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Self-Loading and Self-Discharging
LETTERS PATENT to Henry Bessemer, of Baxter House, Old St. Pnncras
Road, in thc County of IIid&llcsex, Engineer, for thc Invention of
Sealed the 26th Ja»nary 1855, and dated the 25th August 1854.
SPECIFICATION left by thc said Ilonry Bossem&. r at tire
of Patents, witlr his 1ctitiou ou, the
Ofhce of the Commissiouers
25th August 1854.
I, Hexav Besseuza, of Baxter House, Old St. 1'nncras Roe&i, in the
do hereby declan: thc nnture of &he Lrven5 Couuty ol &IHd&llesex, Engi&reer,
Paorzcrrtzs F0R Nhvst ssu
IN GUNs voa Taaowrao
tion for Irrrraovzazrrrs
Mrervsav Puaroses" to be as follows:—
1'irsrly, my i&nprovements consist, in constructing guus so that the reactive
force ol' thc exploded mrnpo&vder ismadeby theageucyof mechanism to reload
of disand &lisclrarge thc gun, and thoreby to insure a very mpi&1 succession
charges &virh a less number of mcn than are at present re&prired to
of tho ordinary kind.
Sccondl'& nlv 'Ilnpruvclr&cnts celloist in cl&nnsini a»drooling rlrc gun, by
forcinu water through the bore of it, or thr iugb lmssages to&rue&I in. it for that
A. D. 1$54 Ib"
Thirdly, my improvements also consist in the use of water, air, or steam
under pressure as a means of working the aforesaid mechanism, either alono
or in coujunctiou ivilh tho reactive force of the explosion, as herein-before
in en ti on ed.
In order to carry into effect ruy said Invention, the gruu is to bc truly bored
ont, and at the breech end of it I fit a plunger accurately to the bore of &lie
gun; this plunger does not reach so far down as thc breech, an(1 the space left
betwccn it and tho breech is occupied ivith n'atcr; one end ofa pipe is made to
communicnte ivith this water space, and the other cnd ivith the trunnious ol'
tlie gun, ivhich arobored up and htted ivith stu5ngboxcs
Tlie truunion frame
or sivivel is nlso provided with a central vertical pipe, ouc cud of which comnlunicates with the trunnions, ivhilc the other end of itis in connection with a
vessel contniniug waterandairu»derpressurc.
The plunger befnremeni. ionc&1
is provided with a rod ivhich lmsses out through a 'tufiing box in the breech,
and has a 1&uffcr head upon i&, to prevent it, lroiii going too far into the gun.
On the upper side of the gnn thcro is a longitudinal
opening of suflicient
size to admit the ball cartridge, but ivhich is, however, l&ept cloioil at thc
timo of firin by the plunger, which occupies tha& part ol tliebore iminediately
below it. A percussion cap is placed in a recess forincd at the ceiitral part of
tbnt end of the cartridge farthest froiu thc ball, and I explode the charge by
rorcin ~ a nee&llo into tbe cap. The needle is attached to a ro&l ivhich passes
out through thc pluuger rod, snd is acte&l upon byasl&ring catch, ivhenevcr
thc plunger arrives at the eiid of its innards!roke. &'Vhen;& charge of pow&lcr
is exploded ill tile gun it '&vill rc:&ct oil lllc plilllgl. 'r &vitll a fol'cc ill propert&oil
to its iveiglit; the plungrcr!vill thus bc driven back, forcirig the w &ter before i&,
into the air vessel, and at the same time ivithdrawi!&g i&scil from beneath the
opening by ivhicli the cartridg&. s are admitted; in so doing, one of a serios of
cartridges lyiug on an inclii&e&l plane &vill roll into the gun, and occupy lhe
space previously occupied by the plun«er. Immediately t!&at (hc reactive force
o( the exploded powder lias expended itself i» throwingback tlie plunger, ihe
force of the conipresse&l air in tho vessel before inentiored, actiiig on the
ivatcr, &vill causo thc plunger to return to i&s former position in the
cnnying thc cartridge along &vitli it, all agaiu closing the iulet aper&uro
by ivhich thc cartridge w. is adinittrd; just as it rcachcs the en&I of its stre ke,
the needle is projected forward aml thc explosion of thc diarge takes placo,
prodncing a repetition of tl&c operation of rcloailing, as before described.
