SECTIONED 12-PDR CANNON BALL WITH WRIGHT FUSE

$150.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 2020-850

Offered here is a very nice half of an excavated cannon ball; sectioned to show the contents.  This is an iron, 12-pounder shell that was intended to be fired from the smoothbore “Napoleon” style cannon.

This was a “shell” filled with black powder as opposed to a “case shot” which was filled with shrapnel and a smaller bursting charge.

Of interest here is the Wright fuse. Rare because it was introduced late in the war, with only a few field recoveries. Specimens have been found in Winchester and Petersburg.

The Wright fuse was an improvement over the widely used Bormann fuse. This new design operated very much like the Bormann but included longer burning times with an additional safety feature. This fuse could burn up to 12 seconds (the Bormann could only burn up to 5 seconds) and the threaded iron center plug allowed access to load or unload the powder charge without disturbing the fuse. This safety feature was included following an accident at the Washington Arsenal which cost several lives and did considerable property damage. A workman was trying to remove a Bormann fuse from a loaded shell by the violent use of a cold chisel and hammer.

In operation, the gunner simply punched a hole in the outer band of the fuse at the appropriate time mark.

This item was excavated so the iron surface is pitted. Lead/zinc fuse band shows ground action on exterior, so no numbers remain visible. However, the embedded powder train within the band remains evident in the cross-section. The hole that lead to the inner charge from the fuse is also visible on this specimen.

This shell is a rare find and will be an excellent display piece or educational tool, as well as an excellent addition to any excavated Civil War artillery or general relic collection. [jet]

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