West Sea Company

6. Hardware

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN

 



6.50  17th C. PIRATE CANNON  Rare!  The real deal!  Authentic ship’s rail gun made by Spanish foundries in the Philippine Islands from the late 1600's to early 1700’s.  Also known as a "Lantaka," many of these cannons found their way into the possession of marauding pirates who plundered the shipping lanes between the Malay Peninsula northward to Formosa during that era.  This magnificent relic is made of solid bronze, weighing a hefty 32 pounds!  It is beautifully cast with decorative details in high relief including “S” curved handles forward of the touch hole and the maker’s cartouche above the enclosed breech.  This genuine cannon (“gun” in Naval parlance) is mounted on trunions attached to a pivot which allowed it to be slewed from side to side and elevated with ease.   It has an elaborate sighting system, with the front sight in the form of a stylized bird.  The flared muzzle at 4, 24 inches is twice the diameter of the barrel which has a bore of exactly one inch.  The decorative embellishment along the entire barrel are amazing.  They consist of inlaid foliate scrolls of copper and brass.  Just behind the muzzle is another decorative diamond-shaped maker’s mark of similar construction.  The barrel abaft the trunions is octagonally faceted and decorated with more inlays and very detailed metalwork patterns in relief.  The butt of the cannon has a very substantial handle for training and elevating.  The barrel is 4 ¼ inches in diameter at the widest point tapering to 2 ½ inches.  The trunion mount is 8 inches tall by 5 inches wide.  The swivel tip of the mount is 4 ½ inches long.  The handle is 4 inches long by 1 ¾ inches in diameter.  The entire presentation measures just under 4 feet long and weighs 32 pounds.  There is evidence of encrustation on some areas suggesting this cannon may have been submerged for an extended period as a result of the ship it was on being sunk.  Condition is excellent and original with a great original weathered bronze patina and evidence of actual use in the bore.  If only this thing could talk, what incredible stories it could tell!   Museum quality at its best.  Again, make no mistake, this is a REAL PIRATE CANNON!   Back to TopSOLD

Lantaka( aka "Kanyon" in Tagalog) were bronze swivel guns mounted on merchant vessels trading in the Malay Archipelago.  They were especially popular in precolonial Southeast Asia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia and were primarily used to defend against the ever present Malay pirates marauding those waters in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Most Lantaka weighed under two hundred pounds.  Hand-held versions weighed as little as a few pounds.  But the largest weighed over a ton!  Most were mounted in trunions functioning as swivel guns.  The medium-size guns were mounted on the ship's bulwarks and referred to as "rail guns."  They could also be lashed in the rigging.  The heaviest Lantakas were mounted on modified gun carriages to be more portable.

The earliest cannon were decoratively-cast with beautiful ornaments originating in the foundries of Malacca and Pahang.   Later models were produced in foundries of the Netherlands and Portugal.  The last generation of Lantakas was produced in Brunei by local craftsmen.

Dutch and Portuguese merchants found they could trade cannon for spices and porcelain, and also for safe passage through pirate-infested waters.  But the need was great.  Local foundries produced cannon using native patterns and designs from their respective cultures.  Stylized crocodiles, dolphins, birds and dragons were common motifs.   The villagers who lived along Borneo's rivers feared being taken captive by pirates who used both vessel-mounted and hand-held cannons.   Accordingly, tribesmen who were armed with mounted or handheld cannon had a distinct advantage over those who could only rely on bows and arrows, spears, blowguns and knives.

Overland transportation in Java and Borneo during the 17th and 18th centuries was nearly impossible.  As a result cannons were frequently used for signaling.  They were used to send messages reporting urgent or special events.  In these villages, important visitors were greeted with great ceremony, accompanied by the firing of the resident cannon, much like today's twenty-one gun salute. This was a display of the status and wealth of the family holding the cannon.

The smallest cannon, often called "personal cannon" or "hand cannon," were passed down in families and was also considered a form of currency.  As such, the cannon could be traded for food stuffs, drums, canoes, tools, weapons, livestock, debts, and even payment of penalties for crimes ranging from the accidental death of a villager or headhunting another tribe.
Large cannon had the extra value of being used in both celebratory times and in warfare.  The larger and more elaborate the cannon, the greater its value, and the greater the status of the owner.

