ROYAL NAVY IRON SIGNAL CANNON GEORGE III
This signal cannon shown above with raised and lowered barrel
is a miniature example of those used by the Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th Centuries when iron replaced bronze.
The workmanship is of very high quality making it an exceptional buy.
Presented is a finely made iron
signal cannon replicating the type that was used by the British Royal Navy during the 18th and early 19th Centuries on
the gun decks of Ship’s of the Line. Notice that it’s design closely follows the drawing above from the Royal
Armoury archives of a 17th Century cannon.
Miniature cannons like this
were made for for actual use or by the foundry as an example of its work. There are no foundry markings, but
it has a large embossed cartouche of a “GR” cypher beneath the symbol of the British Royal
Crown. The G may indicate King George III who served from 1738 until 1820. This is well within the date of this barrels manufacture.
The touch hole can be seen at the far right.
Unusual for an iron barrel, the
pleasing green patina ranges with only minor variations in shade over the cannon’s length. The original carriage
is made from Oak and is fitted with brass hardware. The bore is free to the touch hole, and shows no evidence
of being fired.
The design has the characteristics
of the most noteworthy examples of Royal Navy cannons of the 18th and early early 19th Centuries which include:
Lower than centerline trunnions
This cannon is
being offered for display only and should not be fired unless inspected by a gunsmith
The trunnions are located below
the center of the tube and date the design to before 1725. The introduction of the Cronstedt system
coincided with the trunnions being located at the mid level of the inner chamber. Before this, they had been
placed below the centerline.
Cannon Length overall 20 1/2
Length Barrel 20 1/2″ Bore 7/8″
Maximum diameter of tube 3 1/4″ At 1st
ring 2 1/4″ Weight of cannon 30 pounds
Carriage 12 1/2″ L x 9″ W x 6 1/2
PROVENANCE: The cannon was acquired in the normal course of business at an auction.
CONDITION: The green patina seems to be naturally aged and
has an even green cast over the length which is unusual for an iron barrel. The brass trunnion caps and axel pins are
bright. The touch hole is free to the bore. The wood carriage is in excellent condition, but is missing
its aiming block. A replacement has been supplied. The right trunnion cap does not lay flat and its anchor pin is broken
off. There some minor marks of age as expected. There are no mold marks or inscriptions other than
the Royal crown and GR initials as described in detail in the second paragraph.
This fine example is being sold for display purposes only. No attempt should be made to fire it
without inspection by a gunsmith.