"Lyle" type Life Saving Line Cannons      

  Lyle Life Saving Cannon  

(Note: Above cannons are some we have sold!)

   Manufactured in late 1800's to the middle 1900's!

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                                                                          Rescue from land
If the wreck was close to shore, a line was shot out to the vessel with a Lyle type gun and the survivors brought ashore in a breeches buoy - think of it as a rescue by clothesline, getting this equipment close to the wreck could be a problem.

A breeches buoy was simply a pair of canvas pants sewed onto a life preserver.

Lightweight rope was shot out to the wreck with the Lyle gun.


It was carefully wound on a rope-board so it would uncoil without snagging. The crews would then use this rope to haul out the heavier lines which actually carried the breeches buoy.


Wanted all types of bronze and steel Lyle Line Cannons

for consignment sales or cash purchase!

Line cannon  Line cannon wanted

 Bronze Heat Transfer Company Life Saving Cannon   Bronze USLSS Lyle life saving cannon fo rsale

Sculler "Lyle" Line Throwing Cannon

Black steel with rare firing mechanism, projectile and ram, as well as the manufacturer's brass emblem!

Lyle Line throughing cannon for sale

Lyle Line throughing cannon for sale

Located in Daphne, Alabama for Free pick up or we can ship anywhere!

   Lyle Line throughing cannon for sale

This is an excellent "Lyle" type rescue cannon made by Sculler Safety Corp., 122 Broad St., New York.

All Original solid brass hardware on a turned steel barrel and with the original cast iron base.

It is VERY rare to be complete with the firing mechanisms (that we sell for $750 when we can find one) and a projectile!

Lyle Line cannon for sale         Lyle cannon for sale

This is in very good condition and only needs a little paint to put it into restored condition and it is set-up to fire black powder!

It is gun No. 3708

The weight of this cannon is about 180 pounds.

The barrel is 28 inches long with a 2.5 inch bore and it has an overall length of 38 inches.

It is mounted on a non-original wood plank for display!

These line cannons were used during WW1 and WW2 as live saving devices for ships within 700 yards of shore and

They were replaced by rockets, so production was ended in about 1950.

Standard powder charge is 1.8oz black powder and with a maximum charge of 8.oz.

Sold 9/14/2014!

Lyle Line cannon for sale

Lyle Model "C" life saving cannon from early 1900's for sale
 
Fantastic early Model "C" Lyle Life Saving Cannon in firing condition.
 
Lyle Model "C" life saving cannon from early 1900's for sale 
 
Cast in early 1900's and it bears serial number No. 115 and Tested.
 
Lyle Model "C" life saving cannon from early 1900's for sale
 
The Carriage is metal and restored to firing condition.
This model did not use the firing mechanism, but was fired with fuse. 
One could be easily installed and we do have a brand new one available separately.  
 
Gun is 25 1/2 inches long and has a 35 inch carriage with a 2 1/2 inch bore.
 
This is the finest model of the "Lyle" cannons and the most sought after.
This Bronze Type "C" Lyle Guns in in excellent restored condition and these are VERY hard to find for sale. 
 
This is a fabulous piece of our nations history.
 
Priced to sell very fast at: $8,750 US$ plus shipping
 
 
 Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon "Model C"
 
.32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon   .32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon   .32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon
 
This takes a .22 or .32 blank cartage.
 
  .32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon  
 
 This is a USCG-type firing mechanism, percussion, with leaf-type lanyard trigger.
 
.32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon   .32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon  .32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon
New, apparently never fired, best quality workmanship. We think it was made "back when" for the USCG.
The lanyard and leaf sear shown in photos are included.
 
.32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon  .32 caliber Firing Mechanism for Lyle Line Throwing Cannon
 
These are almost impossible to find used and this only the third one we have ever had available in the last 20+ years!
 
Sold out
 

Steel Naval Co. Life Saving Line Cannon

Naval Company Life saving cannon for sale

This gun is in original condition and ready for display or restoration.

Naval Company Life saving cannon for sale

It is complete, less the firing mechanism. We do have a new firing mechanism available separately!

Naval Company Life saving cannon for sale  Naval Company Life saving cannon for sale  Naval Company Life saving cannon for sale

It was just released from a museum like the one below.

