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Greetings fellow modellers;


I have some photographs of a pretty comprehensive printed sheet from the archives of the Science Museum in London.  This specifies a load of mast, yard, block and rigging sizes,  and details of cannon,  anchors and cables for all classes of vessel down to 14 guns.  In the title,  it says these are all 'According to the last establishment'.  The Museum has listed it as from 1812,  but it can be dated reasonably accurately as much earlier,  by the following items:


  1. It states that Victory ,  only (ie amongst first rates) has 32 pdr cannon on her gun-deck (all the others had 42 pdrs) This change was made by Admiral Keppel in 1778,  so the sheet must be after this.
  2. It further states that Triumph and Valiant have 24 pdr cannon on their upper deck.  These were both 74 gun vessels,  and by 1787 they had been fitted with 18pdr cannon on their upper decks,  as was normal for other 74s.  The sheet must therefore pre-date 1787.


The sheet would seem,  therefore,  to have been compiled between 1778 and 1787 (and it makes no mention of carronades,  either)


I am fairly certain,  but not absolutely certain,  of how to interpret part of the description relating to gun carriages,  and wonder if anyone here can back me up/correct me.


For a 32pdr carriage,  the following dimensions are given: (items 4,5 & 6 are the same as the bore of the cannon)

  1. Length of carriage 6'1"
  2. Height to trunnion bed 2'9"
  3. Weight of completed carriage 9 cwt (nearly half a ton!)
  4. Thickness of brackets 6"
  5. Thickness of trucks 6"
  6. Holes in the trucks 6"
  7. Breadth of the brackets 2'2"
  8. Spread of the brackets in the breaft,  in the clear 1'6"
  9. Spread of the brackets in the train 2'0"
  10. Length of the axletrees 4'9"
  11. Diameter of the fore trucks 1'7"
  12. Diameter of the hind trucks 1'4"
  13. Diameter of the axles 5 7/8"


The spread of the brackets,  referred to as 'in the clear',  means the gap between them,  so they are 1'6" apart at the front ('breaft') and 2'0" at the train (rear, or hind, end)


What,  therefore,  can the breadth of the brackets indicate?  I think it must be their height,  but can anyone think of anything else? (there is no other figure given which might be the height)


All the best,


Mark P



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  • 2 weeks later...

Only just come across your post, Mark. Your dating of this document sounds very plausible. Given the thickness of the brackets as 6", and their spread from 1' 6" to 2' 0", the breadth of the brackets must be 2' 2". A drawing of a 32pdr carriage, 1732 pattern, measures exactly 2' 2" (Caruana, Volume II, page 375.) Hope this helps.

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Greetings Druxey;


Thank you for your post.  It does help.  So 2'2" is the height.  I hadn't thought of checking in Caruana's book,  as I thought his carriage drawings were a little later,  for the Blomfeld pattern guns.


Thanks for the 'like' Chuck. 


All the best,


Mark P

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