Live 160-year-old Hotchkiss Artillery Shell found in Punta Gorda antique shop

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Civil War-era artillery shell found in a Punta Gorda antique shop. (Credit: Collier County Sheriff)

Employees of an antique store in Punta Gorda made an explosive discovery on Wednesday. They called the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office to have a small explosive ordinance that was in their possession for two years checked out.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s called in help from the Collier County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad to figure out exactly what the explosive was, and if it still had the capability of exploding.

The bomb squad determined that the shell was a Civil War-era Hotchkiss Artillery Shell from the 1860s.

To determine if the shell was still live, it was run through an x-ray machine, but the bomb squad said they were not able to determine if it was safe. After learning that the shell still had its fuse intact, the deputies took it to a safe location in Charlotte County, attached a small charge to the shell, and detonated it.

The bomb squad said that if the Civil War explosive was dead, it would have left a small hole in the metal, but instead, the round blew up and sent small pieces of metal flying. Proving that the shell was indeed still functioning after 160 years.

X-ray of the 160-year-old artillery shell. (Credit: Collier County Sheriff)
The aftermath of artillery shell detonation. (Credit: Collier County Sheriff)

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