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Old 9th April 2017, 08:09 PM   #1
Cerjak
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Default Breech loading or Mortar ?

Breech loading or Mortar ?
Overall 19 cm
Internal diameter 11 cm external 13 cm
Base diameter 15 cm.
Any comment on it would be welcome.
Best

Cerjak
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Old 10th April 2017, 03:32 AM   #2
Pukka Bundook
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It Looks like a breech, Cerjak, but we are used to seeing a lip or cone, where it fits inside the breech end of the barrel.
Others with more knowledge will likely put me right though!

R.

Last edited by Pukka Bundook; 10th April 2017 at 03:33 AM. Reason: Clarification.
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Old 10th April 2017, 01:19 PM   #3
fernando
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Certainly a mortar. A breech loading chamber would not have such 'undulating' exterior, as it shoulf fit and rotate smoothly into the chamber. And also as Richard wisely suggests, its front shoud have a tapering section, to lock well into the barrel.
If you put it in the upright position, you will see it makes all sense that it belngs in the mortar typology, with its wider base and all.
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Old 10th April 2017, 01:36 PM   #4
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Not really sure what it is, could be a mortar ( it is missing the protruding powderpan though).
What does make me wondee is the seemingly moulded shape of the piece. It was not made like any other barrel of age i know (wrought and hammered). It was cast and also has non functional rings around it, mostly seen with asian arms.

Do you know the provenance?
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Marcus
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Old 10th April 2017, 04:04 PM   #5
fernando
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Hi Marcus .
Not all of these things have a powder pan (lip); actually several versions ignited with a match cord. And in no way a re-loading chamber could have other than plain exterior features ... or a base diameter wider than that of the top, don't you think ?


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Last edited by fernando; 11th April 2017 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 10th April 2017, 08:29 PM   #6
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Probably a mortar for launching bombs of decorative fireworks?
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Old 10th April 2017, 08:58 PM   #7
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This type of devices could be very old and had several purposes; noise makers for (religious or civilian) celebrations, siege defense traps, navy signals, powder testers, you name it.
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Old 15th July 2021, 07:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom View Post
Not really sure what it is, could be a mortar ( it is missing the protruding powderpan though).
What does make me wondee is the seemingly moulded shape of the piece. It was not made like any other barrel of age i know (wrought and hammered). It was cast and also has non functional rings around it, mostly seen with asian arms.

Do you know the provenance?
Best,
Marcus
I wonder if it could be a "petard".
I found some texts about "petard":

"Petard is, or rather was, as they have long since fallen out of use, a small engine of war used to blow breaches in gates or walls. They were originally metallic and bell-shaped but later cubical wooden boxes. Whatever the shape, the significant feature was that they were full of gunpowder - basically what we would now call a bomb.

The device was used by the military forces of all the major European fighting nations by the 16th century. In French and English - petar or petard, and in Spanish and Italian - petardo.

The dictionary maker John Florio defined them like this in 1598:

"Petardo - a squib or petard of gun powder vsed to burst vp gates or doores with."The French have the word 'péter' - to fart, which it's hard to imagine is unrelated.

Petar was part of the everyday language around that time, as in this rather colourful line from Zackary Coke in his work Logick, 1654:

"The prayers of the Saints ascending with you, will Petarr your entrances through heavens Portcullis".

Hoist with your own petardOnce the word is known, 'hoist by your own petard' is easy to fathom. It's nice also to have a definitive source - no less than Shakespeare, who gives the line to Hamlet, 1602:

"For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar".

Note: engineers were originally constructors of military engines."
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Old 16th July 2021, 12:10 PM   #9
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Indeed the number of early explosive devices is countless, their names varying in time and cultures. 'Petard' is indeed one that has/had a vast number of shapes and uses.
The type named as petard in the Castelneau castle museum appears to be of nowadays consensual attribution, for one:

https://castelnaud.omeka.net/items/show/48
Notwithstanding the example shown in post #8 is also a form of petard, this one a less vulgar and more complex type seen out there, within the door trap family.

While the type named 'pot a feu' in the same museum seems to be more the specimen first posted in this thread. The term Mortier=mortar=morteiro also fits in it:
https://castelnaud.omeka.net/items/show/47


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Old 16th July 2021, 02:10 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
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This is a very interesting item, and I would agree with Fernando that this does not fit the character of a breech loaded chamber.
I agree with him as well in the observation that there are many types of independent explosive devices of this nature which have been produced for many purposes as described, which follow a simple functional character not necessarily in distinct or standard pattern.

Always interesting to see these kinds of 'artillery' type items and the broad scope of variation they often present. The 'breech block' was something I only learned of several years ago, and this does bring these to mind as Richard noted. I was involved in researching one of these from a shipwreck in which the actual deck gun was no longer with it, so trying to determine which type of gun it might have come from.....an intriguing conundrum considering the many variations.
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Old 19th July 2021, 09:17 AM   #11
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Nice thread indeed. Most actual breech blocks have a forcing cone at the business end, and fitted with a true, full size handle, that can accommodate a gloved hand.
Past thread with good examples:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...3016#post73016
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