A 19th Century inventor, rumored to be working on an early version of the machine-gun, left his house one day and never returned.
William Cantelo, an engineer and gun-maker, was experimenting with a new type of gun. Nobody knew what it was, but it produced shots in quick succession. It was clearly not your average rifle.
One day, Cantelo announced to his sons – also engineers – that he had perfected his new invention. It was a machine-gun, a weapon which used the energy of explosive recoil to load the next bullet. It would fire continuously until the bullets ran out. It was revolutionary.
Cantelo and his sons packed it away into cases, and Cantelo went off, presumably to sell it. He frequently travelled on sales trips, as a successful builder of – among other things – ships’ capstans, and other bits of marine engineering.
William Cantelo was never seen again.