Paint or oil on cannon carriges & limbers

John Winn

Major
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I don't know what type of grease was used but can say that carriages were painted (as were wagons). There's even specifications in the 1864 manual written by French, Barry, and Hunt. I have no idea how often they were repainted; I'd guess just whenever they looked like they needed it and when they had the time.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The army had a very exact formula for mixing the print for gun carriages, limbers, caissons, & traveling forged. When the paint is fresh, it is an unattractive yellow green. With time, the paint matures into an olive green. With the effects of sun, wind & water, the color matures into a deep grayish green.

At Stones River NB, the original formulation was followed during routine maintenance of the living history artillery carriages & limbers. The initial shade was a bit off putting, smelt terrible & took forever to dry. Sometimes historical accuracy comes at a price. One extra treat was that any rags soaked with linseed oil could spontaneously combust. (I know someone who left a linseed oil soaked rag in a jacket pocket where it began to smolder as he was driving home.)

The battery wagon carried the raw pigments necessary to mix with linseed oil at need.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
The army had a very exact formula for mixing the print for gun carriages, limbers, caissons, & traveling forged. When the paint is fresh, it is an unattractive yellow green. With time, the paint matures into an olive green. With the effects of sun, wind & water, the color matures into a deep grayish green.

At Stones River NB, the original formulation was followed during routine maintenance of the living history artillery carriages & limbers. The initial shade was a bit off putting, smelt terrible & took forever to dry. Sometimes historical accuracy comes at a price. One extra treat was that any rags soaked with linseed oil could spontaneously combust. (I know someone who left a linseed oil soaked rag in a jacket pocket where it began to smolder as he was driving home.)

The battery wagon carried the raw pigments necessary to mix with linseed oil at need.
Now that's "living history". 😎 I know that the Ordnance Manual had formulas for various colors beyond the olive for the wood parts - including black for the iron parts. If I recall correctly, Gibbon's only concern about paints and "lackers" was keeping them off the tubes.
 

ucvrelics

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
Carriages were painted in an OD color. I paint all of mine with the exact color that was used during the CW.
On the grease, tar as it was called and was used as a lubricant for the carriage axles and projectile shots. Hogs’ lard or tallow was usually used, with actual tar mixed in to keep the grease from melting during long marches and hot weather.
IMG_20210108_133824079.jpg

IMG_20210108_133837909(1).jpg
 

Peter Stines

Sergeant
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
Carriages were painted in an OD color. I paint all of mine with the exact color that was used during the CW.
On the grease, tar as it was called and was used as a lubricant for the carriage axles and projectile shots. Hogs’ lard or tallow was usually used, with actual tar mixed in to keep the grease from melting during long marches and hot weather.
View attachment 392010
View attachment 392011
NICE PLAYROOM! AND SUPER NICE TOYS! FWIW the Alamo is having a full scale repro of the famous 18 pounder built. Don't know who will do it. There will be a special display area. I'd love to see permanent exibit showing chain shot, cannister and the correct tools. They still have some of the original artillery recovered from the battle exhibited but no carriages. This is LOOOONNNNGGGG OVER DUE! But thanks to Phil Collins of Genesis it's happening
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
That is how some farm equipment, such as disc harrow axles were made as late as the mid twentieth century - metal axle, wood bearing. Also some bearings used in ships were/or are made of wood, a very hard wood, such as lignum vitae.
 

unicornforge

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Location
Near Gettysburg, PA
I came across the gentleman at a paint store that assisted the Gettysburg National Park Service come up with the correct green as dictated by the period Army Ordnance Manuals, both the ones for the Union as well as the updated one by the same gentlemen that ended up labeled as Confederate use. The correct period ingredients, according to him, were discovered in the back of a warehouse. Prior to their experiments the "green" commonly used was yellowish/brownish due to modern versions of the specified ingredients. The experiment with correct period ingredients revealed a true green that was not yellowish or brownish. My Traveling Forge is painted the exact color of what the Park Service is now using in Gettysburg, using the same machine mixing instructions.

The below photo shows differences in "army green". Using a flash on the camera tends to lighten the appearance of the colors.

Army Green labeled.jpg


Traveling Forge built by David Einhorn author of the book Civil War Blacksmithing cropped.jpg
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
The hubs are oak but no bearings.
When I say "bearing", I guess I really mean "bushing" or a bearing surface (remember babbit?) like a crankshaft bearing in an engine. Anyhow, some of the old farm disc harrows had a metal axle riding in a wooden hub, with grease, much the same as you described. This wood was extremely hard.
 

CowCavalry

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
I came across the gentleman at a paint store that assisted the Gettysburg National Park Service come up with the correct green as dictated by the period Army Ordnance Manuals, both the ones for the Union as well as the updated one by the same gentlemen that ended up labeled as Confederate use. The correct period ingredients, according to him, were discovered in the back of a warehouse. Prior to their experiments the "green" commonly used was yellowish/brownish due to modern versions of the specified ingredients. The experiment with correct period ingredients revealed a true green that was not yellowish or brownish. My Traveling Forge is painted the exact color of what the Park Service is now using in Gettysburg, using the same machine mixing instructions.

The below photo shows differences in "army green". Using a flash on the camera tends to lighten the appearance of the colors.

View attachment 392048

View attachment 392052
Give us the ingredients for posterity!
 

unicornforge

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Location
Near Gettysburg, PA
Give us the ingredients for posterity!

Unfortunately a gentleman has taken ALL the research that I posted to the Internet and used it in his book as his research. That is why the "research" in his book is the same as what can be found in my book. Thus the information is preserved for posterity in over a thousand books printed.
 

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