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APPENDIX “C.”—The following are appended as a portion of the data developed in the preparation of the report, and upon which the Committee bases its conclusions :
Failures of Steel Guns.—6 inch steel gun burst using half a charge
of powder-investigation by Board could not explain it.-(H. M.
S. Active.) Gun burst killing one man and wounding 4 others.—(H. M. S.
Canada.) 12 inch steel rifle burst with charge, 221 lbs. powder, 714 pound
shot-tube burst 8 feet from muzzle and split the pocket.—(H.
M. S. Collingwood.) 100 ton Armstrong gun burst on the Italian iron-clad after a very
few rounds.-(Duillo.) 7 inch Armstrong gun burst on Argentine vessel.-(Pavonia.) Some of the guns failed at the bombardment of Alexandria.
(Alexandria.) All the 100 ton guns furnished the Italian Government by Ard
STRONG & Co. have been condemned-although none have been
tired 50 rounds.—(Duillo-Dandolo—Lepanto.) Four 14 inch rifle of latest design in English service failed in July
last.—(Ajax.) 100 ton steel gun blew off its muzzle at the proving ground at St.
Chamond, Venice. Two 120 ton steel KRUPP guns, made for the Italian Government
for coast defence, failed in proof and were not accepted.
(Spezzia.) One 6 inch steel rifle at the Washington Navy Yard for the new
cruiser condemned for defects found in the bore upon final inspection—and two out of a lot of five guns of same class show similar
defects in the bores.-(U. S. Navy.) The new 8 inch steel rifle made for U. S. Ordnance Department of
WHTWORTH steel showed enlargement of the tube after 24 rounds, so that firing was suspended and the gun taken to the machine
shop to be reinforced by additional hoops.--(U. S. Army.) At the siege of Paris more than half of the heavy Krupp guns
failed during the first fortnight of the bombardment, and during the Franco-Prussian war more than 200 KRUPP guns burst. — (Maj. Haig, in a report read before the Royal Artillery Institution.)
The Admiralty Gazette says : “ The bursting of the 43 ton gun on board the 'Collingwood startled the country. But the Naval Annual, recently issued by Lord Brasser, discloses the astounding
fact that 'similar guns in the after barbette of the Collingwood' have been since tested, and one of them burst when fired with a charge of powder of about two-thirds the weight of that used in the trials of the guns in the fore barbette.' This has been carefully kept quiet hitherto, and should unquestionably be investigated by the Ordinance Inquiry Commission.” — (Army and Navy Journal.)
APPENDIX “D.”—Data on which it is believed Cast Iron Mortars
which are immediately available may be used without re-enforce
ment with comparative economy and safety. Endurance of Cast Iron Guns.—1871. 8-inch rifle, entirely of cast
iron, weighing only 8 tons, was fired more than 1,000 rounds, and
repeatedly under pressures of more than 45 tons per square inch. 1871. 8-inch rifle, mate to above, has been fired 864 rounds, under
pressures averaging more than 20 tons per square inch of bore,
and is still in serviceable condition. 1871. 12-inch rifle, entirely of cast iron, weighing only 27 tons,
was fired nearly 500 rounds, under pressures running as high as 40
tons per square inch. 1878. 200 10-inch cast iron RODMAN guns have been converted into
8-inch rifles of 8 tons weight, by inserting a wrought iron tube about 2 inches thick ; all have been fired with service charges, and several have been fired more than 700 rounds each, and no one has failed. One has been fired repeatedly under pressures of
more than 40 tons per square inch of bore. 1878. 10-inch cast iron rifle, lined with wrought iron tube, has been
fired many rounds and is still in serviceable condition. 1878. 11-inch cast iron rifle, of same construction, has been fired
401 rounds, with full battering charges, and is still serviceable. 1878. 11-inch cast iron chambered rifle, of same general construc
tion, has been fired more than 100 rounds with heavy charges, and
still serviceable. 1878. 124-inch cast iron rifle, of same general construction, has been
fired about 200 rounds, with charges up to 200 pounds, and is in
good condition. 1885. 15-inch smooth-bore RODMAN gun of 25 tons weight has
been fired more than 300 rounds with 130 pound charges, and is
in good condition. 1886. 12-inch breech-loading rifle, entirely of cast iron, has been
fired 137 rounds, with charges producing 15,000 to 19,000 foottons muzzle energy, and is still serviceable.
Extract from Report of General BENÉT, Chief of Ordnance, to the Secretary of War, 1877.-- There is at present only one establishment in this country capable of undertaking the construction of these large guns. The plant is very expensive, and without some encouragement on the part of the United States, and some degree of permanence in the orders that are to be given annually, these private parties cannot be expected to risk the investment of money to keep the expensive plant in condition for immediate and efficient work, with no more in prospect than the disheartening uncertainties of the past decade. A consideration of the urgent wants of our seacoast defences, the length of time required to supply those wants, the absolute impossibility of providing for them in time of danger, when the events of years are crowded into days, the wisdom and policy of fostering our mechanical industries for the manufacture of warlike stores in the absence of a Government foundry, the economy of products which are the results of paying orders and steady labor, satisfies me that a permanent annual appropriation for the armament of fortifications would be most judicious and satisfactory in the interest of the public purse and the public service. Extracts from a published letter by Col. Silas Crispin, Ordnance
Department, U. S. Army, issued November 1, 1835.
