The Curious Case of the Cartridge Machines: A 19th Century Patent Puzzle

In the late 1800s, a legal battle erupted between two ammunition giants, the Union Metallic Cartridge Company and the United States Cartridge Company, over the technology used to manufacture cartridge shells. The case, which wound its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, offers a revealing glimpse into the early American patent system and the fierce competition in the rapidly industrializing arms industry.