19th Century British Signal Cannon


In stock


Signal cannons, also referred to as salute cannons, typically measure less than two feet in length. They first originated in the East Indies in the sixteenth century and eventually grew popular in England for sport or to commemorate important battles. As their name suggests, these miniatures were used abroad ships and on land to salute or warn others of danger, and to attract attention in case of emergency. These cannons also provided a form of amusement: cannon fire could signal the thrilling start of yacht races, or even alone comprise rousing contests. Men would compete for their personal cannons against others and then judge who fired the furthest. And such fiery displays are still possible! This nineteenth-century British miniature remains functional with gunpowder. The bronze barrel, strikingly detailed with an insignia of a crown with a key and lion and the year 1651 suggests that this piece may commemorate the Battle of Worcester. Remembered as the final conflict in the English Civil War, the Battle of Worcester was fought on September 3rd, 1651, between Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentarian forces and the deposed Charles II. Despite losing, Charles II managed to evade capture and later regain the English throne. This cannon’s decorate insignia seems to pay homage to the monarch’s coat of arms. The lion symbolizes the Lion of England, a heraldic supporter for the English throne, while the crown refers to the power of the English monarchy. The key, though less common a symbol, could potentially imply the right Charles II held to both or even England’s forceful control over Scotland. Perhaps once fired in friendly games among gentleman historians, this signal cannon could now make a stirring addition to any Fourth of July or New Year’s celebration.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions L 14 x W 3.5 x H 3.75 in
Style / Period


Year / Century

19th Century

Place of Origin



Bronze/ Oak


The bronze has a substantial amount of patina from age. The oak carriage has nicks, dents, and scratches and a nice patina from age. The bronze wheels roll well. There are no repairs or missing parts. The barrel detached from the cannon as it is constructed to lay in the two side slots. We will be happy to provide additional images upon request.

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