Obscure Patent: Repeating Firearm for Trench Warfare

Reddit can often point me to the most interesting of things. Latest is an old patent form Charles John Cooke, who formally patented (though arguably did not actually make the first one), a repeating firearm for trench warfare. Of principal interest to me is the extended magazine, which shows a single-stack capacity of almost 30 rounds.

The introduction to the patent is particularly profound, with its formal introduction. Below is the introduction but you can click here to be taken to Google’s archive of the patent. 

Be it known that 1, CHARLES JOHN Cooxn, a subject of the King of England, residing at Hongkong, China, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Repeating Firearms for Trench Warfare; and I do hereby declare the following to be a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

My invention relates to firearms, but more particularly to machine guns, or small arms of the rapid-fire or magazine type, as also to novel and improved means for mounting and manipulating the same. It is designed, arranged and especially well adapted to meet defensive requirements of trench warfare, the arm proper being directly mounted upon an elongated magazine of large capacity, which in turn is adjustably mounted upon a supporting rod or pike,thus providing for trenches of varying depths,and further equipped with a suitable periscope by means of which latter the gun may be sighted without exposing an intrenched operator to fire of the enemy.

In modern warfare it is a well recognized fact that an efiort is usually made to concentrate the greatest number of siege guns pos sible upon a comparatively short front in order to prepare the way for invading forces, and for trench blasting operations. When the ai:illery fire ceases an effort is then usually made to capture he enemys works by charging infantry in close or mass formation, so that in the last analysis a military invasion becomes practically a hand to hand conflict, either with bayonets or close range small arms. Under these conditions it is apparent that intrenched defenders provided with an equipment such as contemplated by the present invention, must of necessity have an immense advantage over an advancing adversary in mass formation, in that a veritable stream of death-dealing missiles may thus be literally poured into the invading ranks, from numberless rapidfire machine arms, of the class indicated, without exposing their individual operators.

\Vith these and other objects and advantages in view the present invention will now be particularly described, and then set forth in the claims following.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • noob

    A fitting post since the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings is coming up on April 25th 2014. Downunder the commemoration of the birth of national consciousness associated wit the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) is observed as ANZAC Day every year, and it is a big deal.

    Here is a picture of the Australian Periscope Rifle from wikipedia as used at Gallipoli in WW1 in 1915, with a spotter leaning back on the trench holding an ordinary periscope made out of wood and mirrors.

    • Jake Barnes


  • SS Totenkopf

    millions of European Christian youth had to die in WWI to settle the debts of powerful jewish banking families

    • Vitsaus

      I know you’re trolling but, isn’t christianity derived from Judaism? Isn’t the central eponymous figure of christianity jewish?

      • mosinman

        yes you are correct. and yes he is trolling lol 5/10

    • Julio

      SST. Can I suggest you take a little quiet time, and maybe find some suitable professional help, to reflect on how you can diminish the amount of hate, envy and insecurity in your would view: you will enjoy life more and be a better person for it.

    • RocketScientist

      Mods, can we get this a**hole blocked? Or at least delete his comment? His username references the Totenkopf (death’s head aka skull and crossbones) the symbol of the Stabswache, Hitler’s personal bodyguard, and later the symbol of the Schutzstaffel (the SS), which is also directly referenced in the other half of his name. His comment is filled with bigoted antisemitic vitriol, and contributes nothing to the conversation. Do we have to put up with this crap?

      • DetroitMan

        Agreed. We don’t need this crap soiling an otherwise enjoyable blog.

      • lucusloc

        There is legitimate disagreement and arguing, and then there is inflammatory off topic trolling. The first should allowed (even if the dissenting viewpoints are dumb), the second should be banned. This falls in the second category. Let the troll take his rants to the street corner or less savory corners of the web.

      • Sky Captain

        This is America and it is his right to be an idiot. I think it makes it easier to spot morons when they come right out with their stupidity. I vote it stays.

        • Don Ward

          Nope. This is The Firearm Blog, a private for profit entity that (I presume) does not take federal or state tax dollars. And the owners and editors get to exercise THEIR right to free speech by deciding to expunge Neo-Nazi scumbaggery.

    • UCSPanther

      Another disgusting Neo-Nazi loser who still hasn’t gotten the message that WWII ended with the destruction of his favorite tyrannical regime 70 years ago…

  • LCON

    Corner Shot Circa 1914.
    Pistols and rifles with periscope mechanisms were a hot commodity in the days when a single look above the trench was suicide.

  • Vitsaus

    In before some one suggests that a company picks up this patent, developes it, manufactures it, and charges 99.99 MSRP for it.

    • DetroitMan

      Only if it has plenty of pic rail. And a pic rail mount, because this is a vital accessory for the AR-15. It should probably be made of carbon fiber or advanced polymers to be more tactical.

      • Vitsaus

        Oh yeah, and it has to take Glock mags. I left that out the first time.

  • Avery

    I need a 30-round single stack magazine for a M1911. 😛

    Seriously, how long would that actually be in real life.

    • Zebra Dun

      Longer than a donkey’s pride and joy no doubt.

  • Zebra Dun

    A morale booster no doubt it’s usefulness would be as a watcher or as a targeting device for thrown hand grenades, incoming and out going.
    Put a MAC 10 or shotgun on it and it might be something actually dangerous.

  • Zebra Dun

    Amphibious Trench warfare with all the bells and whistles.
    A Somme on the beaches more or less.