In 1850, following Governor Whitemarsh B. Seabrook’s recommendation, the General Assembly created a Board of Ordnance and appropriated $350,000 for weapons and munitions.
The Palmetto Armory was a short-lived effort to establish a weapons-manufacturing capability in South Carolina during the secession crisis of 1849–1852. Northern attempts to block the spread of slavery into the newly acquired southwestern territories led many South Carolinians to consider secession. In 1850, following Governor Whitemarsh B. Seabrook’s recommendation, the General Assembly created a Board of Ordnance and appropriated $350,000 for weapons and munitions. A consortium of William Glaze, Benjamin Flagg, and James Boatwright received a contract in 1851 to produce muskets, rifles, pistols, cavalry sabers, and artillery sabers, all of which were to be of the current federal pattern and were to be manufactured wholly within the state.
The Palmetto Armory obtained some equipment through Flagg’s contacts with northern manufacturers, particularly Asa Waters. But, although Glaze and his company were supposed to manufacture all weapons in South Carolina, there is convincing evidence that most of the components for the firearms and all of the edged weapons were produced elsewhere and merely assembled in South Carolina. Production ceased in May 1853 when the contract was terminated by the state for lack of funds. By this time Glaze had delivered 6,020 muskets, 1,000 rifles, 1,000 dragoon pistols, 2,000 cavalry sabers, and 526 artillery sabers. With no further contracts forthcoming, Glaze converted the Palmetto Armory into the Palmetto Iron Works. Although he attempted to obtain contracts for weapons at the beginning of the Civil War, Glaze was unsuccessful and produced only a few artillery projectiles.
Meyer, Jack Allen. William Glaze and the Palmetto Armory. 2d ed. Columbia: South Carolina State Museum, 1994.