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A Very Fine & Impressive Breechloading Signal / Salute Cannon, Field Gun

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An especially handsome, finely built, and most impressive breechloading signal / saluting cannon based on US Army Civil War field cannon and made for 12 gauge blanks. This is a serious and substiantial piece weighing around 40 lbs with an overall length of 30", and a 16" barrel.

We believe it was built circa 1900. In that period of great national pride and the recognition of the United States as a World Power signal and saluting cannons became popular fixtures at sporting and patriotic events, on holidays, and in parades. Civil War veterens organizations such as the 'GAR' (Grand Army Of The Republic) were very active across the USA and nearly every state had an active Civil War veterens organization. This led to numbers of salute / signal cannon being built in the style of 1861-1865 field artillery used by both Union and Confederate armies in that conflict. There were also numbers of military schools and cadet groups using small cannons. This cannon is an exemplary example of that type.

This great looking cannon was intended to impress whoever saw it. The very well proportioned barrel is nickel plated steel. The brass breech block is very substiantial with a steel two lug locking ring and very nicely turned spring loaded firing mechanism. The breech operates somewhat like a turn bolt rifle of the period in that a side mounted brass locking block is released and the breech block can be rotated until its two locking lugs line up with recesses in the barrel. This allows the breech block to be pulled free. Upon loading the breech block is seated and rotated until the locking lugs are engaged. The carriage is massive with the trail being solid cast steel and having two heavy steel sideplates bolted to it which support the barrel and a brass elevating screw. The finely built wheels feature oak hubs and spokes with heavy steel tires.

This is a very impressive cannon in all ways and is the first example of its model we have encountered over the many years we have been interested in items of this type. It is an especially well built cannon showing excellent form and a very interesting breech design. Due to its size and given the high quality of its manufacture this cannon would have to have been built in a sophisticated heavy duty machine shop and/or factory. It must have been costly to build and if intended for commercial sale would have been an expensive item. This cannon may have been a pilot model or one of a small number produced on special order or to test the market. Since there were a number of well established companies producing signal and saluting cannon in the period,  a cannon of this weight and probable cost likely couldn't compete well.

CONDITION: The cannon is in excellent original condition. The barrel retains 97% original nickel plate finish with some light aging and fine patina. Mechanical functions are excellent. The brass breech block and elevation screw have excellent patina. The carriage retains 95% blued finish with some age spots and high edge wear. The oak wheels retain their original finish with excellent color/patina. The natural unfinished steel tires have excellent patina with some age stains.

An especially handsome and impressive piece for the collector.

Dimensions: Overall length 30", barrel length with breech in place 16", bore 12 gauge, wheel diameter 12", weight aprox. 40 lbs.

Price: $2650.00