Single photo: 1889 after-fire Spokane, WA


Well-known member
I have no clue on this column guys. Nothing we've hit on yet really rings true to me. My best guess is simply that the column was formed or molded that way to save on weight, and make it easier to install.


You might have just nailed it. This could have been some sort of a boiler.


And then I found this Vandenberg Volley Gun, Cal. .50. 85-Barrel Model Used by the Confederates

Depending on the size of the projectile for which it was designed, the gun had from 85 to 451 barrels. The breech was removable, and was positioned fore and aft by a screw; it was guided into place by a key-way, which, when fitted, brought the holes in the breech end in alignment with those in the stationary barrels.

In order to overcome the escape of gas and smoke at the point where the breech end joined the barrels, the forward end of each chamber was counterbored, and a short copper sleeve, cone-shaped, was placed ahead of the bullet. Upon forcing the breech in place by the screw leverage, the copper piece was crushed into position to form a gas-tight seal or gasket.

The method of ignition was unique in that the center charge was fired by percussion and ignited the whole volley simultaneously. However, by plugging off the vents, or ignition galleries, in advance, the discharge of the piece could be regulated to fire by sections of one-sixth, one-third, or one-half of the group. The other sections remained charged, ready to be fired by inserting a new percussion cap, and opening the formerly plugged orifices.

General Vandenberg also made a loading machine for facilitating the charging of the many chambers in the breech. The device, when placed on dowels, was in proper position over the holes in the chambers. By manipulating a lever, measured charges of powder were dropped simultaneously into every chamber. This mechanism could be removed quickly, to be replaced by another containing lead balls. When properly positioned, the latter dropped the bullets into place. A ramming device was then put on, and all charges were compressed at once by the action of a lever on the loading plungers.

It can readily be seen how by three operations all chambers could be loaded in a relatively short time.
Vandenberg Volley Gun_1.jpg

Vandenberg Volley Gun_2.jpg


An offshoot of this thread: 1860s: Advanced Civil War weapons


Well-known member
The below picture pertains to the city of Spokane, WA as it was after the so-called Great Fire of 1899.

KD: What do you think that perforated column at the bottom is?

Fire? This looks more like the aftermath of another bombing of some sort. And some kind of artilery at the bottom? Maybr a large boiler part.