How bombshells are made.
--The manufacture of bombshells is very interesting.--The shell is first filled with old-fashioned round leaden bullets; melted sulphur is then poured in to fill up the interstices and bind the bullets in one solid mass; the shell is then put into a kind of lathe, and a cylindrical hole of the exact size of the orifice of the shell is bored through the bullets and sulphur.
The cavity is filled with powder even with he interior edge of the orifice, a six-inch shell of the kind here described holding about half a pound.
The fuse fitted into the orifice is a recent Belgian invention, made of pewter, and resembles the screw-cap used for the patent fruit cans.
An examination of this pewter cap shows, however, that it is made of two hollow discs of metal screwed together and filled with meal powder.
A number of fine holes are drilled in the lower disc, while the outer disc is entire and marked with figures in the circle, 1, 2, 3, 4.--In this state the shell is water-proof.
When taken for use the gunner, by means of a small steel instrument, scoops out a portion of the outer soft metal surface, and lays bare the charge of composition powder below it.
If the shell is desired to explode in one second after leaving the gun, the scooping is made on the figure one; if in two seconds, on the figure two, and so on; the idea being that the shells of this description shall first strike the object aimed at and do execution as a ball, and then explode, sending the bullets forward as if from another cannon, located at the point where the flight of the shell is arrested.
Large shells of eight or ten inches are filled with powder only, and bursting, do execution by means of their fragments.
These large shells are generally fired by means of a fuse of meal powder, extending through a brass plug screwed in to the mouth of the shell.
In both cases the fuse is fired by the ignition of the charge in the gun.