This is in original unrestored condition!

It is gun No. 193 and marked with the date of 10 - 12 - 43

The weight of this cannon is near 200 pounds.

The barrel is 28 inches long with a 2.5 inch bore and has an overall length of 38 inches.

 These cannons were used during World War 2 as a live saving device for ships within 700 yards of shore and for sending lines between ships at sea.

  They were replaced by rockets in the 1950's, so production was ended.           

Price to sell very fast at: $1,495 + shipping

Located in Michigan for free pick up or we can arrange reasonable shipping anywhere.

Life saving line guns for sale

Pricing is as follows: 
  1. Schermuly rare rail mount - with GOOD markings. Price: $495
  2. Schermuly we think! Some markings Price: $350
  3. Schermuly with longer barrel. Price: $425
  4. Schermuly cased gun with original steel box: $750

All of above plus shipping.

Numerous more photos are available for each of the above guns on request! 

Bronze & Steel "Lyle" Type  Line Cannons Wanted!

           

  Lyle type line cannon

  Line cannon projectile

Wanted ORIGINAL projectiles for Bronze "C" Lyle Gun

Recent Line Cannon Sales!

 

    

Galbraith Bronze "Lyle" Line cannon

      Line cannon  Life saving cannon

 H. C Dimond Line Cannon

Note: We have sold all of the above Lyle cannons and nearly 100 more!

Information on the Lyle type life saving line cannons

Experiments in shooting tethered projectiles dates back to circa 1800.  A mortar device was credited with saving lives in 1850.  But it wasn't until West Point and M.I.T.  graduate David A. Lyle (1845 - 1937) began his research / testing that resulted in reliable efficient designs.  Thus Line saving guns are most often referred to as "Lyle Guns".

The US Government funded many line throwing gun projects.   There were about 30 companies who made line throwing guns from the late 1800's to 1952.  Famous names included, American Manufacturing, Galbraith, General Ordnance, Naval Co., Sculler and Steward.

Production ceased in 1952 in favor of rockets.  Some line guns even look like guns, such as the examples shown made by Winchester and the Naval Company.

These line guns are used primarily for shore based rescue operations.  The shooter would fire, aiming over the victims head and then pull the line within reach of the victim.  They are also useful for rescuing victims that have fallen through the ice, or are stranded on a cliff or burning building.

Boats in distress need larger lines.  Lyle guns were designed to throw projectiles weighing approximately 15 pounds, carrying heavier rope over 1000 feet.

hunt.jpg (42894 bytes)

Pictured is a early Lyle Gun made by Edmund S. Hunt, of Weymouth, Massachusetts.  David Lyle actually tested Hunt's guns.   The Hunt gun featured a unique projectile, in that it contained the line coiled inside it and played out during flight.  The cannon barrel shown is bronze, and measures 18 1/2 long. The bore is 2 1/2 across. It is mounted on a wooden base which measures 10 1/2 x 29 3/4.  Circa 1878
     
This iron gun was made by the Sculler Safety Co (Circa 1940).  The barrel is 28 inches long with a 2.5 inch bore.  Click on images to see larger pictures.

   Here are examples of a few line throwing guns made by different manufacturers.

lyle_small.gif (2654 bytes)lyle-5.gif (13271 bytes)lyle3_small.gif (3210 bytes)line-gun_small.gif (3054 bytes)coston.gif (46017 bytes)

Private collection

For the most part, these cannons were designed to be compact and easy to operate. Most had a elevation adjustment achieved by placing a pin in holes, which held the barrel at a certain angle.  At least one Japanese line gun has a horizontal adjustment.  It fired using 12 gauge blanks.

Lyle guns have tremendous recoil (several feet) and need to be lashed down (many people were injured just by the recoil).  All fired using black powder charges, with a couple of exceptions of those using black powder cartridges.  Black powder was used in pre-measured bags, and was coarser than the far grade, no longer manufactured.   Extensive tests were conducted to determine the optimum powder charge.  The idea being that the powder would ignite and the pressure would start pushing the projectile out of the barrel and stop burning just as the projectile exited.

