- Shot tower
A shot tower is a
towerdesigned for the production of shot balls by freefall of molten lead, which is then caught in a water basin. The shot is used for projectiles in firearms.
In a shot tower,
leadis heated until molten, then dropped through a copper sievehigh up in the tower. The liquid lead solidifies as it falls and by surface tensionforms tiny spherical balls. The partially cooled balls are caught at the floor of the tower in a water-filled basin. [http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi422.htm No. 422: Shot Tower ] ] The now fully cooled balls are checked for roundness and sorted by size; those that are "out of round" are remelted. A slightly inclined table is used for checking roundness. [ [http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/may2001/991166342.Eg.r.html Re: How the small lead shot ( 7 - 8 sizes ) used for shotgun shells are made? ] ] To make larger shot sizes, a copper sieve with larger holes is used. However, the maximum size is limited by the height of the tower, because larger shot sizes must fall farther to cool. A polishingwith a slight amount of graphiteis necessary for lubricationand to prevent oxidation.
The process was invented by William Watts of
Bristol, UK, and patented in the late 18th century. Watts extended his house in Redcliffe, Bristol to build the first shot tower in 1782. [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=458483 Images of England: Sheldon Bush and Patent Shot Company Limited, Cheese Lane, Bristol] ] Shot towers replaced the earlier techniques of casting shot in molds, which was expensive, or of dripping molten lead into water barrels, which produced insufficiently spherical balls. Large shot which could not be made by the shot tower were made by tumbling pieces of cut lead sheet in a barrel until round. [ [http://150.theage.com.au/view_bestofarticle.asp?straction=update&inttype=1&intid=705 The Age 150th ] ] Shot towers were replaced by the "wind tower" method by the end of the 19th century, which used a blast of cold air to dramatically shorten the drop necessary. [ [http://www.traphof.org/shot-towers-2/shot-towers-page-1.htm History of the American Shot Tower ] ] Today the Bliemeister methodis used to make smaller shot sizes, and larger sizes are made by the cold swagingprocess of feeding calibrated lengths of wire into hemispherical dies and stamping them into spheres. [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_4_49/ai_98124187 The romance of lead shot - Shotgunner | Guns Magazine | Find Articles at BNET.com ] ]
The tallest shot tower ever builtFact|date=February 2007 still stands in the Melbourne, Australia suburb of Clifton Hill. This brick structure was built in
1882and is 80 metres or 263 feet high to the top of the small chimney.
A contrasting shot tower is the
Jackson Ferry Shot Tower, located in Wythe County, Virginia, whose construction began around 1800in a rural area. It was built of stone with walls almost a meter (2.5 feet) thick, as it was not practical to use brick in that region for such a large structure. The 23 meter (75 foot) tower was built at the edge of a cliff and utilized a subterranean shaft of the same length to double the overall height the lead would drop.
There was a prominent Shot Tower on the
South Bankof the River Thamesin central London, England. It was constructed in 1826, and was in use until 1949, but was demolished to make way for the Queen Elizabeth Hall(opened in 1967), after being retained as a feature in the 1951 Festival of Britain. Another square shot tower was also located not far away downstream along the Thames.
Other surviving examples of shot towers include:
Cheese Lane Shot Tower, Bristol, UK - now part of an office development called 'Vertigo' - this was the reinforced concrete tower built to replace the very first shot tower built in Redcliffe by William Watts;
Chester Shot Tower, Boughton, UK - circular brick tower, built in 1799; the oldest surviving shot tower in the UK [ [http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=469839 Images of England: Chester Leadworks and Shot Tower] ]
Clifton Hill Shot Tower, Melbourne, Australia
* Coops Shot Tower,
Crane Park Shot Tower, Twickenham, UK
Drochtersen Shot Tower, Drochtersen, Germany
* Helena Shot Tower,
Spring Green, Wisconsin, USA [ [http://lwr.state.wi.us/subcategory.asp?linksubcatid=354&linkcatid=483&linkid= Tower Hill State Park Shot Tower] ] - built in 1831, now part of a state park.
* Dubuque Shot Tower,
Dubuque, Iowa, USA
Jackson Ferry Shot Towerin Wythe County, Virginia, USA - built in the 1790s, now part of a state park and open to the public during the tourist season.
* Peters Shot Tower,
Kings Mills, Ohio, USA
Pispala Shot Tower, Tampere, Finland
Rossie Shot Tower, Rossie, New York, USA
Phoenix Shot Towerat Baltimore, Maryland, USA
* Remington Shot Tower,
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA - one of the few towers still in useFact|date=February 2007
Sparks Shot Tower, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - built in 1808
* Taroona Shot Tower.
Thomas H Selby Shot Tower, San Francisco, California, USA
Winchester Shot Tower, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
CBC Shot Tower, Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand
Drop tower, a similar concept, but used for scientific experiments
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