On this day: May 15

POSTED: 10:56 AM PDT May 14, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PDT May 14, 2014 

Las Vegas is founded, Mickey Mouse makes his screen debut, the Soviets begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, and a 16-year-old sailor completes her solo around-the-world journey, all on this day.

OTD May 15 - Defence gun
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Public domain

1718: The "Defence" rapid-fire gun, often considered an ancestor of the machine gun, is patented by London lawyer James Puckle. The tripod-mounted single-barreled flintlock gun featured a pre-loaded revolving cylinder holding 11 charges and could fire 63 shots in seven minutes. The rate of nine shots per minute was three times faster than the fastest infantryman at the time. Puckle would begin manufacturing the gun in 1721, but the gun never entered mass production because gunsmiths at the time couldn't easily produce the its many complicated parts.

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