Did round stereotypical bombs exist?
May 24, 2010 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Did the stereotypical round bomb exist in real life? And if so then what is it called and where can I get info about it? By "stereotypical round bomb" I mean a black spherical bomb with a small flat cylinder cap top out of which a fuse sticks out. Did these things exist IRL?
posted by I-baLL to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This question was similar, and may provide with some helpful answers.
posted by alligatorman at 12:31 PM on May 24, 2010

Yes, they did - a long time ago. Versions of them are used as military insignias here in the US.
posted by Brent Parker at 12:33 PM on May 24, 2010

Response by poster: Ah, I didn't think of searching Metafilter for "cartoon bombs". I only searched for "round bombs". Thanks!
posted by I-baLL at 12:37 PM on May 24, 2010

Since the answer is "yes, it did exist a long time ago", then the appropriate adjective is "prototypical" rather than "stereotypical".
posted by randomstriker at 12:39 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

the appropriate adjective is "prototypical" rather than "stereotypical".

posted by Phyltre at 2:10 PM on May 24, 2010

Old style mortars (up to the middle of the 19th Century) fired round iron balls full of gun powder which was set off by a fuse. They looked just like the one you're imagining -- and they were plenty deadly.

The fuse was lit when the mortar went off. The artillerists adjusted the length of the fuse to choose the time when the round went off. Ideally you got an air burst over the enemy, showering them with shrapnel.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:10 PM on May 24, 2010


It seems to me that, in common usage, prototypes are to objects as archetypes are to people / personalities.
posted by randomstriker at 4:01 PM on May 24, 2010

That use of "archetypal" is fine; it has nothing to do with people or personalities (except maybe in Jungian psychology). A prototype is "a first or preliminary model of something, especially a machine." But sometimes it's also used to mean archetype.
posted by k. at 4:24 PM on May 24, 2010

Stereotypes, on the other hand, are usually but not necessarily about people (and carry a negative connotation).
posted by k. at 4:26 PM on May 24, 2010

In set theory, an "archetype" is a member of a set which best demonstrates the feature(s) that defines the set. A different way to put it is that it's the one you think of when someone mentions the set.

The archetypical "chair" for most people is a standard wooden kitchen chair, for example, which is a better example of the set than a beanbag chair, or a lean-back chair, or a rocking chair.

All of which is a derail.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:27 PM on May 24, 2010

Prototypes (ha!) of the grenade (probably from French for pomegranate on account of the shape) bomblette go as far back as the fifteenth century at least. Basically thin clay jars filled with Greek Fire and a wick. Light. Toss. Break. Napalm. Pain.

They turn up in accounts of the Siege of Malta, 1565
posted by IndigoJones at 5:26 PM on May 24, 2010

Dear AskMefi: I love you. sdn
posted by sdn at 8:18 PM on May 24, 2010

This is a very early spherical mortar shell. Here's a photograph of something like your "archetypal" shell. As late as the American Civil War, variations were in use. After that, rifled cannon became more common and shells tended more toward the cylindrical bullet form. But the sphere and bullet and less aerodynamic cylinders all coexisted for a long time.
posted by dhartung at 9:39 PM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes...Harold Lloyd lost a thumb and finger to what was supposed to be a prop.
posted by brujita at 11:43 PM on May 24, 2010

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