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Cannon or Carronade?

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Martin King 204/12/2019 17:14:44
712 forum posts
277 photos

Hi All,

A local clearance guy saved this for me at Shepton last Sunday, it is amazing what people chuck out!

carronade 1.jpg

carronade 5.jpg

Is this a cannon or a carronade? Not sure of the difference?

Beautifully made item, not fully bored sadly, (but it might be soon! devil)

Cheers, Martin

Mick B104/12/2019 17:57:29
1661 forum posts
88 photos

Undoubtedly a carronade (after the Carron foundry where first made) from the slide carriage and the underslung trunnion.

Carronades were shorter than standard guns, much lighter for the poundage of shot they threw, allowing a ship to carry a more formidable armament at short range than a similar-tonnage ship with guns.

The lighter powder-charge also meant a lower velocity, which resulted in more lethal shower of splinters when the ball penetrated a thick wooden hull, therefore more - and more severe - casualties in the opposing crew.

It eventually became apparent, though, that gun-armed ships could stand off out of carronade range and clobber the carronade ship without reply. Nevertheless they were still in use by the time of Trafalgar. The story is that HMS Victory opened the ball with a double-load from one of her bow carronades - a 68 lb roundshot and a keg of 500 musket balls shot through the stern transom of the French 'Bucentaure', allegedly IIRC causing morethan 400 casualties.

That looks to be a real first-class model by a serious student of ships' weaponry.

Edited By Mick B1 on 04/12/2019 17:58:30

Martin King 204/12/2019 19:06:15
712 forum posts
277 photos

Mick, thanks so much for that useful info. This supposedly came from a small family museum that has closed down and was in a carton marked for the skip! That would have been a real shame! Hopefully there is some more stuff from the same place later this week, fingers crossed.

Regards, Martin

old mart04/12/2019 20:29:35
1917 forum posts
151 photos

I believe that the 68 pounder was the largest made, and sailors referred to the weapon as the smasher.

ega06/12/2019 11:58:34
1790 forum posts
153 photos

Quite a bit about these in the Aubrey/Maturin novels.

I believe the foundry also made domestic items - swords and ploughshares!

steamdave06/12/2019 13:25:49
455 forum posts
35 photos

Very nice model. It would be worth changing the plastic plaited rope for hemp 3 strand rope for added authenticity.

Dave
The Emerald Isle

Brian G06/12/2019 13:58:15
708 forum posts
28 photos
Posted by ega on 06/12/2019 11:58:34:

Quite a bit about these in the Aubrey/Maturin novels.

I believe the foundry also made domestic items - swords and ploughshares!

Apart from the Carronades, their most famous products were pillar boxes and phone boxes.

Brian G

ega06/12/2019 14:14:09
1790 forum posts
153 photos

Brian G:

I have a Victorian hole-in-the-wall letterbox. Do you happen to know whether Carron were the sole makers? I would be glad to know the provenance of my letter box.

Marischal Ellis06/12/2019 14:52:41
58 forum posts
20 photos

An interesting company. They made lots of things....in cast iron. They made compact cooking stoves (ranges) which went across the Prairie and out west with early settlers. Also made house stoves. Just thought this may be how ranges got their name. A company ended up making s/s sinks. A shadow of their former self, and long time taken over. The Lion Iron foundry may be a name for wall boxes.

Best wishes to all.

Marischal Ellis06/12/2019 14:52:42
58 forum posts
20 photos

An interesting company. They made lots of things....in cast iron. They made compact cooking stoves (ranges) which went across the Prairie and out west with early settlers. Also made house stoves. Just thought this may be how ranges got their name. A company ended up making s/s sinks. A shadow of their former self, and long time taken over. The Lion Iron foundry may be a name for wall boxes.

Best wishes to all.

Brian H06/12/2019 17:16:43
avatar
1742 forum posts
112 photos

They also made Post Office letter boxes.

Brian

Brian G06/12/2019 18:46:41
708 forum posts
28 photos
Posted by ega on 06/12/2019 14:14:09:

Brian G:

I have a Victorian hole-in-the-wall letterbox. Do you happen to know whether Carron were the sole makers? I would be glad to know the provenance of my letter box.

There were several foundries making letter boxes for the post office, later boxes have the maker's name cast into the box below the door, although the only ones I have ever really noticed are Carron and W T Allen.

Brian G

Robin06/12/2019 23:08:51
avatar
353 forum posts

Does anyone know, was Carron the only cannon maker in Falkirk back c1800?

If a ships cannon is marked FALKIRK 6Pdr, is it safe to assume it is by Carron?

Mick B107/12/2019 09:24:33
1661 forum posts
88 photos
Posted by Robin on 06/12/2019 23:08:51:

Does anyone know, was Carron the only cannon maker in Falkirk back c1800?

If a ships cannon is marked FALKIRK 6Pdr, is it safe to assume it is by Carron?

Probably not. Google is your friend:-

**LINK**

smiley

ega07/12/2019 10:33:40
1790 forum posts
153 photos
Posted by Brian G on 06/12/2019 18:46:41:
Posted by ega on 06/12/2019 14:14:09:

Brian G:

I have a Victorian hole-in-the-wall letterbox. Do you happen to know whether Carron were the sole makers? I would be glad to know the provenance of my letter box.

There were several foundries making letter boxes for the post office, later boxes have the maker's name cast into the box below the door, although the only ones I have ever really noticed are Carron and W T Allen.

