Object Title

1 pr gun

1 pr gun

Date

1793

Object Number

XIX.176

Provenance

Transferred from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, 1968.

Physical Description

The gun is long and slender and is of the type often called an 'Amusette'. It is engraved with the monogram of George III on the first reinforce and with that of the Master General of the Ordnance, Charles, 3rd Duke of Richmond, on the chase, both framed in the Garter. The first reinforce ring bears the names of the founders and date 1o & Hy KING 1793 (cf No.299) in low relief and the second reinforce ring the number XXVII. This number is also incised on the under side as Q3 27. The left trunnion is stamped No.17. The cascabel is marked with the weight 2-2-3, the button having loops beneath for the attachment of an elevating screw. The base ring is marked with quarter-sight scales. The vent is considerably larger in diameter than is usual and may have been altered for experimental purposes

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length: 60 in (1524 mm), Overall length: 63 in (1600 mm); max diameter: 250 mm Weight: 2 cwt 2 qtr 3 lb (128.4 kg)

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number 17

Calibre

2 in _ (5 cm)

Associations

Places England

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.78-79.

Notes

This gun was one of ten 1 pdr guns proved at Woolwich on 3/4 January 1794 (W.P.R.3. January 1794 (W.P.R.3). Cast in 1793, they were part of a of a series made for experiments to see whether the amusette should be reintroduced ino the British service. Three lengths of barrels were used 5,6 and 7ft. With an 8oz charge of powder, the 7ft model was fired at elevations of 1, 2 and 3 degrees giving ranges of 656,830 and 1000 yds. The experiments were evidently considered a failure as no more amusettes were produced (W.Duane, 'Military Dictionary' (Philadelphia, 1810).
AMUSETTE:
The word amusette was used by Herman Maurice, Comte de Saxe, 1696-1750, in 'Mes Reveries', first published in 1756, to describe a light, long-barrelled field gun, which could be drawn and worked by two or three men. Marshall Saxe claimed that it could be fired 200 times and hour with a maximum range of 3000-4000 yds. In the form of a light 1pdr., the gun was issued to the Norwegian and Danish infantry in 1758, but its most efficient range was found to be 1500 yd. (F.C.Skaar, 'Amusetten', 'Haernuseet Arbok' (1940-6), 23-40). It became popular on both sides during the American War of Independence. According to the gunfounder, Peter Verbruggen, the British model was based on a 1 pdr gun of 1669 nearly 7ft long. After experiments in 1776 the length was reduced to 5ft and this with a calibre of approx 2in became the standard measurement ( W.L.B. 14.2.1783). In 1778 John and Peter Verbruggen of the Royal Brass Foundry, Woolwich, were paid for 'Six Brass Amuzet of 5ft-15cwts 2grs 17lbs @ 64s per cwt= £50/1/8.25d'. (W.O.51/279). Breechloading mechanisms were tried out on the amusette but with limited success; its maximum effective range was about 1000 yds., and after c.1795 it appears to have gone out of service (W.Duane,'Military Dictionary' (Philadelphia,1810). Nevertherless, three models 5ft, 6ft and 7ft long were still listed in the 1813 edition of R.W.Adye's ' The Bombardier'.
'John and Henry King'
Appointed Founders of the Royal Brass Foundry at Woolwich in 1784, and Foreman and Assistant Foreman in 1789 being promoted to Master Founder and Assistant Founder on the revival of these offices in 1797. John King continued in the post until his death in 1813 when he was succeeded by his brother Henry (W.O.47/116, p. 692; W.O. 47/2560, p.414; W.O. 47/2630, p.1143), until his retirement in 1818, when the post of Master Founder was abolished. Cornelius King, the son of John King, was appointed foreman at the Royal Brass Foundry at Woolwich in 1805, and on the death of his father was promoted to Assistant Founder. On the retirement of his uncle, Henry King, he remained in charge of the foundry with the rank of Acting Founder. He retired in 1822 to be succeeded by William North.