Original U.S. Civil War Federal INERT 12 Pdr Cannonball For Use With a Bormann Timed Fuse - Ground Dug

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a lovely example of a ground dug Federal 12pdr cannonball that would have been used with the Bormann time fuse during the American Civil War. This cannonball is completely inert and is without any explosive content and is in compliance under the current BATF guidelines on inert ordnance. Not Available For Export.

Civil War cannonball built to fit a smooth bore cannon and with remnants of thread to insert a  ''Bormann Time Fuze''. This cannonball, a 12-pound Shrapnel Shell, had a distance of about 1,200 feet and was used by the Union army throughout the Civil War. The fuze, invented around 1852, would cause a timed burst of the lead balls after the cannon was fired, unleashing the shrapnel contained within the shell. Cannonball weighs approximately 12 pounds and has a 4.5'' diameter and 14.25'' circumference.

The Bormann fuse is named after its inventor, Belgian Army Captain Charles G. Bormann.  The Bormann time fuze was employed by the United Stated Ordnance Department as early as 1852. The time fuze is contained in a tin and lead disk. This disk had time markings indicated in seconds and quarter-seconds graduated up to 5 1/4 seconds. The artillerist used a metal punch to pierce the thin metal at the desired time marking. This exposed a section in the horseshoe-shaped horizontal mealed powder train, which is covered by a thin sheet of tin. When the cannon discharged, the flame from the explosion ignited this powder train. It would burn in a uniform rate in both directions, but one end would terminate in a dead-end just beyond the 5 1/4 second mark (Confederate copies are 5 1/2 seconds).

The other end would continue to burn past the zero-mark, where it would travel through a channel to a small powder booster or magazine. This powder then exploded, sending the flame through a hole in the fuze underplug to the powder chamber of the projectile. The purpose of the brass or iron fuze underplug was to form a solid base of support for the soft metal fuze, which could have easily been damaged during firing.
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