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Thread: Rev War Grenade?

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  1. #1
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
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    Rev War Grenade?

    I went out on a short hunt today with my XP Deus HF elliptical coil and found this iron ball. At first I thought it was a cannonball. But after doing some research, I believe that is could be a Revolutionary War Grenade or Grenadier. Its about 2.5" in diameter. Can anyone confirm that it is a Rev War Grenade?

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  2. #2
    us
    Jun 2011
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    sure looks like it could be. I'm interested to see what CannonballGuy has to say about it
    Simon1, Bharpring and A2coins like this.

  3. #3
    Educator

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    I'm aware of Colonial era British Navy "boarding grenades" which were about 3.3" in diameter, and Rev War Colonial Army grenades which were about 3.53" in diameter... but no 2.5" grenades from that era. However, there was a civil war Confederate round-ball grenade which was 2.5" in diameter. One is shown on page 500 (in the Grenades section) of my book "Field Artillery Projectiles Of The American Civil War."

    Establishing whether or not your ball is a Confederate grenade will of course require a high standard of proof. You'll have to clean it well enough to get a highly accurate measurement of its original iron surface's diameter, not counting any rust-encrustation buildup. After the encrustation is cleaned off, weigh it on a super-accurate scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale, which measures in 1/10th-ounce increments. If it then matches up with the known diameter and exact weight of the Confederate ball-grenade, you'll have proved its identity. If it doesn't match, it's a tractor's gearshift knob or something similar.

    Actually, as a possible time-&-effort saver, you could weigh it on a Postal Shipping scale first. If it is a solid ball which has a mounting-hole drilled in it, such as a gearshift knob, its precise weight will give us that identity. If its weight shows it is a hollow ball, then the identity-quest gets a lot more interesting.
    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Feb 11, 2018 at 08:03 PM.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  4. #4
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
    Savannah, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    I'm aware of Colonial era British Navy "boarding grenades" which were about 3.3" in diameter, and Rev War Colonial Army grenades which were about 3.53" in diameter... but no 2.5" grenades from that era. However, there was a civil war Confederate round-ball grenade which was 2.5" in diameter. One is shown on page 500 (in the Grenades section) of my book "Field Artillery Projectiles Of The American Civil War."

    Establishing whether or not your ball is a Confederate grenade will of course require a high standard of proof. You'll have to clean it well enough to get a highly accurate measurement of its original iron surface's diameter, not counting any rust-encrustation buildup. After the encrustation is cleaned off, weigh it on a super-accurate scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale, which measures in 1/10th-ounce increments. If it then matches up with the known diameter and exact weight of the Confederate ball-grenade, you'll have proved its identity. If it doesn't match, it's a tractor's gearshift knob or something similar.

    Actually, as a possible time-&-effort saver, you could weigh it on a Postal Shipping scale first. If it is a solid ball which has a mounting-hole drilled in it, such as a gearshift knob, its precise weight will give us that identity. If its weight shows it is a hollow ball, then the identity-quest gets a lot more interesting.
    The ball is hollow. I cleaned it out and it is an iron shell. Not a solid ball with a hole drilled. I will take it somewhere to get weighed tomorrow. It is hard to measure the diameter with the rust crust. The circumference is about 9" if that helps?

    I will keep you posted.

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bharpring View Post
    The ball is hollow. I cleaned it out and it is an iron shell. Not a solid ball with a hole drilled. I will take it somewhere to get weighed tomorrow. It is hard to measure the diameter with the rust crust. The circumference is about 9" if that helps?

    I will keep you posted.

    Thanks
    Ok, so this is what I have so far. Without cleaning any of the crust rust off I measured about 2 11/16Ē in diameter and weighed 1 lbs 15oz. Click image for larger version. 

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    sprailroad likes this.

  6. #6
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    I'm aware of Colonial era British Navy "boarding grenades" which were about 3.3" in diameter, and Rev War Colonial Army grenades which were about 3.53" in diameter... but no 2.5" grenades from that era. However, there was a civil war Confederate round-ball grenade which was 2.5" in diameter. One is shown on page 500 (in the Grenades section) of my book "Field Artillery Projectiles Of The American Civil War."