Panday Piray of Pampanga, Philippines forged heavy bronze Lantakas to be mounted on Lakan's, the Naval Commander, ships called "caracoas" against the Spanish invaders.  Cannons were also commissioned by Rajah Sulayman for the fortification of Manila.

By the 1840s England had began to suppress headhunting and piracy in the region.  Rajah James Brooke, a wealthy Englishman established a dynasty which ruled Sarawak from 1841 to 1946.  He distributed numerous Brunei hand cannon to local chieftains to guarantee their allegiance.

Lantakas were used by Moro soldiers in the Moro Rebellion against U.S. troops in the Philippines.  They were also used by the Filipinos during the Philippine Revolution, when cannon copied from European models were cast from the bronze of church bells.

Today such cannon can still be found on nearly every island of the Pacific Rim.  The largest collection is in Brunei, where it is now illegal to export them.  But when found in other countries, a museum export permit is still required.  These cannon are now highly sought after by collectors with some prices exceeding $50,000.

A smaller and obviously inferior cannon was recently offered on eBay for $7,500.  It was described by the seller (quote), “The entire cannon is made of bronze.  It measures 38 inches long, 4 inches wide.  It has a 3/4 inch bore size.  This cannon appears to be a status item used to mark special events by the people of Borneo, Malaysia, and was most likely cast in Brunei, probably mid 1800s.  The surface decoration is a nice feature and adds value, but there are no animals cast onto the barrel as found on the most desirable of these cannons.  This cannon has a lot of casting flaws and casting cracks.  The yoke part of the cannon has a loose mount on the side and looks like it was repaired years ago.  The pin the yoke rides on is wobbling.  This cannon has seen a beating over the years.”


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6.49  FUNNEL.  Authentic heavy brass ship’s funnel also known as a ventilator.  This stout ship’s relic is solid cast brass or bronze weighing a substantial 13 pounds.  It retains its original high polish on the exterior and red painted interior.  This funnel has a separate mounting flange which allows it to freely rotate in any direction.  It also has an internal thumbscrew so that it can be locked into a specific direction.  The oval mouth measures 8 by 6 ¼ inches.  The overall height is 10 ¼ inches.  The base is 5 ½ inches in diameter.  Perfect original condition.   A very scarce, real example of an iconic nautical symbol.  295

At this writing, an eBay seller is offering a 3 inch ventilator for a Buy It Now price of $174.99.


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6.47  LIFE SAVING CANNON.   Very impressive World War II vintage or earlier cannon used by the Coast Guard (and previously the U.S. Lifesaving Service) to rescue crewmen on vessels stranded on inaccessible shores.  Also known as a line throwing cannon, this apparatus was made by the “SCULLER Safety Corp. No. 1561, 122 Broad Street New York” as stamped on the oval brass maker’s plate on top of the breach.  This muzzle loader has a solid steel barrel 28 inches long with a barrel diameter of 3 5/8 inches and a bore of 2 ½ inches.  The end of the muzzle is stamped with the matching serial number “1561” and the safety inspector’s initials “J.R.H.”  The barrel is encased by a thick bronze sleeve surrounding the midsection.  It rests on its original cast iron carriage 26 inches long by 12 ½ inches wide.  The entire assembly measures 32 inches long and weighs 180 pounds.  The breech end of the cannon is attached to the carriage by a thick, round fulcrum which pivots between two brass trunnions.   For elevation the carriage is equipped with a “T” bar which fits into any of 3 successively higher holes.  The cannon is complete with its rarely found percussion firing system marked, “COSTON SUPPLY CO NEW YORK.”  It takes a .32 caliber blank activated by a lanyard which releases a spring-loaded firing pin.  Included in this offering is the original wooden ram rod 32 inches long and an authentic lifesaving projectile embossed “CROSBY-LAUGHLIN” and stamped “U.S.L.S.S.” which is 28 inches long and weighs 18 pounds.  This cannon is in outstanding, near pristine condition, fully complete and functional* as it was made over 80 years ago. Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

Ex. Collection Contra Costa Historical Society, Antioch, California.