In the plunger there is a small valve, which is made &o open at a certain
part of the plunger's stroke, wheu a stream of &voter &vill bc forcibly ejeoted
through tho plunger& aud thus, after each succcssivc iiriug of tho gun, iis
(Inn& /or 'I'Aro&oiny
interior wiff be cleansed and cnole&l by the action of the water on it. The
quantity of water thus cscapincr from the air vessel may berenewed from time
to time by a hand pump, or it may be injected by steam or other pc&ver; tho
water may also be made to pass through suitable passages formed in the gnn
for the purpose ofcooling it By means ofthe pipes and stufling boxes before
described, a water-tight communication isestablished between thebore of tho
gun and thc water and air vessel; t!iis co&umnnication is abvays kept open
except at thc moment &chen the plunger is forced home at which time it covers
thc escape apperture, nnd thus retains a small quantity of&vater in the gun,
which acts as a cushion, and sustains the momentum of the plunger, and
prevents it froiu striking the breach of the gun.
The arrangcmei&t ofpipesand stuffingboxes, bcforedescribed, leaves thegun
nt liberty to &novc up or &lown at cithcr en&1; it is also free to move in a
horizontal direction, the trunnion fra&ne being fitted into a circular recess mado
in the carriage or be&1 plate, an&1 is there supported on aniifrictiou rollers. In
snine cases the po&ver of steam, ncting on n separate piston in connection with
the plungrer, may be &nade to work the gun, instead of inakiag use of the reactive
force of the gunpo&v&ler, as herein-beforo described. The plunger maybe kept
air an&1 &vater tight by metallic packing or by&1 raulic leathers, inn mauner well
understood, &vhifc the size of thc aperture by &vhich ihe water enters the gun
may be regulated by a valve orscrew plug, &vhereby the rapidityofthepluuger's
motion may be controlled.
BPECIFICATIOlf in pursuance of the conditions of theLettcrs Patont, filed
by the said Henry Bessemer in thc Great Seal Patent Office on the
24th February 1S55.
THESE PRESEIITS SHALL COKE, I, 1IExnv
Bassa&isa, of Baxter 11ouse, Ohl Saint Paucias Road, in the County of
Middlesex, En incer, send greeting.
WHEREAS Her inost Excellent Majes&y Q&feen Victoria, by Her Letters
30 Patent, bearing date the T&veuty-fift day of August, in the year of our Lord
One thousaud eight hundred andfift-four, in tbeeighteenfh year of Hcrreign,
did, for IIerself, lier heirs and successors, give aud grant unto &no& tho said
Henry Bessemer, Her special licence that I, the said Henry Bessemer, my
cxccutors, administrators, and assigns, or such others ns I, the said Henry
35 Bessemer, my executors, ndministrators, aud assigns, should at any tin&e agree
'IO ALL TO WHOK
A. D. (854.—
so su I 0 s .
with, arid no others, lrom time to time an&1 ai, all times &hereafter d«rt«g &he
term therein expressed, shonld and la&vl'ully might snakc, use, exei";is, and
vend, wirhin the United Kingdom of Great Britain nn&l Irclan&1, tho Channel
Islands, and Isle of Nan, an Invention for "Itsvaovx&szmvs tm Gums vos
Tuacwtmo Paoszcrrtxs poa Nsvat hmn Mtlrvssv
Poap&lxs, upon the condition (a&aoniist otli&. rs) tlmt I, the said Heary Bessemer, by aninstruincni, i«
writing under my hami and seal, should particularly describe m&d ascertain
the naturcol' the said 1nvention, and iu &vhal, manner the same was to be performed, aml cause the same to be filed in the Great Seal Pate&it Oflice
within six calendar &nouths next and i&umediatsly after ihe date of the said
I~t ters 1 atent.
NOW KNOW VE, that I, the said Honry Bessemer, do hereby declare
the naturo of the said Invention, hnd in &vhat manner the sumo is to be
perfor&ned, in be particularly described and ascertained in and by the folio&ring
stat ment thereof (that is to say):—
Firstly, my in&provements consist in constructing guns sothat the reactive
force of the ox plo&led gun powder is made by the agency ol mechanism to relond
and discharge thc gun, aml the«eby tc insuree, very rapid succession ol' discharges with a less number of men than are at preseut required to &vork a gun
of the ordinary kind.