    Establishing whether or not your ball is a Confederate grenade will of course require a high standard of proof. You'll have to clean it well enough to get a highly accurate measurement of its original iron surface's diameter, not counting any rust-encrustation buildup. After the encrustation is cleaned off, weigh it on a super-accurate scale, such as a Postal Shipping scale, which measures in 1/10th-ounce increments. If it then matches up with the known diameter and exact weight of the Confederate ball-grenade, you'll have proved its identity. If it doesn't match, it's a tractor's gearshift knob or something similar.

    Actually, as a possible time-&-effort saver, you could weigh it on a Postal Shipping scale first. If it is a solid ball which has a mounting-hole drilled in it, such as a gearshift knob, its precise weight will give us that identity. If its weight shows it is a hollow ball, then the identity-quest gets a lot more interesting.
    Hi TheCannonballGuy, I accidentally replied to my reply above.

  7. #7
    Educator

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
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    Thanks for doing the preliminary measuring. Your maybe-grenade could have 3/16" of rust-concretion on an original 2.5" metal diameter. But the weight you report (1 pound 15 ounces) is much heavier than the civil war Confederate "Selma" ball-grenade, whose empty weight is 1 pound 4-to-5 ounces. For such a small object, being about 50% heavier (21 oz. versus 31 oz.) than it should be is a serious discrepancy.

    But let's not give up quite yet.
    What is the exact diameter of the hole in your ball?
    And, how "deep" is the hole? Put another way, how thick is the iron the hole is in?

    Also, is the wall thickness of the ball right next to the hole thicker than the ball's walls further away from the fuzehole? In case my meaning isn't clear, I'll post a photo showing what I mean by "wall is thicker next to the hole than further away from the hole."

    I do not currently own a CS Selma ball-grenade, so I'll have to send an email to some friends asking for those measurements on the Selma grenade in their collections. Getting answers might take more than 24 hours. But I will let you know when I get the replies.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Feb 12, 2018 at 10:07 PM.
    Bharpring and sprailroad like this.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  8. #8
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
    Savannah, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    Thanks for doing the preliminary measuring. Your maybe-grenade could have 3/16" of rust-concretion on an original 2.5" metal diameter. But the weight you report (1 pound 15 ounces) is much heavier than the civil war Confederate "Selma" ball-grenade, whose empty weight is 1 pound 4-to-5 ounces. For such a small object, being about 50% heavier (21 oz. versus 31 oz.) than it should be is a serious discrepancy.

    But let's not give up quite yet.
    What is the exact diameter of the hole in your ball?
    And, how "deep" is the hole? Put another way, how thick is the iron the hole is in?

    I do not currently own a CS Selma ball-grenade, so I'll have to send an email to some friends asking for those measurements on the Selma grenade in their collections. Getting answers might take more than 24 hours. But I will let you know when I get the replies.
    I will take some more measurements when I get back home on Wednesday night and post them. It awfully close in size and looks just like the pictures that I have seen on line. So Iím not giving up. May have to do electrolysis to find out for sure.

    Just out of curiosity if its not a confederate grenade then what could it be?

  9. #9
    us
    Jun 2013
    East Tennessee
    6,111
    4951 times
    I wonder if it is a finial from a Flagpole!!
    Bharpring likes this.

  10. #10
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntsman53 View Post
    I wonder if it is a finial from a Flagpole!!
    How could this be a finial for a flagpole? Itís a hollow ball of iron. You can see the inside lip of the hole in this picture.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
    us
    Jun 2013
    East Tennessee
    6,111
    4951 times
    Quote Originally Posted by Bharpring View Post
    How could this be a finial for a flagpole? It’s a hollow ball of iron. You can see the inside lip of the hole in this picture.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That was my guess since it appears that the walls of the ball are too thin to be a Colonial or Civil War Grenade. If not a finial for a flagpole, then there are other things it could be such as a top to post of an old Iron bed.

