This is a patent model for an improved skyrocket invented in 1865 by John W. Hadfield of Newtown, New York. The rocket features three reversible, metal, triangular wings. The wings were turned in when the rocket was packed for shipping, and turned out when it was ready to be fired. They were secured to the rocket body by a clamp. The ordinary fireworks rocket of the day was equipped with a long wooden guidestick lashed to its side. This cumbersome arrangement made such rockets difficult and expensive to transport. Hadfield’s patent did not claim the wings’ originality. Rather, he came up with a way to make the wings reversible, yet insure a controlled flight of the rocket compared with those stabilized with guidesticks. However, it does not appear that Hadfield's improvement was adopted by others.
Alan D. Dunphy gave this patent model to the Smithsonian in 1983.
Gift of Alan D. Dunphy