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British Military

The Ordnance Society
was formed in June 1986 to promote, encourage and co-ordinate the study of all aspects of the history of ordnance and artillery.

Ordnance Society

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1. mounted guns; artillery.
"the gun was a brand new piece of ordnance"
synonyms: guns, cannon, artillery, weapons, arms, munitions, military
2. a branch of government service dealing especially with military stores and materials.
"the ordnance corps"

The three volume series 'Great Industries of Great Britain', by Cassel, Petter, Galpin & Co., London (c1879) published under 'Iron and Steel' three papers by William Dundas Scott-Moncrieff (1846-1924) on Big Guns.

  • Big Guns: Their History - An historical overview from the 14th century, as improvements in the construction of 'big guns' followed the development of the metal trades.
  • Big Guns: The Materials - Although Great Britain had become possessed of a national arsenal, it was many years before anything approaching to a perfect system was introduced as a substitute for castings of iron and brass. Even now, though iron is employed so universally for the every-day purposes of life, there is a great amount of ignorance of the principles upon which it ought to be manufactured.
  • Big Guns: Manufacture - The conditions which are essential to the safety and efficiency of a big gun having already been explained, it only remains to give a description of how these are practically carried out in the great industry which has its head-quarters at Woolwich.

The text and illustrations published here have been extracted from ‘RECORD OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION, 1862’, published by William Mackenzie, Glasgow Edinburgh and London. The author of the following articles is Robert Mallet, Esq., C.E., F.R.S.

  • A brief historical introduction and discussion of the then current state of development of artillery.
  • Projectiles and Rifling discusses the rifling systems of the time, including Armstrong and Whitworth, and provides details of rifling machines.
  • Competitive Trials, Rifled Guns, 1861 - Results of the competitive trials for rifled guns at Shoeburyness in 1861. "Tabular results in the most condensed form in which we can convey a certain amount of knowledge of this subject within our space."
  • Armstrong Guns - From the Royal Carriage Department there is a very large collection of gun carriages for garrison, naval, and field service, with all their adjuncts, including all the recent alterations and improvements made on these in connection with the Armstrong guns. In the Gun Factory Departments the Armstrong guns themselves are represented by several mounted, and unmounted pieces, large and small.
  • Whitworth Guns - Mr. Joseph Whitworth produces a large display of guns and projectiles prepared on his system, which differs in many points from that of his great competitor and rival, Sir William Armstrong.