What is a Thunder Mug?
They derive their name from their typical “mug” shape. Many had handles, but not all.
These have been used for centuries by black powder manufacturers for testing black powder formulas. Since their creation, they have been adapted to several other uses, to include signaling devices, firework launchers and smoke stack cleaners, to name a few.
Examples of early thunder mugs have been found in several countries. They are made from cast iron or brass. Most have a small lip at the bottom base, just below the touch-hole. This is where a small amount of powder was placed so as to ignite the powder in the chamber.
Sizes vary. However typical mugs are from 5 to 12 inches tall.
Fact 1: Nicknamed “Thunder Mug.”
Fact 2: Signal cannons were used by ships coming into harbor, which would signal the authorities in the port to come and inspect the ship before it offloaded goods and crew.
Fact 3: Thunder mugs were especially useful during the time of the black plague, when incoming ships had to be screened for the disease before crew could go ashore.
Fact 4: Because signal cannons lacked fuses, they were lit using long poles with wicks on the end.
Fact 5: Most thunder mugs were made from cast iron or brass.