Did You Know About BRADEN’s Cannon Products? Here's a Blast from the Past...

February 12, 2021
The Braden Cannon was used to fire at burning oil field tanks.

Old Cannon Once a BRADEN Product

Not long ago someone wrote to Braden Winch Company asking if the old cannon pictured above was a genuine antique cannon.  This was asked because of the trade mark BRADEN which appears on the barrel.  This trade mark was put on the cannon back in 1921 when Mr. Braden purchased the McEwen Manufacturing Company and all the products manufactured by them.  Mr. McEwen had begun the manufacture of the cannon in 1916 and it was still a popular product in 1921.

There’s quite a story behind this old muzzle-loader that once was so important to the oil-field business.  During the early 20’s cannons like this were standard equipment on many tank farms.  They were equipped with ramrod, five-pound cast iron balls and plenty of black powder.

When a lightning bolt struck an old wooden roofed tank and ignited the oil, or when the tank caught fire for any reason, the cannons were primed, loaded and fired into the bottom of the tank, puncturing the steel walls.  The oil would then pour into trenches surrounding the tank and then could be drained from the trenches.  This meant the burning oil could be brought under much better control and be brought under more quickly.  In many cases this would be the means of saving an expensive steel tank and would prevent the boiling oil from exploding or spreading to other tanks nearby.

Today’s modern fire-fighting techniques have outmoded these old faithfuls.  Tanks are not shot into nowadays.  A foam type extinguisher is installed in the top of each tank, and when a fire originates in a tank the foam is turned on and the fire is extinguished immediately.  This is a much faster and safer method of putting out fires and can usually be done with little damage occurring to the tank.

Some of these old cannons are still around and may be seen at the Mid-Continent plant in Hominy, Seminole and Bad Creek, Oklahoma.  Having served their purpose in the oil field development, they are now merely showpieces to remind us of early day operations.

Braden manufactured the cannons, as wells as the cannon balls for the cannon, for a few years but as they became more interested in winch manufacturing, they discontinued making the cannons and cannon balls.