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A Leyden ball is a fictional bullet used in a novel.

In his 1875 science fiction classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne writes about an undersea hunting expedition using a very unusual form of bullet:[1]

"... the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little cases of glass. These glass cases are covered with a case of steel, and weighted with a pellet of lead; they are real Leyden bottles, into which the electricity is forced to a very high tension. With the slightest shock they are discharged, and the animal, however strong it may be, falls dead."

In Verne's novel, the Leyden balls are fired with special rifles that are powered by compressed air; it is only necessary that they touch the target. It is even possible to use them to bag game that is flying mere feet above the waves:

"I was witness to one of the finest gun shots which ever made the nerves of a hunter thrill. A large bird of great breadth of wing, clearly visible, approached, hovering over us. Captain Nemo's companion shouldered his gun and fired, when it was only a few yards above the waves. The creature fell stunned, and the force of its fall brought it within the reach of dexterous hunter's grasp. It was an albatross of the finest kind."

ReferencesEdit

  1. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, A complete, unabridged translation of Vingt milles lieues sous les mers by Jules Verne, based on the original French texts published in Paris by J. Hetzel et Cie. over the period 1869–71. Translated from the Original French by F. P. Walter. Downloadable from the Internet Archive. Retrieved 2009-04-31.

External linksEdit

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