Dwyer’s 1976 patent for shotgun-shell garden seeding

A “new” Swedish invention (and/or perhaps publicity-seeking device) seems just a repeat of an American invention patented in 1976.  See below for details of the original patent. (Thanks to investigator Jesse Eppers for bringing this to our attention.) The Swedish project, called Flowershell, has promotional videos. Here’s one of those:

Huffington Post discusses it: “‘Flower Shell’ Makes It Possible To Literally Shoot Seeds Into Your Garden With A Gun“. Business Insider discusses it: “Crazy Invention Lets Gardeners Plant Seeds With A Shotgun“. Gizmodo discusses it: “Plant Your Next Garden With A Boom, Using Repurposed Shotgun Shells“.

That old patent is:

Shotshell with seed capsule,” US patent 3996865, granted to Vernon Thomas Dwyer of Des Peres, Missouri, on December 14, 1976. The patent cites an earlier publication: “Katzenjammer Kids” Comic Section Washington Post, Apr. 22, 1962. The patent describes Dwyer’s invention:

“A cartridge for both hunting and seed distributing purposes comprising a cylindrical casing having a primer, a propellant charge ignitable upon firing of said primer, spaced-apart wads above said propellant charge defining a load-receiving volume therebetween, a load of plant seeds received within a capsule disposed within said volume; a multi-missile shot charge provided above said volume and means for enclosing the normally forward end of said cartridge.”

dwyer-patent-drawing

“DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT: Referring now by reference characters to the drawing which illustrates the preferred embodiment of the present invention, A designates a shotgun shell or cartridge having the usual tubular body 1 fabricated of paper, plastic, metal or the like and having a suitably encased base, as at 2. Mounted within the base is a conventional primer 3 received within a base wad 4 which may, if desired, incorporate a base wad overlay 5; it being recognized that the latter is not critical to the present invention.  Provided above primer 3 is a propellant charge 6 and in immediate overlying relationship to said latter is an obturating wad 7 which is shown as incorporating a peripheral skirt 8. Provided above obturating wad 7 may be one or more filler or separator wads 9, fabricated of any suitable material, such as felt, pulp, or the like. Disposed upon filler wad 9 is a predetermined quantity or load of seed 10 encased within a thin-walled container or capsule 11 fabricated of a water soluble or moisture-rupturable material, such as gelatin, of the type which has found wide usage for medicinal capsules. Superimposed upon seed load 10 is a top filler wad 12, as of like character as wad 9, and with said wad 12 cooperating with the upper portion of body 1 to define a chamber 13 for a shot charge 14, as of multi-missile character, and being the usual type of shot for customary shotgun usage. A sealing or card wad 15 defines the upper limit of chamber 13 and with the upper end of shell A being closed in any well known manner, as by infolding of body 1, crimping, etc.”

  • Nicholas Kondelis

    This seems like a LOT more fun than roto-tilling your garden and planting the seeds by hand!