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Thread: Question for "The Cannonball Guy"

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  1. #1
    us
    Sep 2017
    Honey Brook, PA
    Garrett AT Pro, Pinpointer Pro AT, Master Hunter Groundhog ADS
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    Question for "The Cannonball Guy"

    I found this "Two-Pounder" or so I think, around 1980 at the ruins of an old stone farmhouse at the location of the Revolutionary War skirmish "Battle of Signal Hill". This was based on my pre-Internet library research and talking to locals back then. As I got back into the hobby recently I began to doubt my memory as everything I googled seemed to relate Signal Hill to the French and Indian War, and in Canada, until today I found this:
    TEHS - Quarterly Archives

    The location referenced in this article is exactly where I found this. I cleaned it up with electrolysis back then. It is 2" in diameter and weighs exactly 2 pounds, and by exactly I mean that I weigh exactly 2 more pounds on my bathroom scale which is a high end one, when I am holding this.
    Let me know if the attachments don't come through.
    Honest Samuel likes this.

  2. #2
    us
    Sir

    Sep 2015
    Connecticut
    Minelab
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Handle with care.

  3. #3
    us
    Mar 2010
    Southwest Georgia
    White's DFX
    3,549
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    Welcome to the forums. If you posted pictures of the ball they didn't come through. But, the link you posted works for me.
    My wife does all the driving, I just hold the steering wheel.

  4. #4
    us
    Sep 2017
    Honey Brook, PA
    Garrett AT Pro, Pinpointer Pro AT, Master Hunter Groundhog ADS
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    2nd try to attach photos of cannonball

    2nd try to attach photos of cannonball
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  5. #5
    Educator

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
    White's 6000, Nautilus DMC-1, Minelab
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    By your request, here is my analysis of the metal ball you found.

    The number-one test for being a cannonball (or not) is that all actual cannonballs were a "True Sphere" -- meaning, perfectly round (sometimes with a slight casting-mold seam), never out-of-round, not lumpy/bumpy, not egg-shaped, no flat spots, no raised belt. Your ball seems to be perfectly round.

    It has the appearance of cast-iron, rather than steel. That's good, because there are many steel balls for civilian/industrial use, but no steel cannonballs were ever used on the American continents.

    There is a serious problem with either the size you reported for the ball, or the weight you reported. According to data in the US Ordnance Manual of 1861, a SOLID (not hollow) cast-iron ball which weighs exactly 2.00 pounds will be 2.46-inches in diameter. Please weigh your ball on a Precision weighing-scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale (which weighs in pounds and fractions-of-an-ounce).

    While we wait for the re-measuring report... if your cast-iron ball is exactly 2.0-inches in diameter, it is not a cannonball. According to the Shot Tables in the 1861 Ordnance Manual, the nearest cannonball size to your 2.00-inch ball is a 1-Pounder Solid-Shot, which is 1.95-inches in diameter, and weighed 1.0 pound. Let me suggest you measure the ball with a Digital Caliper, which gives a more precise readout than the ruler-type caliper in your photo

    Please pardon what may seem like undue fussiness on my part about the critical need for super-precise measuring of the ball's diameter and weight. There are literally multi-millions of iron & steel balls in existence, made for industrial use and other non-artillery purposes. To correctly distinguish an actual cannonball from one of the many lookalikes that aren't an artillery ball, we cannonball collectors rely on the 1861 Ordnance Manual's super-precise measurement data (called the "Shot Tables") for actual cannonballs used in America from the Revolutionary War through the civil war. You can view the Shot Tables data online, for free, at:
    www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

    I co-wrote an Educational article about how to distinguish actual cannonballs from non-artillery balls, with detailed instructions, diagrams, and photos. You can view it online, for free, at:
    SolidShotEssentialsMod
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  6. #6
    us
    Sep 2017
    Honey Brook, PA
    Garrett AT Pro, Pinpointer Pro AT, Master Hunter Groundhog ADS
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    2 pounder found at Signal Hill

