McLean's Peace Makers

In the late 1870's James H. McLean decided that it was not enough to alleviate pain and suffering: he would use his talents to eliminate war. His plan was to devise weaponry so terrible that no country would dare use it for fear it would be used against them.

McLean found an ally in Myron Coloney, a Saint Louis newspaperman, inventor and spiritualist. The two began to amass patents for armaments and defenses, often trying to secure foreign patents as well. In 1880 the two produced a book, Dr. J.H. McLean's Peace Makers, in which they illustrated their fearsome weapons and indulged in grandiose self-promotion.

"The result has proven the wisdom of the enterprise, and the revolution in arms, and in the art of war, is an accomplished fact, and he (Dr. McLean) is now able to say to the world with much more potency than will at once be admitted, 'ALL NATIONS ARE COMMANDED TO KEEP THE PEACE.'"

Copies of the book were sent to crowned heads of the world. What most of them thought is not recorded, but reportedly the Sultan of Turkey wanted to order one of each of the weapons, and offered McLean a post in his army.

The patent issued to Coloney for improvements in a machine gun. Many more patents issued to him are in a collection in Saint Louis. After issue, these were assigned to McLean.

A drawing from the patent.

McLean and Coloney were helped to obtain their patents by Knight Brothers who maintained offices in Washington as well as Saint Louis and Cincinnati.

A French receipt for filing a patent?

Drawings submitted in connection with a French patent application.

Part of a British patent transfer.

Signatures of McLean and Coloney on another British patent transfer document. The two eventually parted ways, and some lawsuits ensued.