This week conservators are installing improved impressed current cathodic protection anodes on the Monitor’s gun carriages. The anodes are flexible wires supported on removable frames made of PVC pipes. Josiah designed and built the frames which allow the anode wires to protect the metal parts of the gun carriages from corrosion during wet conservation treatment. The frames are lightweight and easily removable to provide easy access to the carriages during deconcretion.
Today was a major milestone in the effort to conserve USS Monitor’s amazing artifacts. Almost 147 years after the iconic ironclad sank, conservators rotated the port gun carriage to its original upright position.
USS Monitor’s two custom-built gun carriages have been upside down since the ironclad sank on December 31, 1862. The gun carriages were discovered by archaeologists during excavations of the turret in 2002. The carriages were still secured to the 8-ton Dahlgren guns they supported during the Battle of Hampton Roads. Conservators and archaeologists carefully removed both carriages from the turret in 2004.
Additional metal anodes were placed around the Dahlgren guns in the past weeks. This will significantly accelerate the treatment rate of guns while they are in desalination baths.
Above, the port Dahlgren is being cleaned before the additons of new anodes.
Laura and I started cleaning the coat found in the turret during excavations. A special tank had to be built to flatten the coat to make the cleaning process more efficient. The artifact now lies on a plastic mesh allowing the dirt to fall directly in the bottom of the tank.