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Old Civil War (?) Era Cannonball

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    Posted 8 years ago

    (3 items)

    Old Civil War era cannonball I found in a house I rented when I was younger. Believed to be Civil War era (although not certain, research has me to believe this due to the size, weight and production of it), made of cast iron, weighs 9lbs/11.4oz. Diameter is 4.0375". It sits in my foyer on my china cabinet, where it waits for my little ones to pick it up and love on it and carry it around once in a while.


    1. rocklandman rocklandman, 8 years ago
      Just one problem, I see it is still sealed??? It might still be active, I have heard stories about these going off. Please be careful, I would seek out an expert with these items and get their opinion. Be safe.
    2. Stonie Stonie, 8 years ago
      It does look to be Civil War era going by your measurement and weight and also looks active, read about a expert that cleaned these for years till one went off in his drive way while cleaning it.
    3. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      I checked with a friend on this (I am not that good with the ARTY) and found that this cannot be a Civil War cannon ball.

      The diameter is very close, but it weighs too much-- should weigh right at 9 lbs. Here is the page from the US Ordnance Manual of 1861:

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    4. Manikin Manikin, 8 years ago
      Maybe it shrunk and gained weight with age like we do:-) ? Looks real to me I wouldn't play with it . Or measurement need to be retaken for accuracy . I wouldn't discount it not being real thing unless a arms specialist looked at it in person .
    5. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      The weight is too far off. Iron balls of that size should weigh 9 lbs or very close to it. 11 oz is just too far off.

      There are a heck of alot of things out there that "look like" but actually aren't cannon balls. It is very common to see rock crushers sold on ebay as cannon balls-- I am NOT saying that is what this is.

    6. vanskyock24 vanskyock24, 8 years ago
      i agree with manikin. scales could have the weight wrong or was just made wrong. think i would bury it in the back yard till you get a expert to check it out. and then again how accurate was their poundage back then
    7. vanskyock24 vanskyock24, 8 years ago
      forgot to mention icky even if not dangerous it would still break the lil ones toes or foot if they drop it on it. maybe not a good idea to let them play with it
    8. Manikin Manikin, 8 years ago
      I agree Vansky rather a dangerous thing to play with . My sons would have tried to ignite it . But then he went into Army and got to play with real weapons for 30 yrs instead . Let us know what you find out Icky ok
    9. ickyflea, 8 years ago
      Agreed that it's dangerous ~ took it and put it up just as soon as I read it was still active (?). Years ago, I initially thought it was the end of a ball & chain or something like that, but had to rethink it when I noticed the seam. All's not lost...I just might find a historian around here who can tell me for sure what it is...just cool to me to find something OLD and now, curiouser! ;) Happy Holidays, All!!
    10. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      Recheck the weight on postal scales-- post if you come up with something different. Also-- double check the diameter.

      As far as it being "made wrong"-- that would again indicate it is NOT Civil War. All authentic Civil War cannon balls are made from Iron. Iron has a specific weight and a round ball with 4" diameter will weigh 9 lbs.

      Much in the same way a gold buyer who is evaluating a piece of jewelry can determine how much gold is in an object based on weight and karat.

      Good luck,


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