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calendar   Friday - June 05, 2020

I forgot I was linked in Wiki

Fire in the hole!!

I did a post on this interim cannon ages ago. After the Civil War, where the best field cannon was the Model 1860 designed by John Griffen and built by the awesome Phoenix Iron Company, the ideas for breech loading and some form of recoil control resulted in the “grasshopper action” Model 1885, which was the first steel cannon in the Army. The barrel was built up from banded tubing, similar to the old iron Parrot gun of the Civil War. As metallurgy progressed, the early 3 banded barrel was replaced by the 2 banded barrel. The final version of the gun was actually designed to use smokeless powder, although this was often hard to get, and black powder used instead. These guns had nearly twice the range of the rifled muzzle loader field cannons used in the Civil War. The only real difference between the M1890 and the M1897 is that the newer one was made with a smaller powder chamber for the newfangled smokeless powder, while the larger black powder chamber on the M1890 gun was fitted with an internal sleeve the make a smaller chamber.

There’s one of these things in a little war memorial at the end of Main Street in Flemington NJ. I drive past it every week, for 12 years now. Eventually, I took a camera and paid a visit, and did a bunch of online research to figure out this oddball weapon. Made a blog post out of it, and wound up as Reference 8 on the Wiki page. Another reference there is to a much better research work than mine.

By 1902 these guns were obsolete. Technology was advancing that quickly.

It is a bit odd though that the Navy had a similar, older, smaller cannon called the Driggs-Schroeder, which did use fixed ammunition. Even more interesting because it was Driggs and Schroeder who designed the grasshopper action for this field piece. But the Army cannon went with bagged powder, not the faster and more weather resistant cartridge ammunition. Poor communication, or classic NIMBY-ism? [ I’ve been to visit the gun in the last pic at the above link. It’s in a little park on the edge of the Delaware River, just a few miles from here in Easton PA. I actually went there to take pics of the “free bridge” across the river there, and ... hey, check it out, a cannon! ]

I have no idea how I came to be looking at old cannons online again today. And I have no idea how I forgot about one of my most enjoyable blog research projects either.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/05/2020 at 01:35 PM   
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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