One of the more interesting subjects - at least for me - is the invention, design, and development of the centerfire system in firearms. This began as early as 1808, winding up with the Berdan and Boxer systems in 1866 and 1869 - in spite of its shortcomings, the American Berdan system was adopted on the Continent and elsewhere, while the English Boxer system was adopted in England and the U. S., to finally become the dominant, universal system today. FYI
I thought Berdan primers were a scheme to sell replacement decapping pins to guys rying to reload milsurp ammo?
My answer to that is “No” - and the one ironic point is the adoption of these two systems after they appeared. As a final note, Hiram Berdan had to file TWO patents for his system. The first used - GULP! - COPPER cases - he had to file the second to use brass.
American Rifleman provides a good, basic history and information on primers.