November 4, 2010
This June’s attempt to pour the light three ended in disappointment. It is pretty obvious that the bronze “froze” at the inside end of the tap hole as it started to flow. It wasn’t hot enough to run—that was one problem at least. There might be others we have not yet uncovered.
We have begun to disassemble the furnace to see if we can determine what happened and what we need to do to correct the problem. So far, we have removed masonry down to the tap hole and sectioned the tap hole itself.
Over the next few weeks, we will be getting further into the furnace structure to see what else might be revealed and to figure out how to remove the 500-pound mass of bronze that remains in there.
We have not yet removed the molds from the ground—something we will have to do to prepare for the next pour. The molds were almost certainly damaged by an afternoon downpour the day of the pour, and we are not going to re-use them.
The founders are in the process of making a whole new set of molds while the weather remains good this fall. Much of this is an outdoor activity, and we want them to be complete and ready to use when we are set to make another attempt early next spring.
Over the winter, with new information in hand, the masons and founders will determine what modifications should be made to the furnace to increase its heating capability and any other problems associated with it. They will rebuild/modify the furnace next spring when weather and time permit, and another pour will follow shortly.
This project is possible through a generous gift by the Ambrose and Ida Fredrickson Foundation. Research assistance was provided by Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum, and the National Park Service. We are grateful to the Museum Restoration Service and The Royal Artillery Historical Trust for the use of their images.