|Sheet Lead Cartridges|
|Building Needed||Naval College|
These lead containers hold standard gunpowder charges for cannons, keeping them dry in the often wet conditions aboard ship.
Powder is traditionally kept in the magazine deep in the bowels of the ship, carefully isolated from any stray sparks or naked flames. Traditionally, when going into action, the master gunner had his crew prepare small bags, each containing the right amount of powder for a given weight of cannon. The bags were then distributed to the gun captains, making loading a quicker and safer process.
However, cloth bags will still get wet in the normal course of events aboard ship, or sparks falling on them can cause explosions. This has brought about the development of other containers for gunpowder charges. The most successful in the experiments are cylinder-shaped cartridges made of soft sheet lead, which can be filled with powder and then carefully bent closed by hand. These can be prepared before battle, and are largely immune to both sparks and damp. The whole lead cylinder is rammed into the barrel, followed by a shot. A sharp spike rammed into the touchhole pierces the cartridge, allowing the primer to fire the main shot. The result is a reliable and safe loading procedure.
Sheet Lead Cartridges have more prerequisites for research than any other technology in the game. Although its bonuses only slightly improve ships, by the time it can be researched most other research would be complete anyway, although it would be in the late game, which would help to improve prestige if you're going for a prestige victory.