  12. #12
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
    Savannah, GA
    XP Deus HF coils, Minelab Equinox 800
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    Thanks for doing the preliminary measuring. Your maybe-grenade could have 3/16" of rust-concretion on an original 2.5" metal diameter. But the weight you report (1 pound 15 ounces) is much heavier than the civil war Confederate "Selma" ball-grenade, whose empty weight is 1 pound 4-to-5 ounces. For such a small object, being about 50% heavier (21 oz. versus 31 oz.) than it should be is a serious discrepancy.

    But let's not give up quite yet.
    What is the exact diameter of the hole in your ball?
    And, how "deep" is the hole? Put another way, how thick is the iron the hole is in?

    Also, is the wall thickness of the ball right next to the hole thicker than the ball's walls further away from the fuzehole? In case my meaning isn't clear, I'll post a photo showing what I mean by "wall is thicker next to the hole than further away from the hole."

    I do not currently own a CS Selma ball-grenade, so I'll have to send an email to some friends asking for those measurements on the Selma grenade in their collections. Getting answers might take more than 24 hours. But I will let you know when I get the replies.
    Hi TheCannonballGuy,

    Here are the measurements. Diameter of the opening is 5/8", thickness of the lip is about 3/8" and the distance from the top of the opening in the middle to the bottom of the cavity is about 2 1/8".

    I will begin the process of removing the rust if these number still line up to a grenade?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    sprailroad likes this.

  13. #13
    Educator

    Feb 2006
    Occupied CSA (Richmond VA)
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    Sorry to have to say, your measurements do not match up with the civil war Confederate Selma 2.5" ball-grenade. Because I do not currently own one of those, I consulted a longtime friend who is a "scholarly" collector of civil war grenades. He reports that his Confederate ball-grenade weighs 1 pound 4.4 ounces, it's fuze-hole is 7/8-inch in diameter, and its fuze-hole is about 5/8-inch deep (thickened around the fuzehole, as shown in the sawed-in-half shell photo I posted. Unfortunately, none of those measurements match up with the ones you report.

    Your measurement of the ball being 2-&-1/8" deep to the bottom of its internal cavity confirms your drawing showing the ball's wall thickness to be 3/8-inch. (The arithmetic is, diameter of 2-&-1/2 minus depth of 2-&-1/8 equals 3/8th-inch.)

    You asked: "Just out of curiosity if its not a confederate grenade then what could it be?"

    As I said in my first reply in this discussion, I haven't found any records (online or elsewhere) of a Rev War 2.5" ball-grenade. But I do NOT believe I've seen everything there is to see, nor know everything there is to know. It's possible that a Colonial Era 2.5" ball-grenade existed, and I just haven't yet encountered documentation of one.

    In examining your photos, I note two important ID-clues:
    1- the edge is the hole is quite sharply cast... not crudely rounded, like typical Colonial Era fuze-holes.
    2- the hole doesn't seem to show any threading. for something to screw into it, or for it to screw onto something. That excludes it from being a flagpole top (finial) or similar object, such as a gearshift-knob... which WOULD have threading to keep the ball from slipping off the pole or shaft.

    It takes more skill and labor (and therefore, cost) to cast a hollow ball than a simple solid one. Therefore, your ball was cast hollow for an important reason. For example, a flagpole top, or gearshift-knob, doesn't NEED to be hollow. Your ball was made for a use that required it to be hollow.

    I suggest you still go ahead with removing the rust-encrustation. Cleaning it might reveal a marking, or a mold-seam, either of which is a ID-clue. The great majority of Colonial Era iron balls (but not ALL) show a mold-seam.
    Last edited by TheCannonballGuy; Feb 15, 2018 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Typo-error correction.
    "Let The Christ be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

  14. #14
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
    Savannah, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    Sorry to have to say, your measurements do not match up with the civil war Confederate Selma 2.5" ball-grenade. Because I do not currently own one of those, I consulted a longtime friend who is a "scholarly" collector of civil war grenades. He reports that his Confederate ball-grenade weighs 1 pound 4.4 ounces, it's fuze-hole is 7/8-inch in diameter, and its fuze-hole is about 5/8-inch deep (thickened around the fuzehole, as shown in the sawed-in-half shell photo I posted. Unfortunately, none of those measurements match up with the ones you report.

