Pottecher Electric Primed Cartridge

This electric primed cartridge was patented in 1912 by Victor Pottecher of Oullins, France. The drawing undoubtely looks like a “Flobert” cartridge but the base is fitted with an insulator material © and the case would be filled with propellant to be ignited by means of the wires noted as “e”. We are aware of electric ignition designs applied to almost every known firearm system or special device, but this is the first time I saw one in a gallery cartridge.

Very interesting.
Too me the most interesting is not a gallery cartridge but the wires. I had thought most electric primers created a spark to ignite the powder - much the same as as a spark plug in a car by bridging a gap.

Can you further explain how this one works. Heat transferred through the wires?

Thanks, this is very interesting.

Many electric primers did use a wire bridge; the wire went white hot and vapourised as it was incapable of handling the current. During my Navy time we were still using up these earlier wire bridge primers for practice. In military use they were susceptible to occasional misfires as the fragile wire could be broken by shock rendering the complete cartridge useless. The later primers were called “Conducting Composition” or CC primers. The electric current flowed through the priming composition itself and these proved to be much more reliable. I don’t know the formulation of the conducting composition.


Pete, the heat was transferred through the wires to ignite the propellant directly (no primer composition was used). It is also interesting that the patent mentions that the wires could be attached to the bullet base.

The history of electric primers is very interesting and there are lots of different designs, but ignition systems using a spark to ignite the powder directly had spark plugs instead of firing pins (a bridgewire will not generate sparks). In late 1960’s Omark Industries had produced a caseless load for a powder actuated tool that worked that way.

A little behind in my reading but thought this was interaesting. This would be a center fire round. To identify the components
A= case
B= rim or return?
C= propellant
D= insulated contact point
E= heater wire
F= bullet
The firing pin would be the voltage source to apply votage to the insulated anvel shaped piece to contact the wire. The current would flow through the wire to the case. item B may just show the return path for current. I wonder if any of these rounds survived?

MRT, the descriptions of the references are:

a: Metal case
b: Rim
c: Insulator
d: Contact piece
e: Ignition wire
f: Bullet

Thanks Fed
I can see now that the whole base is filled with the insulator that seperates the contact point from the case. I was trying to id parts by the way I thought it should work. enjoyed the post