Saturday 14th February 1885
Benjamin B. Hotchkiss (58), firearms manufacturer and namesake of the 1903-1955 French automobile, died in Paris, France. When the United States government lost interest in financing the development of new weapons after the Civil War, the Connecticut born arms manufacture moved to France in 1867 and set up a new arms manufacturing company, Hotchkiss et Cie. Around this time he developed the Hotchkiss gun, a revolving barrel machine gun. After his death, an embarrassment of profits at the turn of the twentieth century prompted the company to move into the car business to avoid attracting too much attention from the French government. The first Hotchkiss car, a 17 CV four-cylinder model, appeared in 1903. The badge for the marque consisted of a pair of crossed cannons — a salute to the company’s first products.