Modern day shooters of these cannons should take note! The fa grade was much coarser and slower burning than today's ffg grade. It could be dangerous to put 5 ounces of ffg powder in a Lyle gun.

Barrels were made mostly of cast iron with bore diameters of about 2.5 inches.  A few were made of Bronze, and fewer of Manganese/Bronze.  


This  cannon and its projectile were made by the Naval Company, June 1944.  The waffle design barrel is made of manganese/bronze and is 34 inches long and weighs 75 lbs. (2.5 inch bore).  It was  restored to it's original factory condition.  A clear coat of urethane was applied to protect it from oxidizing.

 Earlier Lyle guns fired using standard cannon fuse. Aboard ship this proved too unreliable as most rescue operations were during turbulent, stormy weather.  Friction primers were a much better choice (these were also used during the Civil War and are in use today).  A friction primer consist of a small brass tube (3/16 inch) filled with a flash powder that gets ignited by sparks from a friction pin that is quickly pulled out of the tube using a string (lanyard) attached to the loop.   It is similar to the effect of lighting a safety match.

friction.gif (8191 bytes)

Shown is a friction primer by itself, and then one inserted in a breech plug, which is screwed into the breech of a Lyle gun.   The bolt has a 3/16 inch hole running through it.

Later, another design used a primer method consisting of a 22 or 32 caliber blank configured in a mechanical assembly.  By pulling on a string (lanyard) a spring/trigger would be released to fire the blank cartridge, which in turn ignited the powder in the barrel.

32-line.gif (21099 bytes)

Shown, is a  earlier 32 caliber firing mechanism for a Lyle gun.  These were also made in the 22 caliber size.  This device screwed into the breech section of the barrel.

More reliable firing devices came later, and included this stainless steel 22 caliber model shown below.  A 22 cal. blank was inserted by unscrewing the lower section.  The top section was spring loaded, requiring one to pull up on the head and rotating 90 degrees to the cocked position and then inserting a safety clip on the shaft. At this time the head was turned back such that it was now resting on the safety clip. The safety clip was attached to a 10 foot lanyard.   
(From the collection of T. Parks).

costo001.jpg (34113 bytes)  costo002.jpg (28145 bytes)


Lyle guns have saved thousands of lives!

 

Comments on "Lyle Cannons" from a website visitor! 

Seeing the Lyle guns brings back a wave of nostalgia, as from 1967 to 1969 I was a USCG seaman stationed at Fort Point Motor Lifeboat Station in San Francisco, CA., which had at least a dozen Lyle guns lying around for decoration.
We had, and trained with, the last "beach cart" on the west coast. This was a hand cart with fat sand tires that held a polished (by me) bronze Lyle gun and all its accessories.
Though we never used it in an actual rescue (we used boats for the 1,000 SAR cases a year we handled) we trained and practiced with it, mostly to impress visiting brass hats. Yes, it recoils hard (20 feet end over end across the beach) flying off its oak slide, and you must be most careful in flaking the 1/2 mile of light messenger line over the pins of the line box cover, putting the box over the cover, inverting it and withdrawing the cover with its pins without disturbing the piled up coiled flakes of line, then using the box's elevating wings to point it the right direction, as one little mistake results in an incredible mess and broken expensive things.
We built a platform and "yardarms" on a tall piling a few hundred yards down the beach to simulate a ship and our drills were timed as to how fast we could run out the cart, deploy and load the gun with its powder packets and heavy "sash weight" projectile, jerk the lanyard to fire the light messenger over the "victim" on the platform who hauls out the heavy messenger, then the manila cable and secures it to the piling, then the beach crew set up an "X" frame to hold the line up a few feet, buried the "dead man" and set the cable up with a powerful tackle. When this was done the breeches buoy was hauled out, the man on the piling jumped in, and we hauled him to "safety". I think our best time was something like four and a half minutes from alarm to man's feet on the beach. There's also a spring loaded line cutter you haul out last to cut the cable for recovery.
Even though this was 40 years ago, I can still smell the burnt powder and  feel the satisfaction of a difficult job well done with my shipmates, with whom I shared so much danger and adventure in our young lives.
by Peter Bailey, April 5, 2008

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Last up-dated on 09/15/2014