“ The inauguration of a fixed policy for the production of steel ingots for heavy ordnance, I judge, would just now be premature. It would be somewhat precipitate to prematurely embark in a policy of provision and in quantity of heavy ordnance, with hardly anything but Chinese copies of the plans of European engineers to guide us.
“ Confidence is a plant of slow growth, and it will require time to establish it here as to our ability to cope with the subject before Congress can reasonably be assured that it is not striking in the dark, and making large appropriations of doubtful benefit to the Government.
“It must be plain that, while developing plant for immense ingots of steel, by steam hammers, or other provisions for forging, requiring years to perfect, that it would be folly to stand idle in the production of large guns, guns now beyond experiment, and suitable for use in every possible emergency.
“A gun of high power, we are already assured, can at once be secured, using cast iron principally, and developing even the highest ballistic effect attainable with the stronger steel construction, but not so unexceptionable in strength, safety and endurance, but having all their elements sufficiently embodied to make success. ful ordnance. Therefore, recognizing the fact, that the production of superior cast iron is so well assured, thus narrowing the field for the necessary smaller steel products required in the combination, and that a model fully established is at hand, requiring no doubtful or uncertain experiments, the way is clear for Congress now to appropriate at least for guns of this type, with the assurance of the securement of reliable high-powered orduance, and which will find place in modern armaments for years to come. A gun so modelled is now under way, and as its successful proof is almost assured, money can be safely appropriated. It seems doubtful to me if additional means to any extent can be wisely used at the present juncture for heavy guns of other types in quantity.
“ These views seem to me to meet squarely the practical issue of the day, regarding solely heavy scacoast guns, and are so presented.”
Objections being made to immediate action on the report, it was, on motion of Mr. Gustav SCHWAB, laid on the table and ordered to be printed, and its consideration deferred to the next regular meeting of the Chamber.
Mr. HERVEY C. CALKIN called attention to the short session of Congress, and the importance of getting the views of the Chamber on Harbor Defences before that body at once.
Mr. NATHANIEL Niles thereupon moved a reconsideration of the motion to lay the report and resolutions on the table.
The question being put, it was adopted.
Mr. ORLANDO B. POTTER moved the adoption of the resolutions.
Mr. Isaac Prullips moved that the appropriation of $30,000,000 be stricken out of the last resolution.
This motion was lost.
The resolutions were then adopted, and an authenticated copy was ordered to be sent to both Houses of Congress.
The report was, on motion of Mr. Norman S. BENTLEY, ordered to be printed, and a copy sent to each member of the Chamber, and its consideration postponed to the regular meeting in February.
RESOLUTIONS. On motion of Mr. AMBROSE Snow, the delegates appointed to attend the annual meeting of the National Board of Trade were authorized to represent the Chamber at the Convention of the American Shipping and Industrial League, to be held in Washington on the 18th instant.
Mr. Isaac PHILLIPS offered the following resolutions, which were referred to the Special Committee on Harbor Defences :
Resolved, That this Chamber reiterates its frequently expressed opinion, that Congress should, without any further delay, pass an Act to provide an adequate system of Coast and Harbor defences, and for proper vessels of war; and that the entire surplus of money in the Treasury could not be more wisely employed than in perfecting a work which may prove essential to the safety and protection of the country.
Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to urge upon Congress, in a Special Message, immediate and efficient action upon this important subject.
Mr. Francis B. Thurber offered the following preamble and resolution :
Whereas, Liberal postal facilities tend to increase and strengthen the friendly ties and business relations between foreign countries ; and
Whereas, Under the existing international postal arrangements, the exchange by mail of samples and small articles of merchandise are such as to practically exclude them from the mails ; therefore,
Resolved, That in the opinion of this Chamber, the business interests of this country would be greatly benefited by the inauguration of a parcels post, whereby small packages could be transmitted by mail between the United States and the other countries of America'; and to that end we respectfully ask the Post Office Department to take the necessary steps at an early day to inaugurate a parcels post with those countries.
Mr. Isaac Phillips moved the reference of the preamble and resolution to the Committee on Foreign Commerce and the Revenue Laws for consideration and report.
This motion was lost.
The preamble and resolution were then adopted, and an authenticated copy was ordered to be transmitted to the PostmasterGeneral.
Mr. Henry Hentz offered the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted :
Resolved, That the Committee on the Harbor and Shipping be requested to report to this Chamber on the advisability of petitioning Congress to enact a law compelling all American ocean and lake steamships to carry (at the expense of the Government) bombs or rockets similar to those used at the Coast Life Saving Stations, by which means lines may be thrown to vessels in distress, or to the shore, when the launching of boats for the purpose of saving human life and property cannot be accomplished without incurring great risk.