Posted 6 years ago
This is my vintage Winchester, Model 98, Signal Cannon. This was handed down from my Father’s Uncle’s family, to my Dad. Then after his passing in 1997, I got it. In the mid 60’s, when Dad got it, it was said to be 30 or 40 years old. I’ve dated the cannon between 1908 and 1955, from its barrel size and markings.
The barrel is roll marked "Manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. New Haven, Conn. U.S.A. Patented August 20, 1901 10 GA", (see pic.)
[Link to Patten info: http://www.google.com/patents?id=VeJcAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4&source=gbs_overview_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false].
Also on the barrel, it’s stamped, "Not For Ball", which was discontinued after 1958. The 12” long barrel, measures 1 ¼”, at the open end, which was increased from 1” in 1908.
There is no serial numbers before 1955, and none can be found on this one.
There is a part number stamped into both the barrel and trunnion. During production, both the barrel and trunnion are threaded, and then locked together. This number was used to identify barrels and trunnions, with compatible timing, (position of the barrel's features, with regard to its placement in the trunnion). This number is 154, (see pic). Some say this could be a production number of a year.
My Dad was told that the barrel was chromed by the original owner, who was in the metal coating trade. My research found Winchester did not chrome any cannons until 1930, and the chrome models came with rubber tires. I believe this was an all black cannon when first sold.
In March of 1903, the first production of the all black cannon sold for $7.00.
In 1930 the all black cannon sold for $18, the chrome cannon with rubber tires sold for $35.
Winchester discontinued cannon production in 1958. In total, approximately 18,400 cannons were made.
In the 1970's the Bellmore Johnson Company obtained the rights to produce the cannon and has added several other models to the line. Today, over a century later the cannon are still produced in southern Connecticut, just miles from the original Winchester factory. Current prices range from the all black cannon at $585, to the brass presentation cannon at $895.
Winchester still makes 10 GA blank shotgun shells, for these cannons. In 1903, 1,000 rounds sold for $35.00. Today 25 rounds are $47.50.
Hope you’ll find this as interesting as I do,