island United Train of Artillery leather cap (purportedly worn during the Revolution by Benajah Carpenter) has safely returned to the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia,PA. Carpenter was killed in action at the Battle of Long Island presumably while wearing it. One of the rarest and […]
At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have a U.S. Civil War field desk used by Colonel John Talbot Pittman of the 9th and 11th Rhode Island Volunteers while manning the defenses of Washington DC.
Here’s another small (but fascinating) piece of history tucked away in the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum. This is a piece of the famed US Frigate “Constitution”, known as “Old Ironsides” for its defeat of five British warships during the War of 1812. The piece was owned by Rear Admiral John R. Bartlett of Lonsdale, RI, […]
At the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, we have a Model 1885 Cavalry Officer’s great coat with cape. It’s in remarkable condition. It was loaned to us in 1939 by General Glines. It was used by the Rhode Island State Cavalry Guard.
Here are some before and after images of Varnum Continental’s founding member H.V. Allen’s Kentish Guard uniform jacket from 1900. This job required painters tape, a special vacuum, gentle handwashing in Woolite, and about 5 hours of time. Now the jacket is clean and brighter. Despite the moth damage, it should display nicely at the […]
The Varnum Memorial Armory Museum has become a place where Rhode Island military history is saved from the dust bin of time. This often includes saving the records detailing the more mundane and low-key types of service to our country. Not everyone was in combat. Not everyone was heroic. Not everyone made decisions and actions […]