Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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df1967 12th January 2022 04:11 PM

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Hallo, does anybody knows what this canons could be? 65cm Long, around 30-35 kg each, caliber around 3,5 cm.

fernando 12th January 2022 05:18 PM

Welcome to the forum, df :).
Let us see what the members think of your cannons.

adrian 12th January 2022 06:50 PM

Their small size suggests that they may have been intended as swivel guns.

df1967 12th January 2022 07:02 PM

Possible, thanks for your estimation…

df1967 12th January 2022 07:05 PM

Wondering if the VIII stands for the size and HF is the manufacturer or iron foundry….

Richard G 13th January 2022 01:34 PM

This is probably another statement of the bl**ding obvious, but they have a naval\maritime look about them.
PS. and not very well cast.

df1967 13th January 2022 02:36 PM

This was also my thought, even when I got them from a castle nearby in south Germany….

kronckew 13th January 2022 07:17 PM

The join between the barrel and the trunnions looks a lot like a corroded arc welding bead, I'd think a mould pattern would have a smoother transition. I don't think Heinrich VIII had any arc-welders.

adrian 14th January 2022 07:45 PM

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I have been involved, directly and indirectly, in a number of restorations some of which have included new trunnions and the guns that are subject of this post do not appear to have welded on trunnions.

Below are photos:

Showing a gun with its original trunnions - virtually everything about which appears identical to the subject guns.

Showing a gun having new trunnions welded on - evidence of such a weld & its 'clean up' are virtually impossible to disguise against close inspection.

Showing a completed gun that has new trunnions & chase. At a distance the trunnions appear okay while the new chase is easily detected due to its lack of surface corrosion.

df1967 14th January 2022 07:59 PM

Thanks! Do you have any clue where such canons where in use? Even in this small versions…ships or fortifications? I guess this signs HF is the manufacturer but no idea who this could be….

df1967 14th January 2022 08:06 PM

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adrian 15th January 2022 12:20 AM

I think you will find that the two main uses for guns of such small nature was either as swivel guns, whether on a boat, ship or fort's rampart or as largely decorative arms in stately manors, castles and similar buildings owned by the aristocracy & wealthy.

I agree that those marks are probably those of the foundry. You might consider it worthwhile to engage the experts to tell you what they can at

fernando 15th January 2022 09:58 AM

Aren't these too heavy/massive for swivels ... and no aiming tail :o.
No offense but, have you tried elementary tests like introducing a stick into the barrel and check it it goes through all the way down to the touch hole ?

df1967 15th January 2022 12:06 PM

Yes they are open till the touch whole as it should be…no offens at all!

CSinTX 15th January 2022 12:23 PM

Better pictures of each touch hole? How do they compare? If they were shot very much, the touch holes wear down.

Also pics of the muzzles?

adrian 15th January 2022 07:48 PM

Aren't these too heavy/massive for swivels ... and no aiming tail

At only 65cm long & about 35mm bore these are of correct size for swivel guns & although some swivel guns had an integral 'tail', or 'tiller' many did not and the tiller was either a separate item attached to the cascabel or incorporated into the swivel 'yoke' mounting.

Although it won't make a lot of difference it would be helpful to confirm if the measurement provided is overall (face of muzzle to rear of cascabel) or as was officially done (face of muzzle to base ring) ?
I am assuming it is overall.

df1967 16th January 2022 12:23 PM

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It’s correct overall length. The light spot in the gun barrel is from a torch on the touch whole….

Philip 17th January 2022 06:26 PM

Are the bores cylindrical, without constrictions or irregularities from casting? For guns that are meant to be shot, this is important. Besides the bores going all way back to the touchhole.

The reason I ask is that a little bird in back of my skull is suggesting that these might be barrels from small saluting cannons. Make to fire blank charges, of course. If they came from a castle in south Germany, it's not an unreasonable suggestion because the landed gentry / upper crust who lived in these places did like to shoot off festive salvos on special occasions.

corrado26 18th January 2022 05:14 PM

As far as I can see this canons are made of cast steel and not of bronce. As this material was not in use in central Europe at the time when this type of canons was in, both should have been made in Scandinavia, perhaps in Sweden.

adrian 18th January 2022 08:28 PM

With the description 'cast steel' do you actually mean 'cast iron' ?

corrado26 19th January 2022 07:16 AM


Originally Posted by adrian (Post 269167)
With the description 'cast steel' do you actually mean 'cast iron' ?

i mean cast steel, but perhaps I am wrong. A friend of mine, owner of a very famous artillery-museum and a real specialist told me that this canons are probably made of cast steel The production methods of making cast steel had been invented in the 1740s in England but came into use in central Europe not before the 1840s.

adrian 19th January 2022 07:38 PM

The common use of cast iron versus the rare use of cast steel in this period aside the two metals display markedly different corrosion characteristics and these guns have every appearance of being made of cast iron. I would be astounded if they were anything else.
Cast steel was a technology that was neither very practical nor affordable until after the introduction of the Bessemer process in the mid 1850s.

Richard G 21st January 2022 02:15 PM

I think it is quite possible that these are signal cannon. They would not be solely for saluting or ceremony but more or less in everyday use when some kind of warning, synchronisation or attention seeking was necessary. Thus cannons were fired by light house keepers as fog warnings in certain situations. Guns were fired at noon or a specified time so that time-keeping or certain activities could be co-ordinated. British admirals and naval bases were known to fire a cannon when they were about to hoist a signal by flag.
Today, the breaking of the ramadan fast is often announced by a signal cannon.
The more one thinks about it the more one can imagine their use in a time before electronic communication and when not everyone had a watch.

df1967 22nd January 2022 03:01 PM

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I believe they are swivel guns, either from a ship or maybe also from a castle. See:

df1967 22nd January 2022 10:18 PM

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This one is from demensions, weight and marks identical….

Richard G 24th January 2022 05:01 PM

So now we have three of them?

kronckew 24th January 2022 06:13 PM


Originally Posted by Richard G (Post 269307)
So now we have three of them?

...and all with the same 'Gun Number'. :D

df1967 24th January 2022 08:10 PM

Yes they are identical, but Iam as stated before quite sure the number 8 (VIII) is telling the size of the swivel canons from the manufacturer HF.Just the producer sign HF I really have no idea. Anyhow many speculations, but interesting to know that the same model is rigth now for sale in the USA…

df1967 24th January 2022 08:13 PM

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Swivel gun for sale on a auction in Germany in 2008

df1967 24th January 2022 08:15 PM

Water discovery ….

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