Item #28700

Rare Broadwell Mountain Gun Breech Loading Cannon

  • Price: $49,995.00
  • Maker: Broadwell
  • Model: Mountain Gun
  • Caliber: 2.68 inch/68mm

  • Description: 2.68" dia. bore (68mm), 35 1/2" rifled barrel with a fine bore that has some minor freckling within the grooves near the breech and muzzle. This is an exceptionally rare gun, made shortly after the U.S. Civil War, which has a German-made iron tube with integral pivoting front sight and an innovative (for the time) horizontal sliding breech-block which opens to the left and is locked and unlocked by use of a rotating "T"-handle on the left side of the breech turning an interrupted thread fastener. A large threaded pin at the top acts as a guide/detent for the block when opened, there is a wide metal dovetail mount for a vernier-style rear sight (no longer present), and a bronze-lined touch-hole for use with a tubular friction primer. The iron has an overall mottled gray patina with dark brown freckling throughout but the "PATENT VON BROADWELL & Co./CARLSRUHE/1872" markings encircling the breech opening are still crisp and clear. The gun sits on an original all-metal, riveted, single trail carriage that has a bronze elevation screw and an added black painted finish throughout. The iron-bound, wooden wheels have bronze hubs and have been given a newer red-ochre colored varnish finish. These ingenious guns were the brainchild of an American ordnance inventor living and working in Carlsruhe, Germany; Mr. L.W. Broadwell, and combined a simple breech-loading system utilizing unfixed, externally primed ammunition with his gas obturating "Broadwell ring" providing the seal. The projectiles intended for use with the gun were also of Broadwell's design and used twine cords between the driving bands to, it was hoped, scour the bore after each shot and eliminate the need for cleaning. These guns were used by the Boers during the Anglo-Boer Wars, and captured examples now reside in the UK, Canada, and the USA. Four guns were purchased by the Transvaal (the first rifled, breech-loading artillery acquired by the Boers) and formed the first official Boer artillery unit, the "Batterij Dingaan". It is interesting to note that the Krupp firm of Essen utilized Broadwell's gas seal system for their breech-loading guns of the time but adopted a double wedge breech instead of his simpler single wedge pattern. An entire section of the British Parliamentary Reports on the Vienna Universal Exposition of 1873 (Part II) is devoted to a description of the design of this gun as well as the adoption of Broadwell's breech-loading artillery system by the Russian military. Also mentioned in the article is the fact that Krupp had declined a manufacturing partnership with Broadwell to produce the guns but that "Messrs. Berger, of Witten" had manufactured many examples of the gun under license up to that point and it is almost certainly they that manufactured this example. Very few examples survive today and only one other example this size is known to us in the United States (probably brought to the U.S. By Bannerman sometime during the turn of the last century). Although an effective and usable concept, Broadwell's guns were quickly overtaken by the rapidly advancing technology of field artillery and rendered obsolete. From a practical standpoint, this is an excellent opportunity to acquire a small, easily stored and transportable, working breech-loading cannon of extreme rarity without having to complete any federal paperwork. Antique Status