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Objects of Intrigue: The Infernal Machine

In 1835, Giuseppe Mario Fieschi and two co-conspirators tried to assassinate King Louis-Philippe of France. To pull it off, Fieschi devised what became known as “the infernal machine.”

Rather than fire just one shot at the king, or even three if the trio joined together, Fieschi constructed a mutant weapon with 25 barrels that could shoot at once, all pointing in different directions. The machine of wood and iron was finally set up on the third story of 50 Boulevard du Temple in Paris, and on July 28, 1835 put to its macabre test.

The king was only slightly grazed, but 18 people died and 42 were wounded in the sudden onslaught, including Fieschi himself. After all, when you have 25 barrels firing, the chances of one of them malfunctioning are multiplied. Read how the crime played out, and see pictures of the infernal machine, at Atlas Obscura.

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