This is a post card of the Steam Cannon that was built on Hilton Head Island.
The back of the postcard says; “Modern day explorers reconstruct the past atop the gigantic steam cannon on Hilton Head Island. The huge gun, built during the Spanish-American War was fired by steam and was called “the most fearful weapon yet devised by man.” Hilton Head is a living museum – the interested visitor can spend days browsing through the Civil War ruins and ancient Indian shell rings on the island.”
The Hilton Head Steamgun was a large cannon that harnessed pressurized air. It was built around 1900 to protect the coast. Most of the metal parts are gone, but the remains of the boiler room, steam piping and the turret are still there.
The marker for the steam gun can only be reached if you are an owner or guest of Port Royal Plantation. Or by a really long walk on the beach. (All of the beaches are public, but access is limited.)
If you can get past the gates the marker is off Fort Walker Drive and the ruins of the cannon are nearby.
During the “Age of Steam” there were a number experimental steam cannons built using technology developed for steam trains.
“Hilton Head Steamgun was the last of 13 produced – 8 land based and 5 ship borne. The 50 foot long, 15-inch diameter barrel propelled a 7 foot long, dynamite loaded projectile up to 3 .25 miles. Two steam engines powered an electric generator and two air compressors to feed air at 2,000 PSI through the dune to two sides of the gun. The Hilton Head gun was fired more than 100 times in late 1901 and early 1902. It was disassembled in 1902.”