The Piece-maker story
The Piece Process
In keeping with the premise that the Piece-Maker was a product of the Victorian era, every effort has been made to avoid modern material and finishes.
All the metal will be bare and protected by a wax/oil combination.
There is no plating and the material was all available prior to the 20th century (although some of today's alloys may differ from the contemporaneous formulae).
The buttons below the picture at right link to more information and photographs of the Piece-maker.
The brass nameplate was in the Musée de Bludgeons storage area and is as crisp and shiny as the day it was made.
The magazine (top) containing the heat-activated flechettes feeds into the loading chamber using advanced clockwork which then inserts the flechettes into the Accelerator tube where they are are propelled by steam to muzzle velocity and the explosive within the flechettes is activated.
Still missing some of its pieces, this compact engine was fired with coal oil from a small portable tank . The cannon collected water from condensed steam and a supplemental tank which allowed the Piece-maker field mobility and avoided the vagaries of the crude electrical devices of the era. Aluminum at the time that the gun was built was worth its weight in silver.
Loading Chamber/Steam Engine (rollover picture w/mouse)
The clockwork inside the loading chamber inserts flechettes into the acceleration tube. Both the tube and loader are powered by the small steam engine in the rearmost chamber.
Magazine (viewed from above)
This view reveals the emergency ejector port, carrying handles and caisson latch. The all-brass construction reduces the chance of sparking and consequent conflagration.
As the screw turns...
You may have noticed on the cannon what are commonly called Philips head screws in the US and wondered--"Are those accurate for a 19th century piece?" The cross head screw was patented in England in 1857 by John Frearson. The Philips head screw which is more commonly available today was patented in the 1930s. The difference is that Philips head screws have slightly more rounded slots to help prevent stripping the screws. Since the screws look pretty much alike externally if the Frearson wasn’t available in brass Philips head screws were used instead and if possible modified to look like Frearson screws.
To date the process continues and the goal is to have a fully operational weapon by the end of the year, although operational is somewhat of a misnomer as it implies intent to operate. Given the near universal mortality rate among MK 13-D gunners, we won't.
The finish on the piece will be true to the original pre-delivery finish which was bare metal polished to a near mirror state, Since the MK 13-D is pure brass, bronze, copper, cast iron, steel and aluminum this will be a stunning display.
The engine and loading chamber are hinged and can be opened to view the intricate copper coils of the velocity tube.
Although modern Zombie warfare is less destructive of friendly troops, the 13-D stands as a testament to the desperate strategies of the era known as the Age of Zero Zombie Tolerance.
©Copyright 2013 Jonathan Combs