||William Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
Table of Contents
WAD to WARP
WALE-KNOT or WALL-KNOT
WASH to WATER-LINES
WATER-LOGGED to WAY of a ship
WEARING to WELL-ROOM
WHARF to WIND
WIND to WINDLASS
WINDSAIL to WRECK
WAD to WARP
WADWAD, (bourrelet, Fr.) a quantity of old rope-yarns, hay, &c. rolled firmly together into the form of a ball, and used to confine the shot or shell, together with its charge of powder, in the breech of a piece of artillery.
M. Le Blond observes, in his Elements of war, that the wad is necessary to retain the charge closely in the chamber of the cannon, so that it may not, when fired, be dilated around the sides of the ball, by its windage as it passes through the chace; a circumstance which would considerably diminish the effort of the powder. But as the wad cannot be fastened to the sides of the bore, it is carried away in the same instant when the charge is inflamed, and that with so little resistance, that it cannot, in any degree, retard the explosion, or give time for the entire inflammation of the powder.
This reasoning may with equal propriety be applied to the wad that covers the bullet; which, nevertheless, is absolutely requisite, to prevent it from rolling out when the piece is fired horizontally or pointed downwards. Both are therefore peculiarly necessary in naval engagements, because, without being thus retained in its chamber, the shot would instantly roll out of the chace by the agitation of the vessel.
© Derived from Thomas Cadell's new corrected edition, London: 1780, page 310, 2004
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