Secomlly, my improvornents consist in cleansing and cooling the gun, by
forcing &vatcr throvgh the 1&ore of it, or tlirough passages formsul in it for
Thirdly, niy improvements also consists in the nse of ivater, air, or steam
under pressure as a n&cans of ivorking the aforesaid mechanism, either alone
or conjunction &vith the reactive force of the explosion, as herein-before
lu order io carry into effect my said Invention, the gun is to bo truly bored
out, and ar, the breech end of it I fit a pluuger accurately to the bore of the
gun; the plunger does not reach so far down as i, lie breecli, an&1 the space left
between it au&1 the breecli is occupied &vith &vater; oue end ofa pipe is made
to co&n&uunica&e with this ivater spaceiaiid thc other en&1 &viih the trunnionsof
the gun, which are bored up n&iil fitted &vithstuffingboxes. 'I'hctruuniou frame
or swivel is also provided with a ceutral vertical pipe, one end ol which comrnunicutes with the trunuions, while &he otherend of it is inconnection &vith a
vessel containing wateran&1 airunder prcssure. '1'he plunger before mentioned
is provided with a rod, ivhich passes out throug h a stufiing box in the breech,
nnd has a buffer head upon it to preveut it from going too far into the gua. On
the upper side of the gun thoro is a longitudinal opeuiag of sullicient size to
A. J) 1854.—
Dcsso&ncr s Tnl/&room&osis
io. (ynns for 7'hro&oin&i Proj
admit thc ball cartridgesbut whi& h is however, kept closed at thc time of firing
by the plunger, which occupies thnt part &f the bore immediately bel&uv it. A.
percussion cap is placed in a recess formed at &hc central part of that en&1 of
the cartridge farthest 1'rom thc ball, aml I explode &hc charge by forcin& ~ a
needle into the cap. The needle is attached to a rod which passes out
through the plun&grer rod, and is ac&cd npon by a spring catch whenever the
plunger arrives at the end of i&s inward stroke; when a charge ot powder
is exploded in the gun, it will react on the plunger with a force in propor'1'he pluug&er will lhus be driven back, forcing the water
tion &o its weight.
before it into the nir vessel, and at thc same timo withdrawing itself fro&n
beneath the opening by which the cartridges are ndmitte&l; in so doing, one of
aseriesofcartridges lying on an inolined plane will roH into thc gun, and
occupy the space previously occupied by the plunger. Imn&ediately that the
reactive force of tho exploded po&vder bas expended itscll in throwingbnck the
plnnger, thc force of the compressed air in the vessel bel'orc &ueuti&sned acting
onthc&vaterwill cause thc plunger to return to its former position iu the o~n,
carrying the curtri&lge along &vith it, and again closing the inlet aperture by
&vhich thc cartridge &vas ndmi& ted; just as it reaches the eml of its stroko, the
nee&llc is projected former&1 nnd thc explosion o( the chnrgc takes place, pro&lucin ~ a ropcti&, ion of thc operation of reloading, as before described. In thc
plunger there is a small val&'e, &vhich is made tn open at a certain part of
thc plunger's stroke, &vhen a stream of water &vill be forcibly ejected through
the pluuger, and thus, after each successive firing of the gun, its interior &vill
be cleaused aud cooled by he actionofthe mater on it. The quantity of water
thns escaping from the air vessel &nay be rene&red from time to time by a hand
pump, or it &nay bc injected by stoa&a or other po&ver; the water mayalso be
marie to pass through suitable passages forsned in the gun for the purpose of
cooling it. By means of the pipes and stufling boxes, before describeda wntertight communication is established between the bore of the gun and the water
aud air vessel; this communication is always kept open except at the moment
when the plunger is forced horne, at which time it covers the escape aperture&
aud thus retains as&null quantity of water in the gun, &vhich acts as a cushion,
and sustains the momeutu&n of the pluuger, and prevents it from striking the
of pipes and stufliug boxes, before
breech of thc gun. The arrangement
80 described, leaves the gun at liberty to move up or &lo&vn at either end; it is
nlso free to move iu a horizontal direction, thc trunuion frame being fitted
iuto a circular recess usade in the carriage or bed plate, and is there supported
on antifriction rollers. In so&uecases, the power ofsteam, acting on a separate
pistou in connection with tbe plunger, may be made to &vork the gun, instead
nf making use of&ho reactiveforce of the gnnpo&v der as herein be fore &1escri bed.
