ARTILLERY HOT SHOT FORK

$350.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 819-126

Fire was an effective weapon against wooden structures, fortifications, and warships. Seacoast forts were usually equipped with large furnaces to bring solid shot to a red heat. Loaded on top of some good damp wadding and fired before it could burn through to ignite its own charge, the round would deeply embed itself in the sides or wooden structure of an enemy vessel and its crew would suddenly have more important matters to deal with, particularly before any flames reached their own powder magazine. In the field or in a siege gun crews might be called upon to set alight enemy barracks, magazines, or just create havoc by adding fire-fighting to a defender’s to-do list.

Lifting the glowing round out of a furnace, transporting it to a gun tube, and then rolling it into the muzzle is where the hotshot fork came into play. The long prongs of the head served to lift the shot from the fire, allow it to settle in the open ring for transport to the gun, and then enable it to roll into the muzzle. This one is sized for about a 12-pounder gun, more appropriate for land use, but smaller, mobile pieces were among the armament of even large forts. Obviously, the haft is missing, but the metal head is good and the socket and prongs are both intact. It shows an old cleaning and is now a mix of gray and dark metal with scattered overall light pitting, but is solid and a fairly scarce artillery implement.  [sr]

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