Weird Cannon

6-Pounder (2.6-inch) Wiard Rifle

A former Canadian, working for the United States during the war, invented several pieces of light ordnance which, although apparently excellent weapons, do not seem to have been particular popular. Norman Wiard (1826-1896) was born in Ontario where at an early age he became foreman of a foundry and began experiments with ordnance. During the Civil War he served as Superintendent of Ordnance Stores, a post which offered considerable opportunity for his inventive proclivities and incidentally brought him into consultation regarding weapons development with both the President and Secretary of War Stanton.
Writing in 1863, Wiard described his weapons as being made of semi-steel (a low-carbon cast iron in which scrap steel replaces part of the pig iron of the charge) in two calibers–6-pounder rifle of 2.6 inch bore and a 12-pounder, 4.62-inch smoothbore howitzer.

Wiard rifles of either caliber are far from common and the smoothbore is extremely rare. An excellent specimen of the 6-pounder rifle is in the Petersburg collection. Steen Cannon & Ordnance Works currently only offers this tube in an Aluminum non-firing decorative model.

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