CANNON

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CANNON ; a heavy metallic gun, which is moved by the strength of men and horses. It is mounted on a carriage, and iron (formerly stone or leaden) balls are projected to a distance from it by the force of gunpowder. The interior of the cannon is called the bore. The solid piece of metal behind is named the breech, and terminates in the button. The dolphins (so called because they used to be made in the form of this animal) are the handles by which the piece is mounted or dismounted. The aperture through which the fire is introduced into the bore, to ignite the charge, is called the vent or touchhole, in which a small tube, used to contain the priming, is placed previous to firing, The supports, which are denominated carriages, are mounted on trucks, as in the case of shipguns or garrisonguns, or on two wheels, as in the case of fieldpieces. When a fieldpiece is to be moved, a twowheeled frame is fixed to the carriage, which is called a limber, and this process is called to limber up. The charge, or cartridge, is a bag filled with powder, carried near the cannon. The cannon is fired by means of the match, which is a lighted bunch of tow, wound round a small stick; or by a tube, filled with the primingpowder, from which a piece is broken off every time, and forced into a stick, to light the charge. On board most of the English ships there are cannon fired by means of locks. To perform the labor required in managing cannon is called to serve the guns. Cannon were formerly dignified with great names. 12, cast by Louis XII, were called after the 12 peers of France. Charles V had 12, which he called the Twelve apostles. One at Bois le Due is called the Devil; a 60 pounder, at Dover castle, is named Queen Elizabeth's pocketpistol; an 80 pounder, at Berlin, is called the Thunderer; another at Malaga, the Terrible; two 60 pounders at Bremen, the Messengers of bad news. In the beginning of the 15th century, names of this sort were abolished, and the following came into general use:cannon royal, or carthoun, carrying 48 pounds; bastard cannon, or I carthoun, 36; $ carthoun, 24 ; whole culverins, 18, demiculverins, 9; falcon, 6; saker, lowest sort, 5; or Ji nary, 6 *, largest sort, 8; basilisk, 48; serpentine, 4; aspick, 2; dragon, 6; siren, 60; falconet, 3, 2 and 1; moyens, which carried a ball of 10 or 12 ounces: rabinets carried one of 16 ounces. Cannons are, at present, named, from the weight of the balls which they carry, 6 pounders, 12 pounders, &c. The length of the cannon is in proportion to the caliber. Cannon took their name from the French word canne (a reed). Before their invention, machines were used for projecting missiles by mechanical force. These were imitated from the Arabs, and called ingenia; whence engineer. The first cannon were made of wood, wrapt in numerous folds of linen, and well secured by iron hoops. They were of a conical form, widest at the muzzle.. Afterwards, they received a cylindrical shape. At length they were made of iron bars, firmly bound together, like casks, by iron hoops. In the second half of the 14th century, they were formed of an alloy of copper and tin, and, in process of time, other metals were added. Some attribute the invention of cannon to the Chinese, and say that there are now cannon in China, which were made in the 80th year of the Christian era. From the Chinese the Saracens probably learned to manufacture them, and Callinicus, a deserter from Heliopolis, in Phoenicia, made them known, in 670 (676), to the Greek emperor Constantinus Pogonatus. Bombards were brought into use in France in 1338, and, according to another and more doubtful authority, Solomon, long of Hungary, used them, in 1073, at the siege of Belgrade. From all these accounts, it appears that the true tpoch of the invention of cannon cannot be exactly determined: it is certain, however, that they were actually in use about the middle of the 14th century. In 1370, the people of Augsburg used cast cannon. In the beginning of the 15th century, nearly all the countries of Europe, except Russia, where cannon were first cast in 1475, were provided with them. The lead cannon, which were invented and employed by the Swedes, between 1620 and 1632, in the 30 years' war, were lined with tubes of wood or copper, and secured on the outside with ;ron rings. The art of firing redhot balls from cannon was invented by majorgeneral Weiler, of the electorate of Brandenburg. In the commencement of the 16th century, Maurice of Switzerland discovered a method of casting cannon whole, and boring them, so as to draw out the interior in a single piece. Arms for ex peditious firing, loaded from behind, and having the charge closed in with a wedge,, were introduced by Daniel Spekle (who died 1589) and Uffanus. Charles Millon invented a kind of air cannon, 2 feet long, 3 inches diameter in the thickest part, 12 lines caliber, charged with inflammable air, and fired with a Ley den jar, or a piece of catskin, by which 12 discharges can be made in a minute. It stands on a frame of glass, and may be directed to any point. In 1740, cannons were made of ice at St. Petersburg, and balls of many pounds weight were projected without injuring the pieces. (See SteamGun, GunBoat.) Cannonclock is a contrivance invented by one Rousseau, and placed in the garden of the palais royal, and in the Luxembourg at Paris. A burningglass is fixed over the vent of a cannon, so that the sun's rays, at the moment of its passing the meridian, are concentrated, by the glass, on the priming, and the piece is fired. The burningglass is regulated, for this purpose, every month. (For the use of cannon in naval warfare, see Ship.)