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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/347

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Loading Guns by Pneumatic Tube

��FROM tiiL- da)s of the Spanish Ar- mada down to the present time guns, l)iji: and little, on board men-of-w.ir have been loaded by hand. Am- munition hoists have supplanted the tedious hfting processes of the past, but modern en- gineering progress seems to have lett in the Uirch any instru- ment which would automatically load the gun and thus do away with the human factor. However, a Massachu- setts man has taken out patents on a pneu- matic ammunition elevating and loading device which may solve the problem.

His device is partic- ularly adapted for use on shipboard, and the object is to provide means under the con- trol of the operator in the turret for elevating a charge from the mag- azine to thi- turret and to direct and drive the charge into the breech of the gun for tiring, after the breech has been closed. The mechanism as installed would extend from a point adjacent to the magazine below the deck to a device located above the gun deck.

The complete elevating and loading system consists primarily of a trans- mission tube adjacent to the magazine which leads directly to the breech of the gun. The tube's lower section or despatching inlet is so adapted that two holders comprising the inlet may be brought into alinenu-nt with the tube by mo\ing a lexer fixed to the inlet. The air is sui)plied through a i)ipe which connects at one end with a reservoir where the supply of air is stored, and

���The Bend of the Tube Is Impor- tant as a Retarding Device to Deliver the Ammunition Gently and Without Shock into the Breech

��which will always be at constant pressure prior to sending a charge. As each holder is swung into position, or aline- ment with the trans- mission tube, an air- tight joint is made. When one holder is connected with the transmission tube and the charge is ready to be elevated to the gun, the other holder is in a position to receiv'e a fresh supply of ammu- nition.

Above the gun deck the main or transmis- sion tube is pivoted at its lower end so that it may be swung to con- nect with either of the guns near it. The tube is curved to form a bend by which the ammunition is carried round to the breech of the gun and delivered horizontally' into the gun.

When the tube is in |)osition to deliver into the gun it is held firmly in position by means of a lever. A counter- balance connected with the tube sections facili- tates their movement and holds them in any desired jiosition. Within easy reach of the gunner is a \alve which is operated to allow the charge of amnumition to be driven into the gun, but an automatic device makes this impossible unless the transmission tube is in alinement with the breech of the gun. A system of valve connections makes this possible.

By means of them the man in charge of the magazine will be unable to send any amnumition until the gunner is ready to reccixe it. When the gimner is ready he will turn the val\e al)ove his head which will allow the man in the magazine to send up the ammunition.

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