Dann's Torpedo Dropping Gear.

Illustrated Australian News, 22 December 1888

Detail from George Rossi Ashton's Sketchbook. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.
Click image to enlarge.

Dann's Torpedo Dropping Gear at Williamstown 1950-70.
Photo from the State Library of Victoria.
Click image to enlarge.

Cardigan Dann, Chief Torpedo Gunner in the Victorian Navy, was paid 500 by the British naval authorities for his Torpedo Dropping Gear that was invented locally and first used in the Victorian Navy.

As well as her bow torpedo tubes, Childers also carried four sets of Dann's Torpedo Dropping Gear.

The second class torpedo boats, Nepean and Lonsdale, the torpedo launch Gordon and the armed launches, Commissioner, Spray and Customs Boat No. 1 carried two sets of Dann's Torpedo Dropping Gear.

It appears that the Dropping Gear could hold a torpedo in three positions. The first position was when retracted for travelling to the target (as in the photo of Lonsdale or Nepean below). The gear could be extended for firing. In the case of the second class boats there were two extended positions, one for fine weather and one, presumably higher, for rough weather.

The Dropping Gear came in a heavy pattern as used on Childers, which could hold 14 inch and 15 inch torpedoes. The light pattern was used on the other torpedo boats and launches and could only hold the 14 inch torpedoes.

A secondary benefit of the Dropping Gear was the ease of retrieving torpedoes. Whereas previously a second boat and six men were needed to retrieve a torpedo from the water, Dann's gear enabled two men to retrieve the torpedo directly onto the torpedo boat.

Lonsdale or Nepean with dropping gear retracted. (enlarged below)
Photo courtesy of the Queenscliff Maritime Museum

Lonsdale with dropping gear extended.
Photo courtesy of John Wilkins.


Curved arm of davit.
Blowing box.
Tong tube.
Sprocket and spur wheel.
Cotter pins.
Securing pins.
Spreaders and tongs.
Vertical fin clutch.
Pin for verticle fin clutch.
Firing lever.
Studs for working firing lever.
Safety-pin (passing through tong tube and firing tube).
Winch handles.
Air lever trippers.
Tongs lor holding the torpedo.
Handle for adjusting air lkever.
Eccentric sheaves (which have to be shifted to suit each pattern of torpedo).
Steadying hooks.
Stay tube (rod inside connects with handles).
End of firing tube.
Inclined planes.
Threaded bar (attached to firing tube for adjusting and working air-lever tripper).
Plumber block.
Bearing tube.

There are two descriptions, light and heavy.
The heavy pattern is fitted to the Childers, and takes all patterns of torpedoes.
The light pattern is fitted in all second-class boats, and only takes 14-inch torpedoes.
In the second class-boats it is fitted to secure in two positions for firing, one for fine weather and one for rough.

Manual of Torpedo Instructions and Electric Lighting, c 1894.

Applications For Patents For Inventions.

No. 4048. Cardigan Dann, of the naval dockyard, Williamstown, chief torpedo gunner of the Victorian Naval Force, for "An improved universal torpedo dropping-gear"; 22nd February 1887.

Victorian Government Gazette, 4 March 1887.

New Patents

Mr. Cardigan Dann, chief torpedo gunner of the Victorian Naval Forces, for an improved universal torpedo dropping gear.

The Argus, 16 February 1888

The Argus, 23 February 1888

U.S. Patent Application

Patent number: 455742
Filing date: May 13, 1890
Issue date: Jul 14, 1891

Courtesy of Google Books.

Cardigan Dann's Profile