Captain Bogardus Glass Ball Thrower

    Captain Bogardus Glass Target Ball Thrower (1)

    While browsing the Morphy Auctions catalog for writing one of our recently published articles about anti-tank weapons, I came across this quite an interesting vintage gadget – Captain Bogardus glass ball thrower. This device represents an early trap shooting target thrower except instead of clay pigeons it throws glass balls.

    Captain Bogardus Glass Target Ball Thrower (4)

    This glass ball thrower that reminds a miniature catapult, was designed by a gentleman named Captain Adam H. Bogardus. According to Morphy Auctions, Captain Bogardus was a renown writer and shooter in the late 19th century.

    Captain Bogardus Glass Target Ball Thrower (3)

    Captain Bogardus’ invention was offered in two versions. The simpler one was capable of throwing the balls in one direction only. The price of this version was $6. The more advanced version, which is auctioned at Morphy Auctions, was sold at $8 and it had a possibility to adjust the angle of the thrown glass balls by pivoting the thrower on its wooden base. The three notches on the base part were designed to adjust the tension of the main V-spring thus changing the velocity and distance of the thrown ball.

    Captain Bogardus Glass Target Ball Thrower (2)

    The US patent (188,334) for this apparatus was granted on March 17, 1877. Below you can find an excerpt from the patent.

    To all whom it may concern Be it known that I, ADAM H. BOGARDUS, of Elkhart, in the county of Logan and in the state of Illinois, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Traps for Throwing Glass Balls for Shooting Practice

    To use this trap the foot is placed upon the loose end of the spring, and said spring is pressed down until its end is caught in one of the notches of the bar. The ball is then placed in the cup. When the bare is drawn back by means of the cord the spring is released and casts the ball into the air.

    The speed of the ball can-be increased by catching the spring in the lowest tooth of the bar, or regulated to suit the shooter by the various notches. I may use one, two, or more, springs upon the base for double or other shooting; and these springs may be so arranged as to throw the ballsin different directions or at different angles to suit the party shooting.

    And here is the only image found in the patent. Note that Bogardus describes a single and double-cup versions of his invention.

    Captain Bogardus Glass Target Ball Thrower (1)

    Images courtesy of Morphy Auctions,

    Hrachya H

    Managing Editor

    Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. He also writes for and
    Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at [email protected]