The plunger may be kept air and water tight by metallic packing nr hy&!raulic
leathers, in a manner well understood, while tho size of the aperture bywhich
thc water enters the gun mny be regulated by a valve or screw plug, whereby
the rapidity of the plunger's motion may be con&rouled.
In order that the manner in which this Invention is to be carried int & ctfect
may be fully understood, I have hereunto anncxe&l t&vo Sheets of Dra&vinom,
on which isrepresented a gun constrnctcd inaccordance &vith this Invention.
On Sheet A, Figure 1 isa side eleva&iou; 1'igure '2, a vertical cross section
on the line A, 8, of Figure
Figure 2 is also a vertical cross section on
the line G, D, of Figurc
and I"igure 4 is a section of a cariri&1ge suitable
for ihc uso of a gun so constructod.
On Sheet 8, at Figure I I have also
ropreseute&1 a longitudinal vcrticnl section of the gun, with its inicrnnl mechanism in elevation.
Figure 2, Sheet, 3, represents a longitudinal vertical
section of the brocch end of the gun and iho mechanism itcontains, on a
scalo of twice the size nf Figure 1; an&1 I"igur&. 2 shows a portion of Figure 2
The guns& is bored truly cylin&lricnl throughout, and nt the breech end it
has n screw thre, !d formed in it, &vhich prefer to make in the manner she&vn,
&vith one side of the thread beviled, and at thc san!e time a liitlo wider in the
internal three&1!vhich is formc&l in the cast iron or brass gun than in the screw
The plug orstopb has a flange or head b& of
plug fs, which I make of steel.
an octagonal form, by menus of which it can be tighienc&l firmly up to the end
of the gua; it has also au internal tnbular projection b-", through &vhicb tbo
plunger rod c passes from the interior to thc exterior of the gun. A hollow
cha&ul&cr is formed in thc stop b, in &vhich a double
cup of hydraulic leather d
is fi&tc&l, and throu& 5 which the plunger rod is free to move, tho leather
forming a &rater-tight joint therewith.
A steel plunger s is fitted to the
interior of the gun, and is secured io the rod c by a large screw I bread at e',
which fiisdo&vn upon n shoulder ate"-. Another piece of steel es is litic&I truly
to the boro of ihe gun, and is also secured to the plunger rod c, by being
scre&ved on to thc upper part c' of the plunger rod c, and thus forms the end
of the plnnger.
arc t!v& hoops ofstcel, which have a diagonal slit on one
side of them, so as to allow them to spring open and form a metallic packing;
for the purpose of keeping thc end of the plunger air-tight, or nearly so, it
will be seen thai au annular space is lel't sty, between the rod c and plungerc,
which extends as lar upas the shoulderes. At ibis part several holescs aro
drilled, all co&nmunicating wiih the spacey at one end, aml with an annular
channel s at the other.
The metal is bevilled ofi on either edge of tbe
A. D. 18M.—
Bessemer's Isnproccmen&s in. Guns /or 7'hro&ci
chnnnel s, so as to form a v shaped valve senti&g, iuto which is fitted an
anuulnr valve h; this valve is kept in closo contact &vith its seat by &ucnns of
the spiral springi.
Around the valve 5 thereis formed n recess m, and into
it a numberof holes jure drilled, ench diverging fromthecentrc.
5 encl of the pluuger c hns a recess forn&ed around it, in &vhich is place&1 a double
hydraulic leather h, having a thin sheet metal hoop between its fol&ls for the
purpose of keeping iC in form, a screw collar &n prcveuting th . Icathor from
getting out of'place &vhen the plunger is i» motion.
