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Object Title

Gun - Scottish Iron Swivel, 4-pounder

Gun - Scottish Iron Swivel, 4-pounder

Date

1778

Object Number

XIX.127

Provenance

Unknown

Physical Description

The piece has an ornate fluted cascable with two bands of design that nearest the base ring is separated by a fillet. The button's neck carries a tiller to assist traversing the piece. There is a prominent base ring behind which on the cascable side is a vent patch. The reinforce is plain with the trunnions carrying pivots which join below the piece to a single pintle. This was for setting into a gunwale. There is a reinforce ring and ogee marking the breech end of the chase and a muzzle astragal and fillets marking its end. The muzzle has mouldings.

Techniques

Cast

Materials

Dimensions

BarrelBore84 mm
BarrelLength12.5 in
BarrelLength318 mm
BarrelLength457 mm

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number 180

Calibre

84 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscription
4P
Right trunnion
Marked
Manufacturer's mark
CARRON 1778 180
Left trunnion
Inscribed

Associations

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, pp.144-145

Notes

Both this gun and a similar example, XIX.126, appear in the 1859 'Inventory' as XIX.40 and the other was entered in 1865 as additional entry No.130. They appear to be the immediate forerunners of the carronade introduced in the British service in 1779. The Company was founded in 1759 by a partnership of seven men, being known initially as Roebuck, Garbett and Cadell after the names of the three progenitors, the Englishmen John Roebuck and Samuel Garbett and the Scot William Cadell. The factory was built on the banks of the river Carron near Falkirk, Scotland. From the outset a variety of domestic articles was made; pots and pans, stoves, grates, pipes, railings nails, etc. In 1761 the Company began to experiment with cast-iron cannon but the first batches supplied to the Board of Ordnance were failures, a high proportion being rejected in proof. In 1773 the Ordnance cancelled its contracts and all Carron guns were removed from H.M. ships. The Company was forced to adopt new methods of casting and boring. These were successful and the quick adoption of the carronade in 1779 as a popular government and private armament brought prosperity back to the firm. The carronade was a form of gun/howitzer, short and light in relation to its large bore and designed to deliver a large cast-iron round shot at short range. Its design has also been attributed to Charles Gascoigne, manager of the company in 1778 and for a short time this type of gun was known as 'gasconades'. Other claimants were General Robert Melville and Patrick Miller, an Edinburgh banker both of whom were associated with its early development. After the American War it continued to make guns for the East India Company and for overseas customers including foreign governments. During the Napoleonic Wars it became the foremost iron foundry in the country. Amongst the interesting items which it helped to develop and subsequently made in large quantities were the shells invented by Henry Shrapnell. Whilst naval warfare was conducted according to the Nelsonian preference at short range it was an extremely effective weapon living up to its nickname of 'The Smasher.'The Company continues today as iron founders and engineers (Campbell, 72-103, 219-22).

Image of Gun - Scottish Iron Swivel, 4-pounder Short, squat barrel with a tiller and pivot.
Image of Gun - Scottish Iron Swivel, 4-pounder Short, squat barrel with a tiller and pivot.