March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This is a patent model for the Skyrocket patented by John W. Hadfield in 1867. Hadfield, a pyrotechnicist, took out this patent as an improvement over his 1865 rocket patent. As in his original patent, this rocket features fins, or what Hadfield called "wings." He thereby eliminated the use of conventional wooden guidesticks. Hadfield claimed his rocket was also easier to pack and transport.
The use of wings on skyrockets was not unique by this period, however, and could be found in firework books going back to the 17th century. In any event, it does not appear that Hadfield's improvements were adopted by the fireworks industry.
Alan D. Dunphy gave this patent model to the Smithsonian in 1983.
Gift of Alan D. Dunphy.