Orison Blunt (Orison Blunt)

Orison Blunt

Inventor, Businessman. He went to sea at 14, made several voyages, and settled in New York City, New York. Within a few years he and a fellow gunsmith’s apprentice started their own business as firearms dealers, which made Blunt one of New York’s wealthiest men, enabling him to expand his interests to real estate, insurance and banking. In 1853 he was elected to the city’s Board of Aldermen, and reelected in 1857. In 1858 he was elected to a three year term on the New York County Board of Supervisors. In 1860 the state legislature increased terms to six years, and Blunt was reelected in 1861.  During the Civil War he was one of the Union’s biggest suppliers of rifles.  As a prominent Republican who supported the Lincoln administration, he worked with his usual political opponent, Tammany Hall leader William Tweed, to quell New York City’s 1863 draft riots, first convincing President Abraham Lincoln to temporarily suspend enforcement of the draft, and then overseeing a fund that paid bonuses to draftees and settled claims for property damage caused during the riots.  In 1863 he was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for New York City Mayor, losing to Democrat C.G. Gunther.  Having already received several patents for improvements to both rifles and pistols, during the war Blunt invented the “pepper box gun”, a crank operated repeating firearm that fired 70 rounds per minute and is the forerunner of the modern machine gun.  He became less active as his health began to fail in the late 1870s, and he died at his East 53rd Street home from congestive heart failure and other complications. (bio by: Bill McKern)  Family links:  Spouse:  Eliza Morris Blunt (1832 – 1862)


  • July, 27, 1815
  • USA


  • April, 04, 1879
  • USA


  • Green-Wood Cemetery
  • USA

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