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Discussion » Questions » Science and Technology » Fun facts: Did you know the famous "Tommy Gun" design and operation was based on false premise and theory?

Fun facts: Did you know the famous "Tommy Gun" design and operation was based on false premise and theory?

It's true.

The Thompson's mechanism of operation was based on a speculation called the Blisch effect.   Named after A naval Commander, the theory was that two dissimilar metals will adhere to each other under extreme pressures. Thompson used this theory and listed it as the method of operation in his patents. In reality though the Blisch effect doesn't exist as would later be proven and observed.   the design still proved successful and reliable despite this, and while it was designed as " Blisch lock" design.  It turns out it was just another straight blow back design firing from an open blt.  The Blisch effect has no bearing on it's operation in reality.   The idea was this Blisch effect would temporarily lock the bolt closed against the barrel until chamber pressure dropped for the effect to cease.  Luckily for Thomson the design worked on the proven blowback operation principles and the only thing holding the bolt closed while being fried is rthe heavy recoil spring.


Responses


  • 10855
    SO, where is the fun part?
      January 11, 2017 2:06 PM MST
    1

  • 6594
    In that it's a an unusable fact that few know or have a use for.  It's  interesting from an engineering stand point and how iconic the  firearm is.

    Jeez  Sharonna,  just trying to use my talents and knowledge to post something different.  I'll stop.


    ( try getting a chance to shoot one.  i bet it's fun!)
      January 11, 2017 2:10 PM MST
    2

  • 12398
    Don't stop it!
      January 11, 2017 3:57 PM MST
    1

  • 862
    I've always wanted to fire one...
      January 11, 2017 6:12 PM MST
    1

  • 6302
    Standpoint is one word, not two. 

    :)
      January 12, 2017 7:38 PM MST
    0

  • 10855
    Come On, Glis, I didn't mean it, I was just ridin' ya a little bit.   SO SORRY because I like this smart stuff.   Keep it up and I applaud you.
      January 13, 2017 12:01 AM MST
    0

  • 6594
    Just ribbing you back is all. 
      January 13, 2017 12:12 AM MST
    0

  • 6302
    LOL, Sharonna!

    :)
      January 12, 2017 7:37 PM MST
    1

  • 3515
    I never fired a Tommy gun. But you've answered a question I never knew I needed to ask. I thought they were named for the British soldiers who used them. Their slang term for foot soldiers was "Tommy". You never know what you're going to learn on a site like this. 
      January 11, 2017 3:56 PM MST
    2

  • On the related issue of nicknames, the British are occasionally termed 'Limeys' by people from the US.  It is well known this stems from the Royal Navy using limes to counter scurvy on board ships of the line.

    However, the Admiralty originally wanted to supply the sailors with lemons as they were known to contain more vitamin C than limes.  Supply was a problem though, as all the major lemon producers were not in British hands, so they opted for limes instead as the only suitable (though inferior) alternative.  So had history been even slightly different, British people might have been called 'Lemoneys', which I think is a much nicer name.  :)
      January 11, 2017 4:09 PM MST
    2

  • 3515
    In Oz we call them Pommies. It can be a friendly nickname or a vile insult, depending on who delivers it  and how it's said. New Zealanders are sometimes known as "South Sea Pommies" because their diction is slightly more refined than Australians.
      January 11, 2017 4:18 PM MST
    2

  • I think there's a level of mild, amused and friendly derision going both ways, with varying levels of the constituent parts depending on who you're talking to.  Australians have always made me laugh - I recall when Paul Hogan was an actual comedian.  :)

    Oh, and Welsh women do rather well there.  Which is nice.  :)
      January 11, 2017 5:15 PM MST
    1

  • 3515
    Hogan did some clever stuff. I was never really a big fan but I liked some of his humour. 

    Welsh women? Dunno.New South Welsh women do pretty well. I've been keeping one in the lap of luxury for  most of my life. :) 
      January 11, 2017 5:21 PM MST
    0

  • 2043
    Fun fact: no idea what you talkin' bout :) 
      January 11, 2017 5:40 PM MST
    2

  • 862
    That is really interesting. So how much 'later' are we talkin' here, how long did it take to be discovered? Do you happen to know?
      January 11, 2017 6:18 PM MST
    1

  • 6594
    Not very long. It was designed in 1920 and it had a brass or bronze H lock that was to take advantage of the supposed Blisch effect.  The principle became suspect but remained.   When the original design was revamped in WW2 for the M1A1 engineers completely removed the H lock from it.   The other big changes to the M1/M1A1 was it wouldn't except  drum mags and the charge handle being moved from the top to the side of the receiver.
      January 11, 2017 11:12 PM MST
    1

  • 862
    Wow, that is such a cool bit of information that I never knew, thanks for passing it on. I've always wanting to fire one, now even more :)
      January 12, 2017 2:42 PM MST
    1

  • 6594
    Me too.  I've shot semi-auto only one, but never the chance of a full-auto.
      January 12, 2017 2:45 PM MST
    2

  • 862
    Same here. And I wanna scream: "You'll never take me alive, copper!" while I'm firing it. What can I say, I have strange aspirations ;)
      January 12, 2017 6:34 PM MST
    2

  • 6594
    Meh, shee..
      January 12, 2017 11:43 PM MST
    1