That c»d ol the plun«er
rod c which passes out through the stop I& hns a screw thread formed on it, by
10 mcnns of which a sort ofbulfer herul n is firmly attached thereto. Thc nppcr
encl of tho piece n is bored out, and hasn cylindrical piece of steel y&sf&Ltedto its
interior, 'so as tomovcfrecly&vhen re&luired. Thepieco ol'steel
p is:meulargemcntof the needle rod p, &vhich passes through Lh&' centre of tho plnngcr roti c
ami plunger c, terminaring in that direction by n small cylirdricnl pnnch or
15 needle p'. Thc enlarged part J& of the needle rod is hollow, nnd has &vil bin it a
thcbulforhcndn. ; in the centre
of Lh& capo'is acyl h&dricnl projection ns, I'or the purpose of keeping the spring r
in place. Thc octagonal head
of thc stop hss a, hollo&v cylin&lric&l part 5s
projecting From it, the interior oFit bein« trnly bored out to fi Ihc l&ugcr head
"-0 n, an&1 thc cstcrior of it is turned truly, in or&lcr that thc collar L
both en&1 wise an&i around it &vhen re&lnirc&l.
u is a ferule, attach d Co thc
cylindrical part I&-", nnd ou the outcr surface of which I he col lar I sli&lcs. This
feruk. is fur thc purpose of fora&in& ~ a fise&l abutment to the spirnl spring c,
the other cnd of &vbich presses upon an innor flange ts of the collar &. 'I'hc
25 part tais for&nod into n series of shallow V shaped notches or inclines, &vhich f&t
iuto si&nilar inclines formed in n stop piece m, &vhich is fnstencd Lo Ihc part h-".
Thc shape of Lhe inclines u& nre best seen in Figure 3, Shoet 15, &vherc it &vill
be observed that a s&n&&ll notch
is &na&le at Iho top of tbc inclines &c, into
&vhich the poinCs ol the iaclincs Is are allowed to fall, nml bc thns retained.
30 The incliues aml m nro show« in a roversc position in Figurc I, Sheet;V.
A handle pc is f &stoned to the collar&, for the pur pose of moving it so far ronnd
as will nllo&v the iuclines on the pieces I and sc to fall in, an I cause the collar t
to advance to or recede I'rom thc breech ond ol' the gun.
It, will bc observed
that the collar C bas formed upon it n conicnl projection around the encl &&,
against whi& h Lhc tri«gcr J&rests. Tho triggers moves on nn azisaiy', supported by lugs n, projecCin«from the cap n', A small projection gs on tho
trigger isnctod on by a spri«g=, scrc&vcd to Lhc cap &&'. There isa tooth 5&s
project ingdownwards from tbe trigger, which I'alls inLo a notch I& made in the
A. D. 1 854 —
Guns for Thro&ciny Projectiles, gc.
head of the needle rod, a slot n' being made in the buffer head n, for tbe
purpose of allowing the too&h y to pass down to the notch
'1'he carriage on whicli this gun is mounted admits of considerable variaI
tion in ihc details of i:s consiruction, ivhich will be readily understood.
have, however, shcwninihoanncxo&l
A is the main frame of i, ho carriage, at
rc&Iuisitcs of this gun are embodied.
thc en&is of ivhich aro benrings for thc axles 0 to ivork in; on those axles are
keyed the wheels C, on which the carriage is supported. The trunnions of
which is formed
gun are supported i» n trunnion block D, the npper part of
on cadi si&le into a sort of plnmincr block ivitb a cap D', an&1 its lower part is 10
circular; thc uuder si&le is bevillc&1, ns sheivn at D, in Figure 2, Sheet A, aml
A' ol thc
basacvliiiilrical projection D, which passes tlirough the bottom part
frame A, which has a large circular rccoss bored i, ruly in it, so as to allow the
circular part of trunnion blocl- D to Iit into it. Fs is an iron ring, hnving four
projecting nr&ns I'. », on whicli the nnti(riction rollers F arc free to revolve; 15
theso rollers are macle of a conical I'own, so that they may roll freely in a
circular direction on the surface A', and support the trunnion block D,
whereby the inn may bc moved witli lii &le force in a horizoutnl direction. A
hole D' is bored vertically in thc centre of the trnuuion block, aud lies fitte
into it the end of th. pipe G, which is kept ivatcr-tight by a gland Il 110
I is:i flange, wliich keeps the cylindrical piece Ds in
packc&l witli hc&np.
