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Jean Samuel Pauly
Born (1766-04-13)April 13, 1766
Switzerland Vechigen
Died 1821 (aged 54–55)
Nationality Swiss
Other names Samuel Johann Pauli
Occupation gunsmith

Jean Samuel Pauly (April 13, 1766 – 1821), he was born as Samuel Johann Pauli, was a famous gunsmith of the early 19th century. Pauly was born at Vechigen near Bern, Switzerland on 13 April 1766.[1]


In 1798, at 32, Pauly became an Artillery sergeant.[2] He fought as a member of the Swiss Army, together with the French, under Masséna. During his campaigns, in 1799, Pauly wrote a manual about the usage of firearms.

Pauly moved to Paris in 1802 where he worked on designing an airship and maintained contact with the weapon manufacturer of Saint-Étienne. In 1804 he designed an automatic bridge. Pauly used for himself the title "Colonel Jean Samuel Pauly".[2] He established a gunsmith worshop where he developed mercury fulminate platina. In 1809 he employed the German Johann Nikolaus von Dreyse who would later become the inventor of the famous Dreyse rifle.

Self-contained cartridge

In Paris in 1808, in association with French gunsmith François Prélat, Pauly created the first fully self-contained cartridges:[3] the cartridges incorporated a copper base with integrated potassium chlorate[4] primer powder (the major innovation of Pauly), a paper casing and a round bullet.[2] The cartridge was loaded through the breech and fired with a needle or a pin. The needle-activated central-fire breech-loading gun would become a major feature of firearms thereafter.[5] The corresponding firearm was also developed by Pauly.[3] Pauly made an improved version which was protected by a patent on 29 September 1812.[3] The cartridge was further improved by the French gunsmith Casimir Lefaucheux in 1836.

Upon the fall of Paris to the allies on 5 April 1814, von Dreyse left for Prussia and Pauly left for London, where he continued developing various weapons under the sponsorship of Durs Egg.


  1. "Johannes Samuel Pauly, later known as Jean Samuel or Samuel John, was born near Berne, Switzerland, in 1766" in Encyclopedia of Firearms - Page 225 by Harold Leslie Peterson
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Firearms by Roger Pauly p.94
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chemical Analysis of Firearms, Ammunition, and Gunshot Residue by James Smyth Wallace Page 24 [1]
  4. Pistols: an illustrated history of their impact by Jeff Kinard Page 106 [2]
  5. A History of Firearms By W. Y. Carman p.121

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