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Object Record

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Collection Fort Nisqually Permanent Collection
Object ID Number 1983.06.01
Object Name Cannon
Description Cannon "A", or the King's cannon, a small carronade, black finished exterior. Also called a gunnade, this 6 pounder was used as a ship's cannon, designed for merchant vessels. This is the cannon that is fired at Queen Victoria's Birthday celebration. The cannon is cast iron, and dates c. 1820-1850. The style of the crown embossed at the breech end of the barrel is a Queen's crown used during the reign of Queen Victoria from her ascension to the throne in 1837, so it's possible it was cast early in her reign. The crown cast does not mean the cannon was made for military use, but was simply intended to give the guns "quasi-respectability." The carriage and the slide were added in 1983, since the previous carriage had been in very poor condition. The wheels fitted to cannon A's slide allow it to be moved around the Fort's turf. The barrel measures 45 1/4 inches long overall, and including the carriage measures 16 1/2 inches wide. The slide measures 52 1/8 inches long and 20 inches wide. During restoration, the bore was reshaped by the insertion of a stainless steel sleeve to allow for safe firing, and is now technically a 4 lb gunnade rather than 6 lb.
This carronade closely resembles the correct military carronade, it has a better shape than cannon B in the muzzle and section of the loop, a style which was common around 1820. This is not a true carronade, since the trunnions are mounted to the sides of the barrel and not underneath. The gunnade was primarily used for defense on civilian merchant ships, and was sometimes termed an "insurance gun" since at least one insurance firm, Lloyds of London, required their presence on board for some voyages.
This cannon was donated to the city of Tacoma for placement at Firemen's Park in 1902, by Thomas Watts.The barrel was filled with cement to prevent vandals from firing it, and it was stolen three times, though recovered each time. In 1982 the process was started to move it to Fort Nisqually permanently. It was formally donated to the Fort in 1983 by Thomas Watts' granddaughter.
Date c. 1820-1837
Year Range from 1820.0
Year Range to 1850.0
People Watts, Thomas
Search Terms Cannon
Imagefile 006\19830601-3.JPG