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Skyrocket, J.W. Hadfield, 1867


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Rockets and Missiles exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a patent model for an improved skyrocket of John W. Hadfield of Newtown, New York, invented in 1867. Hadfield's improvement consisted of three short wooden guidesticks attached to the rear of the rocket by wires around the body.

The usual firework rocket, also known as a skyrocket, was fitted with a single long wooden guidestick that made the rocket cumbersome and difficult to store and transport. Hadfield's shorter separate sticks could be easily packed into a small space for shipping. Further, they served as a launch stand. However, Hadfied's improvements do not seem to have been widely adopted. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1983 by Alan D. Dunphy.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Gift of Alan D. Dunphy


Cardboard body; pine wooden guidestick sections; wire for attaching guidesticks


Overall: 2 1/2 in. wide x 1 ft. 5 in. long x 1 in. diameter (6.35 x 43.18 x 2.54cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America




PROPULSION-Rocket Engines

Inventory Number


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