In his landmark book entitled “The Lifesaving Guns of David Lyle,” J.P. Barnett, 1974, South Bend Replicas, Inc., the author discusses the firing mechanism on pages 64-66.  The “marine type” was developed in 1936 and became the standard throughout the Coast Guard.  Its use was widespread prior to World War II and became required of all guns manufactured after April 1944.  A similar projectile is shown on page 68.  A similar gun is shown on page 70.  On page 73 the results of firing such a cannon using 3 ounces of black powder at elevations of 20 – 30 degrees are shown.  Ranges from 800 to 924 feet were recorded.

*  IMPORTANT!  West Sea Company disavows any responsibility for the results of attempting to fire this cannon.   Please see the CAUTION disclaimer.


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6.46  WINCHESTER  SIGNALING  CANNON.  Handsome American signaling cannon with the famous trademark of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  This Model 1898 cannon was designed by the famous gunsmith Charles H. Griffin for Winchester.  It received its first patent on August 20, 1901.  This functional all steel breech-loaded cannon fires a 10 gauge blank shotgun shell.  The substantial breech is opened and closed on a pivoting breech lock which secures with a quarter turn of the locking lever.  The cannon is fired remotely by a lanyard attached to the spring-loaded firing pin.  The undercarriage is equipped with a threaded locking screw for adjusting the elevation.   The sturdy carriage has a forward axel with two revolving wheels.  The side of the carriage is embossed “W. R. A. Co. TRADE MARK MADE IN U.S.A.”  The top of the barrel above the breach is stamped “USE 10 GA. BLANK ONLY.”  The side of the barrel is stamped “MFG By The Bellmore – Johnson Tool Co. Hamden  CT USA Under License From – WINCHESTER –  Div. Olin Corp. 005458”  The barrel measures 8 inches long with a bore or ¾ inch.  The entire assembly is 16 ¼ inches long by 6 5/8 inches wide at the wheels and weighs 17 pounds.  Absolutely pristine condition.  What is especially nice about this offering is that it comes complete with its original Winchester-marked wooden shipping crate.  Bargain-priced  949 Special PackagingBack to Top

A similar cannon without the orignal box, is currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $6,000.


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6.43 EARLY “AIR WHISTLE.” Heavy solid bronze ship’s horn bearing the oval maker’s label “CUNNINGHAM 2AS 40 140.” This is the Cunningham, Seattle Model 2AS which operated on air or steam with a pressure range of 40 to 140 psi. According to Cunningham’s specifications it had a frequency of 467 cycles/second at 116 decibels and could be heard for 1 ¾ miles! The mechanism to achieve this is a silver metal diaphragm in the rear measuring 3 ¾ inches in diameter. There is a small adjusting screw in the diaphragm housing for adjusting the tone. This hefty horn weighs 5 pounds. It measures 8 inches long by 6 1/4 inches high and 6 inches wide on the mounting brackets. Complete with small flange for attachment of an input line. It still works, producing a clear deafening tone. Great old greenish patina acquired from years at sea. 295

The Cunningham Company is still in business today producing similar air horns. But this original old sea dog dates to the 1930’s or earlier. A similar but smaller horn dated “1900-1930’s” was offered on “Go Antiques.” Another horn was removed from an identified tug boat dating from 1914.



