Original British Early 19th Century Bellows Foghorn from the Man-O-War H.M.S. SHANNON c.1800
Original Item: One of a Kind. IMA Owner Christian Cranmer has been collecting for over sixty years, however until recently, he didn't even know that these existed! However, in the last five years, we have now offered three of these magnificent pieces for sale, and now we have found a fourth!
These are constructed like an old blacksmith's pair of Bellows of wood, with two wooden paddles joined with "accordion" style leather to make a large hinged bag. This example is stamped with (Broad Arrow) / B.O. for Board of Ordnance, the standard acceptance mark seen on Napoleonic Era items that passed inspection. It has an all brass foghorn "trumpet," which screws off the front brass mounting. The brass trumpet is engraved H.M.S. SHANNON, and is otherwise completely plain. This was not intended as an item of pride, but merely to discourage theft by a similar British Naval vessel. Amazingly, even with very worn leather, this pair of Bellows Fog Horn still works, giving a healthy "honk" when worked quickly.
HOWEVER, we have recently been told that although these were used as fog horns, they were most commonly used as a set of BELLOWS to quickly heat up the coals in the brazier on deck, which heated the Cannon Balls to "RED HOT" before being fired at enemy ships, causing devastating fires. Definitely an interesting way of increasing the usefulness of every item on board.
H.M.S. SHANNON was built in 1796 as a 32 Gun FRIGATE in the Royal Navy and first saw action in 1797. She had a very active service having captured several French Ships by the year 1800, a full accounting of her activities can be found on the Internet at the following link:
It appears in November of 1800 a Court Marshall was held aboard H.M.S. SHANNON of Able Seaman RICHARD HALL of H.M.S. ZEALAND charged with desertion who was found GUILTY and sentenced to 200 LASHES !!! It appears she hosted several other Court Marshall's in addition. In 1802 the crew were discharged and she was "sold off " and later ran aground and had to be broken up.
Measuring 33 1/2" overall, ready to add to to a Royal Navy collection for display!
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