When people ask me what is my favourite movie my answer tends to put a look of disbelief on their faces. You see my favourite movie is Mary Poppins. I think its by far the best thing Disney ever managed to create, and, to venture into the realms of sacrilegiousness, I think its rather better than the book on which it was based.
Disney is, of course, no longer able to create movies like Mary Poppins for a number of sad reasons; the world has become a much more serious place, the “political correctness” thought police have robbed us of our sense of humour and robbed us of our willingness to be happily eccentric, to be filled with joy in being unique.
So when I saw the little item we are featuring in this post I was immediately reminded of Mary Poppins and of Admiral Boom whose passion is punctuality. To which end Admiral Boom fires his “noon day gun” at exactly 12:00pm every day. Nowadays there would be complaints about the gunpowder air pollution and the noise pollution and people would be demanding for the police to come and arrest him and lock him away for having a firearm and having the temerity to discharge harmless blanks from it in the midst of suburbia.
But as for me I’d rather live in “Cherry Tree Lane” with Admiral Boom than in what modern London has become.
However, if you have just a bit of Admiral Boom blood coursing through your veins then this French Noon-Day Gun is likely to be something you see and immediately think “I’d like that”!
If you live in a place where you’ll be required to license something as harmless as a noon day gun it may prove to be an interesting “out of the box” conversation with the police officer. The conversation will probably run something like this:
Police officer: “Good morning sir, what is this?”
You: “It’s a cannon officer.”
Police officer: “And what would you like me to do with this canon?”
You: “I’d like you to license it please.”
I can’t tell from the Bonhams description if this noon day gun for sale is still in working condition. But if it is still usable it will make a fabulous desk ornament or coffee table conversation piece, and you may just occasionally find an excuse to use it.
You’ll find Bonhams auction page for this delightful relic from a world that has sadly passed away if you click here.
The sale is scheduled for Thursday 23rd July 2015 in Knightsbridge, London.
This noon day gun is 27cm in diameter and it was made to be used. The stout little brass barrel has two bands behind the moulded muzzle. It has a moulded breech, a knob-shaped cascabel, plain trunnions on brass mounts each with a trunnion cap with a knurled securing screw. It has a brass mounted magnifying glass set on “D” shaped mounts so it can be adjusted and read accurately to enable you to get as close to an actual and punctual noon firing as your accuracy in reading the sun dial will allow. The whole assembly is mounted on a tasteful 27cm diameter white marble base inscribed “L’Ingr. Chevalier Opticien Du Roi A Paris” above an hour scale in Roman numerals from ‘I’ to ‘XII’, with a brass gnomon.
And as for Admiral Boom, he occasionally found an excuse to use his noon day gun for non noon day gun purposes.
Jon Branch is the founder and senior editor of Revivaler and has written a significant number of articles for various publications including official Buying Guides for eBay, classic car articles for Hagerty, magazine articles for both the Australian Shooters Journal and the Australian Shooter, and he’s a long time contributor to Silodrome.
Jon has done radio, television, magazine and newspaper interviews on various issues, and has traveled extensively, having lived in Britain, Australia, China and Hong Kong. His travels have taken him to Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan and a number of other countries. He has studied the Japanese sword arts and has a long history of involvement in the shooting sports, which has included authoring submissions to government on various firearms related issues and assisting in the design and establishment of shooting ranges.