Five Fun Facts about Cannons at Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site
- Royal military cannons each have a cypher on top that indicates the reigning monarch when the cannon was made. The oldest cannons are Queen Anne cannons, which are from 1702 to 1714.
- Three numbers on a cannon indicate its weight:
- The first number is 100 weights. A 100 weight is equal to 112 pounds.
- The second number is a quarter of 100 weights, which is equal to 28 pounds.
- The last number is pounds.
- Example: A stamp of 32-3-3 would equal 3671 pounds and would be a six-pound cannon.
- ‘Spiking’ cannons by hammering a piece of red hot iron into the vent hole;
- Burning the carriages (the frame that holds the cannon);
- Knocking off the trunnions (which attach the cannon to the carriage); or,
- Breaking the muzzles.
- Due to this damage, the cannons will never be fired again.
Bonus fact (and a great Scrabble word):
A quoin is the name of the wedge that regulates the trajectory of the gun.
Cannons by the numbers:
- 42: number of royal military cannons mounted on the fort walls
- 8, 10, 24: number of six-pound, 24-pound and 12-pound cannons, respectively, at the fort. The calibre of the gun is the weight of the ball it fires: a six-pound cannon fires a six-pound cannon ball.
- 8.5 to 9.5 feet: range of cannons’ length
- Six to 12: number of trained people required to fire a cannon
- One-third the weight of a cannon ball: the amount of black powder load required to fire the cannon ball