18th Century Saluting Cannon

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Thunder Mug
Thunder Mug

Stock Number 2295-04

Saluting cannons, also called Signaling Cannons or Thunder Mugs were used in the 17th and 18th Century as a form of communication between forts. Some large farms and many towns and cities also used signaling cannons to warn residents about attacks by indians. Typically, a signaling cannon was fired each morning at a preset time. The first firing was followed by several others as each town or fort answered the signal. This signal cannon is most likely English made and dates from 1650 to 1750. The English and the French used signaling cannons cast at a foundry. A similar saluting cannon is on display at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum. The cannon is 4 5/8 inches tall, 4 1/4 inches wide at the base, and 3 1/2 inches wide at the top. The barrel diameter is 2 inch. The cannon is cast from bronze and is now coated with a green patena. The inside of the barrel shows vertical wear marks and groves. Many times thunder mugs like this one were used as a type of cannon to blow apart the doors of forts and to knock down weak spots in the walls. The cannon was filled with powder. A 2 inch steel ball was inserted into the barrel. The device was then placed under the gate door near the hinge or in a weak spot in the fort wall. The resulting discharge would blow a hole in the gates or knock down part of the walls.


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