A model, made in 1908, of a 12-inch disappearing gun!

This gun was one of the most sophisticated seacoast weapons of the early twentieth century. It fired a 1,000-pound projectile further than the guns on most battleships. When fired, the recoil lowered the gun behind its embankment, concealing it from enemy observation; at the same time, it could be re-loaded and aimed for its next shot. When ready to fire, the gun would be raised using counterweights and would stay exposed only long enough to fire again. These guns helped defend Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay from 1901 to 1944, when they were scrapped during World War II.