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Questions about the cost of Uchatius cannon


NodeoFranvier
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I was reading Tactics and Procurement in the Habsburg Military, 1866-1918: Offensive Spending just now and there is this one part that really bug me.

According to this book Uchatius cannon is a far more expensive(and inferior)domestic alternative to steel Krupp C73 cannon,But every source I come across including this primary source

https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Popular_Science_Monthly_Volume_11.djvu/622

State the opposite that Uchatius cannon was far cheaper.

What do you think?

Edited by NodeoFranvier
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Very much at issue is the question of date. Through the late nineteenth century the cost of manufacturing steel and working was dropping dramatically.

Consider the cost of the base metals,  Even with  General Uchatius "method" of increasing the effective strength of the bronze, a precursor to the autofretage process, bronze has a much lower yield strength than steel, so a Uchatius barrel can be expected to have a wall thickness between 50% and 100% greater than an equivalent single piece, cast steel barrel. For the sake of argument allow the bronze barrel to weigh twice as much as steel.  To estimate the current (2022) cost of a bronze barrel, allow for a 88/12 copper/tin alloy  and the current LSE prices, bronze is about US$14.2/kg.  As a general guide take steel at about US$0.8/kg giving a roughly 18/1 ratio. This ratio would have been lower in the period 1866-1914, very much lower in 1866 but rising significantly through the whole period.

Then there is the cost of working the metal. Bronze being softer is much cheaper to machine than steel. Across the period 1866-1914, the design of workshop tools; metal saws, lathes, mills, shapers, boring machines etc was constantly improving, in particular, improvement of cutting tool steels and the machine power supplies. I have no reliable data whatsoever, but the process of weapon design from 1850 to 1900 clearly tracks a dramatic drop in the cost of metal working for all metals, and steel in particular.

The result is that the Uchatius bronze barrel may have been cheaper than a plain steel barrel in 1870 but by 1914 it was not.

In the period in question, the design of construction of steel artillery barrels was dramatically improving. The British 12-pr adopted in 1885 had the rear third of the barrel reinforced with a steel jacket shrunk over the "A-tube", giving a more efficient stress loading. This made the barrel much lighter than a single piece barrel. This continued latter with the 15-pr Mk III & IV barrels having wire winding over the A-tube under the jacket. By WW1, virtually all artillery was using multiple tubes for barrel construction. These higher strength steel barrels combined with the use of smokeless powder propellants made the use of bronze barrels totally obsolete.    

Cheers

Ross

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5 hours ago, Chasemuseum said:

Very much at issue is the question of date. Through the late nineteenth century the cost of manufacturing steel and working was dropping dramatically.

Consider the cost of the base metals,  Even with  General Uchatius "method" of increasing the effective strength of the bronze, a precursor to the autofretage process, bronze has a much lower yield strength than steel, so a Uchatius barrel can be expected to have a wall thickness between 50% and 100% greater than an equivalent single piece, cast steel barrel. For the sake of argument allow the bronze barrel to weigh twice as much as steel.  To estimate the current (2022) cost of a bronze barrel, allow for a 88/12 copper/tin alloy  and the current LSE prices, bronze is about US$14.2/kg.  As a general guide take steel at about US$0.8/kg giving a roughly 18/1 ratio. This ratio would have been lower in the period 1866-1914, very much lower in 1866 but rising significantly through the whole period.

Then there is the cost of working the metal. Bronze being softer is much cheaper to machine than steel. Across the period 1866-1914, the design of workshop tools; metal saws, lathes, mills, shapers, boring machines etc was constantly improving, in particular, improvement of cutting tool steels and the machine power supplies. I have no reliable data whatsoever, but the process of weapon design from 1850 to 1900 clearly tracks a dramatic drop in the cost of metal working for all metals, and steel in particular.

The result is that the Uchatius bronze barrel may have been cheaper than a plain steel barrel in 1870 but by 1914 it was not.

In the period in question, the design of construction of steel artillery barrels was dramatically improving. The British 12-pr adopted in 1885 had the rear third of the barrel reinforced with a steel jacket shrunk over the "A-tube", giving a more efficient stress loading. This made the barrel much lighter than a single piece barrel. This continued latter with the 15-pr Mk III & IV barrels having wire winding over the A-tube under the jacket. By WW1, virtually all artillery was using multiple tubes for barrel construction. These higher strength steel barrels combined with the use of smokeless powder propellants made the use of bronze barrels totally obsolete.    

Cheers

Ross

Although that could be true in the case of the later Bronze gun that were adopted in 1899 and 1905, It wouldn't make a lot of sense for the model 1876 Uchatius gun price to swing up so wildly.

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