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6.41  LIFEBOAT WATER CASK.  Early form water cask of the type found on World War I or earlier Navy life boats.  This stout barrel was hand-made by a master copper using solid oak staves and galvanized barrel hoops.  It has two pivoting bail handles with wooden grips and retains both its brass bung on retaining chain and functional spigot.  The inner bands are riveted in such a manner to provide 4 supporting “feet.”  22 inches long overall (including the spigot), 12 inches high (with handles folded) and 11 inches in diameter.  Excellent original condition with very desirable surfaces.  A real classic with a  great old look.  395 Special Packaging



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6.40  SALUTING CANNON.   Highly desirable American yacht cannon from the second half of the 19th century.  This extraordinary piece of American history was made by the Strong Manufacturing Company, New Haven, Connecticut circa 1880.  It features a solid bronze barrel with a 1 1/16th inch “Number 4” bore, and a heavy pivoting breech block with percussion firing pin, spring-loaded closure, and shell extractor.  The breech, with an outside diameter of 4 ¼ inches, will accommodate a 10 gauge shogun shell and is complete with its original and functional spring-loaded shell extractor.  This unusually large version of yachting cannons measures 24 inches long on the barrel and 28 inches long overall.  The ebonized hardwood carriage measures 17 ¼ inches long by 8 inches wide and 13 inches high overall.   The total width at the wheels is 13 inches.  Mounted within the carriage is the original rotating brass jack screw for precise elevation of the barrel by means of the 4-pronged lift screw.  The top of the breech is faintly marked (some illegible):


MAN’F’D
THE STRONG FIREARMS
-CO-
(Eagle mark)
NEW HAVEN, CONN.
U.S.A.
SOLD BY
 HENRY C. SQUIRES
 NEW YORK.”

The entire assembly weighs an impressive 72 pounds.   Complete with several blank shotgun shells.  A most handsome, fully functional American cannon approximately 135 years old. Price Request Special Packaging


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6.33  EXCEPTIONAL YACHT CANNON.  “THE” most highly sought after 19th century American yacht signaling cannon “MADE BY H. BROWN & CO. NEW HAVEN CT U.S.A.  LAVIGNE’S  PAT. JULY 31-86” as marked on the top of the breech.  This incredible cannon is unusually large for yachting.  The length of the barrel itself is a full 2 feet with a bore of just under 1 ½ inches!  It is made of solid gun metal bronze and the breech is fitted with a unique closure incorporating a lanyard-fired percussion system.  The cannon is supported in its heavy brass trunnion mounts which allow elevation through a wide range.   The original wooden carriage is made of dense mahogany with brass fittings including 4 rings for securing and numerous acorn nuts.  There are two small wooden wheels for ease of moving this heavy assembly weighing over 100 pounds!   The patented breech block operates smoothly with a tight fit.  The spring-loaded firing pin is released by pulling the remotely-operated hand lanyard which has a stout brass pull ring.  Once fired, the expended shell is removed by the finger shell extractor.  As an added bonus this cannon comes with a custom-made knurled aluminum insert which allows the cannon to be fired with a much smaller 10 gauge shotgun shell.  27 ¼ inches long and 30 inches overall.  It stands 11 inches high.  Excellent original condition in all respects.  The cannon and its fittings have acquired a lovely statuary bronze age patina.Price Request Special Packaging

The R. H. Brown Company began business in New Haven, Connecticut in 1888 manufacturing yachting and signaling cannons.   After a relatively brief but illustrious career, the company closed its operations in 1912, the same year as the infamous TITANIC disaster. 

The unique lanyard percussion firing system offered here was the invention of J.P. Lavigne, who was awarded a U.S. Patent for his design in 1886.  The cannon is fired by pulling a lanyard, which releases the spring-loaded firing pin into the charge.  This design eliminated the need for cocking prior to firing.  Another innovative aspect was the swivel breech block which allowed simple closure of the breech without locking as required by other cannons of the period.  Both of these features combined to allow rapidity of firing as well as providing an additional measure of safety for the cannoneer.

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6.28  EXTRA NICE PORTHOLE.  Unusually fine, heavy solid brass ship’s 3-dog porthole.  This genuine relic from the days of steam measures a full 22 ½ inches in diameter overall.  The flawless crystal clear, thick glass port measures a full 18 inches across.  The overall depth of this porthole is 5 ½ inches, having a flange thickness of 5/8ths inches, weighing an impressive 62 pounds!  Condition is exceptional with a high luster polish preserved with a professional quality coating.  We have not encountered a more pristine example in all our 35 years in this business. Request Price Special Packaging



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