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Author Topic: 8 inch shell?  (Read 358 times)

AndrewK

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8 inch shell?
« on: May 16, 2018, 05:44:40 PM »
Hello.  This is my first post here, though I've been lurking the forum for the last week and a half and it looks like a great site with a lot of information. (Note to Carl, I'm the guy who bought the 10 inch solid shot in Mansfield).

For my first post I decided to see if I could find out anything about an unusual shell that I've had for a while.  It measures just under eight inches in diameter, about 7.9" give or take.  The wall of the shell is only about half an inch in diameter and the fuse hole measures about 1.01" across.  It weighs about 23 pounds.  I can feel a very pronounced mold seam on the inside, and the outside seems to be a bit flat and misshapen around the seam line, where I'm guessing it was ground off.  The whole thing is covered with black paint and has a couple deep nicks in the surface that I included in the second photo. 

I picked this shell up in an antique store years ago where it was described as pre-Civil War, which would explain why it's not in any reference I have seen, but I was wondering if anyone else has seen one like it and might have any idea how old it is and where it comes from.  Thanks for looking.

AndrewK

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Re: 8 inch shell?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 05:45:29 PM »
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AndrewK

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Re: 8 inch shell?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 05:46:36 PM »
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CarlS

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Re: 8 inch shell?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 07:12:34 PM »
Andrew,

Good day and welcome to the forum.  It was great meeting you at Mansfield and hope you find a friendly home here among us iron and lead heads.  I hope it wasn't too much trouble to get to the final destination.

The shell you provided pictures of does look like an early 8-inch cannon ball to me.  Pictured below in my collection is one just like it although not in nearly as good of condition as it was dug.  Mine has quite porous iron as well.  The one you have certainly looks like it never spent any time buried in the ground.  It is a really nice example.  Mine came with the need to be cleaned and coated and I've not gotten around to it yet.

One of the biggest indicators that it is early is how thin the walls of the shell are.  The shell walls definitely got thicker as the years went by.  I suspect this was due to the increase in the quality of black powder such that a smaller amount could break up a thicker shell wall.   Also a heavier shell was probably pretty limited on distance with the charge that the earlier cannons could handle.  Iron quality got noticeably better from the late 1700's into the 1800's and cannons got bigger and shell walls got thicker and more solid shot started showing in the larger calibers.  I'm sure some of the more well read forum people in this area can cite some supporting documentation and evidence rather just my observations.  I also would love to hear it.

Very nice relic for the collection.
Best,
Carl

AndrewK

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Re: 8 inch shell?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 07:31:22 PM »
Thank you for the info and the welcome.  It would certainly make sense that as the industrial revolution progressed during that period the ability to make stronger cannons and thicker shells would increase. 

CarlS

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Re: 8 inch shell?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2018, 07:50:34 PM »
Thanks.  You said in a few words what I rambled to say!
Best,
Carl