Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Were ship's cannons in the Spanish navy of the late 1600's/early 1700's made of brass?  The San Felipe kit comes with brass cannons and I'm not sure if they should be blackened or left as a brass finish. 

 

Also, are there any references for Spanish warships of this period you recommend?

 

Thanks,

Don

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on the ship and type of gun.  Guns may have been made of iron or brass (actually bronze) and a ship might have both kinds aboard.  However it was common practice to paint guns black to make maintenance easier.  Bronze guns are a bear to keep shiny in a marine environment and unprotected iron will rust quickly.  I am sure there were captains that insisted on keeping all that bronze nice and shiny but most would take a practical approach and keep them painted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don

 

I am not sure about Spain, but the English were converting to iron, at least on large vessels, before 1650.   Cost of iron was 1/4 the cost of brass, or less, and the Royal House was in fact cost conscious so liked the idea.  After all, it was the Kings Navy.   Lavery gives a good history of and reasoning for and  against the conversion in his  Arming and Fitting book.  

Allan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robboxxs

You are right, the compound that was used and called brass in Lavery's Arming and Fitting was, as he states, more akin to bronze with 85 to 90 percent copper with portions of tin, zinc and other metals.  Bronze is typically made with 12 percent tin and some other metals including zinc.  Brass is an alloy which is primarily copper and zinc rather than tin as the main secondary metal.

Allan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

"Yellow metal" guns were made of what came to be called "naval brass," which is actually a bronze. (Copper and tin.)  Never brass. (Copper and zinc.)  Bronze oxidizes to a dark brown color and needs no further maintenance.  While bronze can be polished, it is quite a job and given the good looks of "natural bronze" in the marine environment, it's hard to believe any captain would paint a bronze cannon.  Iron cannon might be painted black (or "blacked" with lampblack and oil,) but as bronze cannon were prized as "finestkind," I doubt anyone would ever want to conceal that fact by painting it black.  At small scale, however, (or at a distance,) cannon would appear black in any event.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...