Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), born in Bradford-on-Avon, received a commission from the British army and served as an artillery officer in Gibraltar, the West Indies, and Newfoundland. During his career he rose from the rank of lieutenant to lieutenant general. Shrapnel began investigating hollow projectiles at age twenty-three and worked on this project for twenty-eight years, sometimes spending his own money to buy necessary materials. His first shell was used with horrendous effect in Surinam on the coast of South America to capture the Dutch possessions in Guiana in 1804. The Duke of Norfolk spoke highly of this projectile, and the Duke of Wellington used it in 1808 and later against Napoleon at Waterloo.
   The shrapel shell consisted of a spherical projectile filled with a number of lead balls and a small charge of black powder set off by a time fuse so that it would explode in midair, scattering the shot with great force over a wide area. It was considered an excellent and reliable antipersonnel weapon for offense until World War II, when it gave way to more advanced weaponry. However, the word for shell fragmentation or any explosive device came to be called shrapnel, now a generic name applied to a variety of shell explosives, whether from artillery, bomb, or mine.
   Shrapnel never understood why the British government would not compensate him for his untiring and persistent work in perfecting the invention of the explosive or even to reimburse him for the personal money he spent on it. As an old soldier, he faded away, a disappointed man.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shrapnel — is the term originally applied to an anti personnel artillery shell which carried a large number of individual bullets to the target and then ejected them forwards, relying almost entirely on the shell s velocity for their lethality. Today the… …   Wikipedia

  • shrapnel — ou shrapnell [ ʃrapnɛl ] n. m. • 1827; mot angl., du nom de l inventeur ♦ Obus rempli de balles, qu il projette en éclatant. ● shrapnell ou shrapnel nom masculin (de H. Shrapnel, nom propre) Obus rempli de balles. ● shrapnell ou shrapnel… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Shrapnel — Shrap nel, a. Applied as an appellation to a kind of shell invented by Gen. H. Shrapnel of the British army. n. A shrapnel shell; shrapnel shells, collectively. [1913 Webster] {Shrapnel shell} (Gunnery), a projectile for a cannon, consisting of a …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shrapnel — ► NOUN 1) small metal fragments thrown out by the explosion of a shell, bomb, etc. 2) shells designed to burst short of the target and shower it with shrapnel. ORIGIN named after the British soldier General Henry Shrapnel (1761 1842), inventor of …   English terms dictionary

  • Shrapnel — ist der Name folgender Personen: Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842), britischer Offizier und Erfinder John Shrapnel (* 1942), britischer Schauspieler Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wo …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • shrapnel — (n.) 1806, from Gen. Henry Shrapnel (1761 1842), who invented a type of exploding, fragmenting shell when he was a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery during the Peninsular War. The invention consisted of a hollow cannon ball, filled with shot,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • shrapnel — /ˈʃrapnel, ingl. ˈʃræpnæl/ [vc. ingl., dal n. del generale H. Shrapnel, che la inventò] s. m. inv. granata, bomba …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • shrapnel — [shrap′nəl] n. [after H. Shrapnel (1761 1842), Brit general who invented it] 1. an artillery shell filled with an explosive charge and many small metal balls, designed to explode in the air over the objective 2. the balls scattered by such an… …   English World dictionary

  • Shrapnel — (engl., spr. schräppnel), s. Schrapnells …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Shrapnel — (Shrapnell), ein Geschoß mit dünner Wandung, welches mit Kugeln und Sprengstücken gefüllt ist. S. Munition …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Shrapnel — Shrapnel, s. Schrapnell …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.