In 1790, two Western ships, Simon Metcalf (captaining the Eleanora) and his son Thomas Metcalf (captaining the Fair American) were trading in Hawaiian waters. John Young (aboard the Eleanora) and Isaac Davis (aboard the Fair American) eventually stayed in the Islands, befriended Kamehameha and helped him with fighting with Western war armaments.
A number of muskets, swords, axes, powder and clothing, as well as a brass cannon were recovered from the Fair American, which Kamehameha kept as part of his fleet and arsenal. Kamehameha bestowed the named Lopaka upon the powerful pū kuniahi (cannon.) Reportedly, Lopaka was lashed to a sled and pulled by ropes; in more difficult terrain, it was removed from its carriage and slung from long poles.