    Thanks very much for your response and your analysis! Honestly I'm disappointed but I appreciate your informed analysis. I'll go buy some digital calipers tomorrow, and talk to the folks at my local Post Office to see if they will let me bring it in without facing federal charges for bringing a firearm on the premises. I realize you didn't mean that it had to be a U.S. Post Office scale but since I don't own a scale of such accuracy or know anyone who does, that seems to be the most expeditious way to get an accurate weight. I can't see buying one since I probably won't have another use for it. All that said, I don't think the new measurements will differ much from the ones that I provided, but I guess we'll see. I'm especially disappointed because of the location where I found this, but I always realized the possibility that it might just have been something that the owner of this house had saved. A few miles away around the same time period, some hunters found the skeletons of two patriot soldiers, still in uniform and with muskets at their side, in the woods on either Rebel Hill or Barren Hill. It was 40 years ago so I don't recall which hill it was.
    Thanks again, I'll get back to you once I get those measurements.
    Jim


    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    By your request, here is my analysis of the metal ball you found.

    The number-one test for being a cannonball (or not) is that all actual cannonballs were a "True Sphere" -- meaning, perfectly round (sometimes with a slight casting-mold seam), never out-of-round, not lumpy/bumpy, not egg-shaped, no flat spots, no raised belt. Your ball seems to be perfectly round.

    It has the appearance of cast-iron, rather than steel. That's good, because there are many steel balls for civilian/industrial use, but no steel cannonballs were ever used on the American continents.

    There is a serious problem with either the size you reported for the ball, or the weight you reported. According to data in the US Ordnance Manual of 1861, a SOLID (not hollow) cast-iron ball which weighs exactly 2.00 pounds will be 2.46-inches in diameter. Please weigh your ball on a Precision weighing-scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale (which weighs in pounds and fractions-of-an-ounce).

    While we wait for the re-measuring report... if your cast-iron ball is exactly 2.0-inches in diameter, it is not a cannonball. According to the Shot Tables in the 1861 Ordnance Manual, the nearest cannonball size to your 2.00-inch ball is a 1-Pounder Solid-Shot, which is 1.95-inches in diameter, and weighed 1.0 pound. Let me suggest you measure the ball with a Digital Caliper, which gives a more precise readout than the ruler-type caliper in your photo

    Please pardon what may seem like undue fussiness on my part about the critical need for super-precise measuring of the ball's diameter and weight. There are literally multi-millions of iron & steel balls in existence, made for industrial use and other non-artillery purposes. To correctly distinguish an actual cannonball from one of the many lookalikes that aren't an artillery ball, we cannonball collectors rely on the 1861 Ordnance Manual's super-precise measurement data (called the "Shot Tables") for actual cannonballs used in America from the Revolutionary War through the civil war. You can view the Shot Tables data online, for free, at:
    www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

    I co-wrote an Educational article about how to distinguish actual cannonballs from non-artillery balls, with detailed instructions, diagrams, and photos. You can view it online, for free, at:
    SolidShotEssentialsMod
    TheCannonballGuy likes this.

  7. #7
    us
    Sep 2017
    Honey Brook, PA
    Garrett AT Pro, Pinpointer Pro AT, Master Hunter Groundhog ADS
    16
    73 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    New digital measurements of iron ball.

    Hello Peter,
    Today I purchased both digital calipers and a digital scale. Surprisingly my original analog measurements were off more than I expected, but perhaps not enough to prove it is a cannonball. I will attach new photos to the end of this message.
    Weight: 948 grams, 33.40 ounces, 2.088 lbs. Diameter: 2 33/64 inches.
    Thanks again.
    Jim



    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    By your request, here is my analysis of the metal ball you found.

    The number-one test for being a cannonball (or not) is that all actual cannonballs were a "True Sphere" -- meaning, perfectly round (sometimes with a slight casting-mold seam), never out-of-round, not lumpy/bumpy, not egg-shaped, no flat spots, no raised belt. Your ball seems to be perfectly round.

    It has the appearance of cast-iron, rather than steel. That's good, because there are many steel balls for civilian/industrial use, but no steel cannonballs were ever used on the American continents.