plncc. 'I'l&c pipe G is in cci» iection with au air ai&d water vessel J, ivhich
is;ittaclie&l t ihc fraiue A; or i». nay bo placed in any convenient position
iiear &lie gun, ;&n elastic pipe beiii&g si&bi&i&etc, l for tiic pipe G. At
liurizont. il liolc is &nude tlirou&cli the truiinion block D, whicli cuminunicatcs n5
with tlie vertical passage D'. Tiie tru&inions of the gui& nrc iuadc inuch larger
in &liaincter than is usual& slid a pass Lgc is bored entirely through fro, u one of
tliem to tlie oilier at a'; the outercnds of the trunnions arc bored up and gtie;I
comivi&h stuAIug boxes mid glands IC, so tluit the pipes L inay establish a
munication bctivec&i thc passu«cs rc' and D" withoni, obsiruc&i n« &he move- 30
A. short veri, ical passage a' is &nude to
ineni, of t!&e gun on its truunions.
corn munic:ite iviih tb&. passago a', an&1 lias a pipe )I bolted on to the orifice of
bolted to&lie uuder side of the i i&n &s', &vhere a
i&, ; tliis pipe is at its nilior ond
hole 3 is bored up iu&o to tlie interior oi'inc gua. By &ue &a&of these passages
aml pipes n Iree co&nmunication is est;&blishcd between the interior of iho 35
breech cml of the guii a&id the air vcsscl J, nnd which is uot interrupted by
any move&neiii, uf ilicgiiii, ;iiher iu a vertical or horizontal position. I.
pose of elevating or deprcssiu i thc gun, [ use a rocking fr»uc P, sui&ported
A. D. 18.')4 —
??ddds&»dr d ?n&l&rand&»el&id
? t&r&nv&&UJ Proj ddtildd,
a joint at Q. The upper encl of this (ran&e is formed with a
horizontal bar, on which the nnc! cr si&le of thc gun is suppnrte&1, :&n&l on which
it may readily be &noved in a horizontal direction. A cross rib of the frame P
at P'rests on n screw R, the le&vcr cnd ol' which passes through a acre&v nut Si
5 which is let into the main fra&ne A, where it is free to revolve, being supported
The upper part ol' this flange is bcvilled, and
by a flange for&ned on it.
has teeth formed or& it, &vhich g ar &vith a small beville&l pinion T on the
shaft, U. This shaft is suppurtc&l by bearings CV, lV, and has at one end a
handle Y, by the Cnrning of which thc screw nut S is mnde to revolve in either
10 direction, and consequently the screw R &vill risc or fall, anti with it the frame
P nnd the breech en&1 of the gnnwhich it supnorts. I have shown onSheetA,
lo&ver end in
at Figure 4, a section of a cartridge suitable fur the appnratusherein described;
it consists of an outer ense of any suitable material, an&I &nude to enclose both
tho shot an&! the charge ol pow&lcr. At / thcrc is a deep reccs» in the centre
of the after end, into &vhich a percussion cap is place&I prcvi&&us to the placing
of thc shot in a position for ontering the gnn. The cap may be made of tnro
thin discs uf wood, ono of them having a central recess to receive &he explosive
mixture; these&liscs should then l&e glued together, and coated externallp&vith
sealing wax or some waterproof varnish, which &vill preserve them fro&n the
effects of moisture.
This kind of cap will be diff&cult Co explode without
piercing through it, nnd need not be applied to the cartridge until they are
handed outof storeforimmc&liate use; when pushed&lo&vn tothe botto&n of the
recess iu the back of' che cartridge, they&vill be in a great measure secure from
Ry reference to Figure H, Sheet A, ii; &vill bc seen that
there is nn opening nt &t, I&, in the gun; it is formed on one side nnd at a slight
angle, inclining up&vards fro&n thc bore of the gun: its breadth is equal to the
diameter of the bore, and its length a little more than equal to tho length of
thecartridgo. On the exterior of the guu, and at the sa&neangle as cheopeuing
in the gun, there is screwed a tray nr hopper X, on which the cartridges V
are placed side by side, the lo&ver one of the series occupying the bore of the
From the position &vhich the cartridgeoccupiesinthegun,
it &vill be
necessary, in making guns of Chis description, Co uto a greater length Chan
is generally given to guns of the same calibre, in consequence of a portion
of the space &vithin the gun being occupied &vith the apparatus e&nployed to
Having described the various parts of which my improved gun consists, I
&vill no&v procoed to shew ho&v these parts ure made to operate when the gun
is used to throw projectiles. In thc
iustauc, lct it be understood that Che
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