    Your measurement of the ball being 2-&-1/8" deep to the bottom of its internal cavity confirms your drawing showing the ball's wall thickness to be 3/8-inch. (The arithmetic is, diameter of 2-&-1/2 minus depth of 2-&-1/8 equals 3/8th-inch.)

    You asked: "Just out of curiosity if its not a confederate grenade then what could it be?"

    As I said in my first reply in this discussion, I haven't found any records (online or elsewhere) of a Rev War 2.5" ball-grenade. But I do NOT believe I've seen everything there is to see, not know everything there is to know. It's possible that a Colonial Era 2.5" ball-grenade existed, and I just haven't yet encountered documentation of one.

    In examining your photos, I not two important ID-clues:
    1- the edge is the hole is quite sharply cast... not crudely rounded, like typical Colonial Era fuze-holes.
    2- the hole doesn't seem to show any threading. for something to screw into it, or for it to screw onto something. That excludes it from being a flagpole top (finial) or similar object, such as a gearshift-knob... which WOULD have threading to keep the ball from slipping off the pole or shaft.

    It takes more skill and labor (and therefore, cost) to cast a hollow ball than a simple solid one. Therefore, your ball was cast hollow for an important reason. For example, a flagpole top, or gearshift-knob, doesn't NEED to be hollow. Your ball was made for a use that required it to be hollow.

    I suggest you still go ahead with removing the rust-encrustation. Cleaning it might reveal a marking, or a mold-seam, either of which is a ID-clue. The great majority of Colonial Era iron balls (but not ALL) show a mold-seam.
    Thank you for your input on this!

    I do see a vertical mold-seam running from the hole down and around the circumference which will be much more evident when I clean it. I will post this on a Rev War site and let you know what they say.

    Thanks again.
    sprailroad likes this.

  15. #15
    Bharp

    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCannonballGuy View Post
    Sorry to have to say, your measurements do not match up with the civil war Confederate Selma 2.5" ball-grenade. Because I do not currently own one of those, I consulted a longtime friend who is a "scholarly" collector of civil war grenades. He reports that his Confederate ball-grenade weighs 1 pound 4.4 ounces, it's fuze-hole is 7/8-inch in diameter, and its fuze-hole is about 5/8-inch deep (thickened around the fuzehole, as shown in the sawed-in-half shell photo I posted. Unfortunately, none of those measurements match up with the ones you report.

    Your measurement of the ball being 2-&-1/8" deep to the bottom of its internal cavity confirms your drawing showing the ball's wall thickness to be 3/8-inch. (The arithmetic is, diameter of 2-&-1/2 minus depth of 2-&-1/8 equals 3/8th-inch.)

    You asked: "Just out of curiosity if its not a confederate grenade then what could it be?"

    As I said in my first reply in this discussion, I haven't found any records (online or elsewhere) of a Rev War 2.5" ball-grenade. But I do NOT believe I've seen everything there is to see, not know everything there is to know. It's possible that a Colonial Era 2.5" ball-grenade existed, and I just haven't yet encountered documentation of one.

    In examining your photos, I not two important ID-clues:
    1- the edge is the hole is quite sharply cast... not crudely rounded, like typical Colonial Era fuze-holes.
    2- the hole doesn't seem to show any threading. for something to screw into it, or for it to screw onto something. That excludes it from being a flagpole top (finial) or similar object, such as a gearshift-knob... which WOULD have threading to keep the ball from slipping off the pole or shaft.

    It takes more skill and labor (and therefore, cost) to cast a hollow ball than a simple solid one. Therefore, your ball was cast hollow for an important reason. For example, a flagpole top, or gearshift-knob, doesn't NEED to be hollow. Your ball was made for a use that required it to be hollow.

    I suggest you still go ahead with removing the rust-encrustation. Cleaning it might reveal a marking, or a mold-seam, either of which is a ID-clue. The great majority of Colonial Era iron balls (but not ALL) show a mold-seam.
    Could this be a grenade from the War of 1812 time period?

 

 
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