    There is a serious problem with either the size you reported for the ball, or the weight you reported. According to data in the US Ordnance Manual of 1861, a SOLID (not hollow) cast-iron ball which weighs exactly 2.00 pounds will be 2.46-inches in diameter. Please weigh your ball on a Precision weighing-scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale (which weighs in pounds and fractions-of-an-ounce).

    While we wait for the re-measuring report... if your cast-iron ball is exactly 2.0-inches in diameter, it is not a cannonball. According to the Shot Tables in the 1861 Ordnance Manual, the nearest cannonball size to your 2.00-inch ball is a 1-Pounder Solid-Shot, which is 1.95-inches in diameter, and weighed 1.0 pound. Let me suggest you measure the ball with a Digital Caliper, which gives a more precise readout than the ruler-type caliper in your photo

    Please pardon what may seem like undue fussiness on my part about the critical need for super-precise measuring of the ball's diameter and weight. There are literally multi-millions of iron & steel balls in existence, made for industrial use and other non-artillery purposes. To correctly distinguish an actual cannonball from one of the many lookalikes that aren't an artillery ball, we cannonball collectors rely on the 1861 Ordnance Manual's super-precise measurement data (called the "Shot Tables") for actual cannonballs used in America from the Revolutionary War through the civil war. You can view the Shot Tables data online, for free, at:
    www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

    I co-wrote an Educational article about how to distinguish actual cannonballs from non-artillery balls, with detailed instructions, diagrams, and photos. You can view it online, for free, at:
    SolidShotEssentialsMod
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  8. #8
    Educator

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
    White's 6000, Nautilus DMC-1, Minelab
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    Relic Hunting
    Thank you for the effort you put into doing super-accurate measuring of the ball's diameter and weight. Unfortuantely, there is no artillery-ball matchup in the Ordnance Manual's Shot Tables data. The closest is a 2-Pounder caliber ball, whose diameter is 2.46-inches and weight is 2.00 pounds. Your ball's weight is above that, at 2 pounds 1.4 ounces, and also too large in diameter, at approximately 2.52-inches, which is too big to fit into the barrel of a 2-Pounder Smoothbore cannon. Also, there's no matchup for it in the Grapeshot ball and Canister-ammo ball categories. Sorry to have to tell you disappointing news... but at least you now know for certain about whether or not the ball is an artillery ball.

    By the way... in the Battle Of Signal Hill article you provided a link to, there is no mention of artillery being present. Also, only 12 men on the Colonial side, and 200 brits. Artillery would usually not accompany such a small unit of troops. There are always a few exceptions, of course, but it seems unlikely a cannon was present at the RevWar battle of Signal Hill.
    coinman123 likes this.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  9. #9

    Sep 2017
    1
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Help with cannonball authenticity

    I purchased this cannonball at a flea market. The man selling it said it was from Winchester, VA. It has a circumference of 13 15/16 inches. Can any one please tell me if this is a real civil war cannonball?[


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  10. #10
    Educator

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
    White's 6000, Nautilus DMC-1, Minelab
    5,012
    5824 times
    Relic Hunting
    The circumference measurement you provided, 13 & 15/16 inches, divided by Pi (3.1416), gives a diameter measurement of 4.46 inches. That is too large to be a civil war 9-Pounder caliber cannonball (4.10 inches), and too small to be a civil war 12-Pounder caliber cannonball (4.50-to-4.52-inches).
    www.civilwarartillery.com/shottables.htm

    All actual cannonballs were very carefully manufactured to be perfectly round (except for sometimes a slight casting-mold seam), NEVER lumpy/bumpy, out-of-round, no flat-spots or raised belt. Looking very closely at the photo you posted, I seem to see some out-of-roundness at about 3:30/4:00 o'clock on the ball's right side. When you look at it in real-life, is it perfectly round, or does it have some out-of-roundness?

    Another very important ID test is to weigh a ball on a super-accurate weighing scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale, to see if the ball's precisely-measured weight matches up with any of the precise weights of Solid-Shot cannonballs in the data charts at the Shot Tables webpage at the link given above.

    Typical household bathroom weighing scales are notoriously inaccurate. They are not good enough for the precise weighing needed in cannonball-or-not identification.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

 

 

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