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Richard Gatling
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    (September 12, 1818-February 26, 1903)
    Born in Hertford County, North Carolina
    Best know for inventing the Gatling gun, the first successful machine gun (1861)
    He earned a medical degree, but never practiced as a doctor.
    He lost several fortunes to bad investments.
    The US Army declined to purchase Gatling guns, allegedly due to concerns over the inventor's Southern roots.
    He later wrote that he invented the gun to reduce the size of armies -- and thus reduce the number of casualties in battle -- and to demonstrate the futility of war. (See how well that idea worked out.)
    He got his start as an inventor working with agricultural machinery, patenting a seed drill, a hemp breaking machine and several tractors.
    His first factory to produce Gatling guns was destroyed in a fire.
    He was elected as the first president of the American Association of Inventors and Manufacturers (1891-97).
    Despite his bad investments, he earned enough off his inventions to still be rich when he died.

Credit: C. Fishel

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