1880s “REPORT UPON THE MANUFACTURE OF GUN COTTON” A DETAILED DESCRIPTION, FROM PLANT TO WEAPON, WITH EXCELLENT, DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF 19th CENTURY MACHINERY, PROCESSES AND MILITARY SCIENCE

By: B. C. NIELSEN

Price: $2,285.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is a unique and interesting document from the history of war, weaponry, and the United States Navy. It is the “Report upon the Manufacture of Gun Cotton” produced by a seaman, B. C. Nielsen. The 16-page handwritten report, goes over a wide range of the creation, processing, and use of gun cotton. It begins by defining gun cotton as, “an explosive made from cotton; and is composed of Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen, and is made by acting on cotton with nitric and sulphuric acids. It is only necessary to immerse pure dry cotton in a mixture of the purest and strongest nitric and sulphuric acids to convert cotton into gun cotton.” Gun cotton comes from cotton known as “weavers or cop waste, the tangled clippings from the spinning room.” The cotton is boiled then dried and passed through “a centrifugal wringer”. This is just one of the many late-Industrial Revolution era machines that the cotton will pass through before it is gun-cotton. Others include “the picker,” “wrought iron cylindrical tanks each holding about 1300 lbs of mixed acid,” “the acid wringer,” “the Immersion Tub,” “the pulper”, “the poacher,” “the stuff chest,” “the wagon,” and “the moulding press.” Each one of these machines is described in the report and exactly what it does and how is also explained. This report is exceptionally detailed from start to finish, from cotton field to the ships carrying it to war. The cotton also goes through tests to make sure it is stable and usable, including a “heat test,” and a “solubility test.” Considering the flammability of gun cotton, it makes perfect sense that the Navy would be so thorough in their examination of its manufacturing. Finally, “The gun cotton after manufacture is sent to Rose Island where it is stored in pockets provided for that purpose in a bomb proof building where it is inspected frequently. When issued to ships some of the older lots are packed in torpedo cases.” The U. S. Navy began using Rose Island, off the coast of Providence, R. I., in the early 1880's to store gun cotton for torpedoes. It continues, “A sufficient proportion of dry primers are sent with it in the outfit, dry gun-cotton is packed in glass jars and placed one jar in a white painted wooden box made for that purpose and marked dry primers.” The report finishes by stating how often the gun cotton is inspected and tested and what to do if it is becomes too dry. The report ends, “Respectfully Submitted, Benj. C. Nielsen. Seaman U.S. Navy.” The report was examined by a Lieutenant Commander of the U. S. Navy who was also Assistant Inspector of Ordnance. The name is illegible, but the chief Assistant Inspector of Ordnance at the time was G. A. Converse. The first page of the Report has “Circa 1865” written in pencil. This is incorrect and was most probably added later. The U.S. Navy did not start using Rose Island to store gun-cotton until the early 1880s. This report was most probably written around that time, probably in the mid- to late-1880s. The overall condition of the report is fair to good. The cover are two plain brown paper wrappers held together at the top of the page with three brass grommets. These covers are fairly well ripped and torn. The pages within are in better shape, showing some age-toning and wear on the first page, but none on any of the others. The handwriting is clear and legible throughout, without fading or smudging. The whole thing can be read very easily. It’s size is 9” x 13”. OVERALL: G.

Title: 1880s “REPORT UPON THE MANUFACTURE OF GUN COTTON” A DETAILED DESCRIPTION, FROM PLANT TO WEAPON, WITH EXCELLENT, DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF 19th CENTURY MACHINERY, PROCESSES AND MILITARY SCIENCE

Author Name: B. C. NIELSEN

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 19th Century Manuscript, 19th Century Rare Book,

Publisher: ROSE ISLAND, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, RI, 1885

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall

Seller ID: 0009142

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, REPORT UPON THE MANUFACTURE OF GUN COTTON, B. C. NIELSEN, LATE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION MACHINERY, UNITED STATES NAVY, USN, NAVAL ENGINEERING, WEAPONS OF WAR, NITROCELLULOSE, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER OF THE U.S. NAVY, ASSISTANT INSPECTOR OF ORDNANCE, G. A. CONVERSE, MILITARY SCIENCE, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, KEEPSAKE WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ARCHIVE, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNAL, LOG, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D’ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL