What makes this a unique weapon is the Maynard Tape Primer designed by Edward Maynard for more rapid firing of the weapon. Dr. Edward Maynard, a dentist with an interest in firearms, embedded tiny pellets of priming material in thin strips of paper, then glued a second strip of paper on top of the first, creating a “tape” of primer. The tape could be manufactured quickly and cheaply, since paper was much less expensive than copper. Maynard also developed an automatic feeding system that would advance the tape when the musket’s hammer was cocked. The hammer not only detonated the primer, but would also automatically cut the paper, thus removing the spent portion of the primer tape. The system worked well under controlled circumstances but proved to be unreliable in the field. The tape was delicate and would tear but the biggest problem was the paper strips were susceptible to adverse weather and even humidity.
This model proved one of the staple arms of the Civil War, and was the first U.S. martial arm firing the Minie bullet in 58 caliber.
This example is an early model (Type 1) because of the long base adjustable rear sight, similar to the 1853 Enfield’s, brass nose cap and the lack of a patch box.