The Excelsior Hand Grenade

One of two types of hand grenades developed during the early years of the Civil War is the Excelsior. Unlike the more common Ketchum grenade, this type was developed by Erlanger's W.W. Hanes in early 1862. He named his patented invention the "Excelsior" grenade. This device is a small cast-iron shell with percussion nipples, each requiring attachment of a percussion cap before throwing the grenade. It would only take one cap to trigger the explosion, and soldiers trying to use Hanes's grenade found out the hard way that it was too easy to accidentally set off one of the percussions caps. This resulted in the Excelsior grenades never being used in battle or, at least, there has not been a recorded battlefield find of one. These grenades are exceedingly rare. This example is a variant roughly cast in two sections with 10 brass nipples inserted and two fill holes.