Dahlgren gun

American naval gun of the 19th Century / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Dahlgren guns were muzzle-loading naval artillery designed by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren USN (November 13, 1809 – July 12, 1870), mostly used in the period of the American Civil War. Dahlgren's design philosophy evolved from an accidental explosion in 1849 of a 32 lb (14.5 kg) gun being tested for accuracy, killing a gunner. He believed a safer, more powerful naval cannon could be designed using more scientific design criteria. Dahlgren guns were designed with a smooth curved shape, equalizing strain and concentrating more weight of metal in the gun breech where the greatest pressure of expanding propellant gases needed to be met to keep the gun from bursting. Because of their rounded contours, Dahlgren guns were nicknamed "soda bottles", a shape which became their most identifiable characteristic.[1]:203

John A. Dahlgren standing next to a 50 lb (22.7 kg) Dahlgren rifle aboard USS Pawnee, 1865.
A 9 in (229 mm) Dahlgren smoothbore naval gun and crew in the stern pivot position of USS Miami, 1864. (National Archives).