The Steam Air Cannon (1861)

The Baton Rouge Advocate of December 12, 1861 contained a description of a most interesting device called the Steam Air-Cannon invented by Henry Cowing. It was described as a locomotive adapted to run on “common roads” that had one or more air cannons attached. These guns had “no report, little if any concussion, not heating, and no smoke …” It was suggested that the gun had applications on warships, or on land for river protection. The cannon was described as breech loading. With the cannon removed, the remainder of the device could be used to dig ditches, throw up embankments, and as a fire engine!


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