Whitney musket, about 1812
Popular legend has long held that the muskets Eli Whitney produced for the U.S. Army beginning in 1798 used interchangeable parts. However, close examination and detailed measurement of the guns showed evidence of filing and hand fitting, which meant that their parts were not interchangeable. This musket, along with many other early guns, came to the Smithsonian in 1922, when the Military Service Institution transferred its collections.
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