[meteorite-list] 1876 Scientific American, Tucson Ring, NHM & the "Ovifak"

From: Sharkkb8_at_aol.com <Sharkkb8_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:48:57 2004
Message-ID: <83.fad9414.28cd5a5c_at_aol.com>

I (foolishly) wrote:

<< There is an engraving of the Tucson Ring, which the article refers to as
the "Irwin-Ainsa meteorite" and the "signet meteorite". I'm curious if
anyone can shed light on either of those references (the article does credit
the original discovery to a Juan Bautiste Ainsa). >>

At the risk of answering my own question.....

The esteemed proprietor of Fernlea Meteorites (http://fernlea.tripod.com) has
just directed my attention, in typically patrician British fashion ;-) to his
website for the following info:

No-one knows exactly where it was discovered, but in 1776 it was put to good
use as a blacksmith's anvil for the Spanish military who were charged with
defending the Tucson frontier from Apaches. The Ring was up-ended and half
buried in the ground - the natural flat edge then provided a perfect beating
surface for the blacksmith to repair weapons and fashion horse shoes. It
later served the Mexican military until 1853, whereupon the Ring was
abandoned in-situ and forgotten. In 1857, Lieutenant Bernard John Dowling
Irwin of the U.S.Army arrived in Arizona to join the infantry at Fort
Buchanan. Irwin was a naturalist & collector for the Smithsonian Institution,
and in 1860 Irwin re-discovered the Ring exactly where it had been left,
lying half buried in the street. Irwin recognised it as a meteorite and
arranged to have it shipped to the Smithsonian by Tucson freighter Augustin
Ainsa. The Ring left Tucson in 1861 bound for San Fransisco.

My sincere thanks to our list-resident meteorite-historian from Blighty, from
out West here in the colonies. I happen to reside in the same colony he
refers to, although out here we spell the city "San Francisco" ;-)

Two questions remain: 1) isn't it a little too coincidental that the Tucson
Ring was shipped "by Tucson freighter Augustin Ainsa", the same name as the
Spanish explorer who supposedly discovered it 126 years earlier (Juan
Bautiste Ainsa)........ and 2) what is the reference to the "signet

(Thanx, Rob!)


Received on Sun 09 Sep 2001 07:50:52 PM PDT

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