Brian G

Thank you. On checking I find that mine is by Allen; interestingly, there seems to be no mention of Carron in Robinson's "Old Letter Boxes".

SillyOldDuffer07/12/2019 10:56:14
Moderator
6192 forum posts
1345 photos
Posted by Mick B1 on 07/12/2019 09:24:33:
Posted by Robin on 06/12/2019 23:08:51:

Does anyone know, was Carron the only cannon maker in Falkirk back c1800?

If a ships cannon is marked FALKIRK 6Pdr, is it safe to assume it is by Carron?

Probably not. Google is your friend:-

smiley

+1! Scotland was a major producer of Iron, perhaps 25% of all UK production, and there were many firms making and using Iron there.

Not all cast-iron back then was equally suitable for all purposes. Much depended on what was in the ore - unknown impurities - and tricks the Iron-founder knew that improved it. It happens that Scottish iron-ore produces a cast-iron well suited to cannon making, and - at a time when gun-making was hit and miss - guns made from Scottish cast-iron were reliable. Some English ores were also suitable, and both benefited from the Industrial Revolution. On average, British guns were safer than foreign ones, though the best foreign guns were as good as anything made in the UK.

British guns sold like hot cakes, Carronades being popular on merchant ships because they can be fired by an unskilled team of four and are effective against pirates. Pirates can't blast victims at long range - they want cargo and ship intact, which means they have to get up close and personal with the gun. Most preferred not to risk it.

Cast-iron improved significantly after 1841 due to advancing chemistry and metallurgy. The Artillery entry in Dr Ure's Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures and Mines quotes a US Government analysis of Cast Iron guns showing wide variances in density, tenacity, transverse strength, torsional strength, compressive strength, and hardness in the metal tested. The best cast-iron sampled was 5 times stronger than the worst. No surprise that guns often burst!

Dr Ure mentions purity (achieved by better chemistry), melt control (achieved with air-blowers driven by a Watt Steam engine), and cooling methods as making significant improvements to British cast-iron between 1841 and 1851. Controlled heat and cooling are important because they effect crystallisation, understanding which demanded a microscope and scientists. British cast-iron guns made before 1841: average density 7.148, tenacity 23,638. Guns cast in 1851: average density 7.289, tenacity 37,774.

Once their chemistry is understood, the special properties of local ore become less important. By tweaking the process, metal producers can accommodate a wide range of impurities and reliably churn out large quantities of metal to almost any specification.

Top quality cast-iron didn't last long as a gun-metal. By 1851, gun makers were moving to more promising alternatives released by science and technology, first Wrought-Iron, then Cast Steel. The carronade was more-or-less obsolete by 1850, pushed aside by faster firing more powerful weapons. Wrought-iron was rejected fairly quickly because it's expensive to make and has a grain structure like wood - strong and weak depending on direction. Took about 30 years to get cast-steel consistently right in large volumes, but that's what we've used since.

Artillery itself has a wobbly future. Guns are easily detected, for example by tracking the shell with radar, and they aren't easy to move quickly. Highly vulnerable to aircraft and guided missiles...

Dave

Robin07/12/2019 12:21:17
avatar
353 forum posts
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 07/12/2019 10:56:14:

+1! Scotland was a major producer of Iron, perhaps 25% of all UK production, and there were many firms making and using Iron there.

Thanks for all that typing, I'm getting a crash course here and on Goggle or whatever it calls itself. The second spill off from Carron was the Falkirk Foundary in 1810 who signed themselves FALKIRK on pots

So presumably this is by them and not Carron. There are quite a few of these floating about, I presume they were cast to order, but that would mean they didn't season the iron. I know so little, back to Goggling for me then.

I actually thought iron was sorted out by Dud Dudley back in the 17th, but perhaps he only sorted it where he was. I have a reprint of his wonderful book where he prices the various irons and moans about the charcoal burners trashing his sea cole fired furnaces smiley

Robin

Mike Woods 107/12/2019 12:41:00
31 forum posts
1 photos

Martin,

Beautiful looking model, you are lucky to have someone who spotted it for you. As far as boring out the barrel is concerned, might be better to leave as is, or just partially deepen it. There is a danger that you might wander into the minefield of firearms legislation. There was an interesting forum post on the subject here.

**LINK**

Mick B107/12/2019 13:18:58
1661 forum posts
88 photos

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 07/12/2019 10:56:14:

...Carronades being popular on merchant ships because they can be fired by an unskilled team of four and are effective against pirates. Pirates can't blast victims at long range - they want cargo and ship intact, which means they have to get up close and personal with the gun. Most preferred not to risk it.

...

Dave

Yes - a defensive battle of a merchant ship against pirates trying to board was a different matter from a fight between warships, and gave the Carronade a longer lease of life.

I like the way Carron used to sell them as an integrated system, bundled with a full outfit of assorted ammunition for use against, hulls, rigging and personnel...

surprise

Mick B107/12/2019 13:40:43
1661 forum posts
88 photos
Posted by Mike Woods 1 on 07/12/2019 12:41:00:

Martin,

Beautiful looking model, you are lucky to have someone who spotted it for you. As far as boring out the barrel is concerned, might be better to leave as is, or just partially deepen it. There is a danger that you might wander into the minefield of firearms legislation. There was an interesting forum post on the subject here.

**LINK**

I *think* you're OK so long as you don't drill a touch-hole through to the bore.

Somewhere near where we used to live in Redditch, a bloke got some grief from police about a nicely-made model cannon he had. I believe the model was destroyed - but can't remember what happened to the owner.

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