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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.
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Ordnance Society

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Ordnance

ordnance
noun
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.

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.

Read more: Big Guns: The Materials

Artillery, 1862

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 gives brief historical introduction and proceeds to discussion of the then current state of development of artillery.

Read more: Artillery, 1862

Artillery, 1862: Projectiles and Rifling

In small arms the projectile of lead is so soft, small, and mouldable, that no serious difficulties are found in causing it to adapt itself to the spirals of the barrel, so as perfectly to take the spin without injury to the spirals; but the case is widely different in great guns. The mass of the projectile must be of rigid material, of iron or steel; either, then, some tertium quid of soft and mouldalde material, like lead, must be adapted to its exterior, that shall at the moment of projection adapt itself to the spirals also, or workmanship the most exquisite and precise must be employed to produce in each shot a rigid piston, perfectly fitting the spirals.

Read more: Artillery, 1862: Projectiles and Rifling

Artillery, 1862: Armstrong Guns

The great display in the British division of Class 11 is made by the CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT, in all its divisions of service. 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.

Read more: Artillery, 1862: Armstrong Guns

Artillery, 1862: 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. Whitworth for a considerable time rejected “built-up” guns, and formed all natures of his ordnance, however heavy, of solid masses of what is called “homogeneous metal,” a puzzle-the-vulgar phrase, for tough steely iron, without fibre, i.e., with minute saccaroid crystallization. Latterly, however, he has employed for his larger guns in many instances this material in heavy thicknesses, for an internal tube, reinforced at the breech-end with one or more plies of rings, of the same, or of other qualities of iron, shrunk on with initial tension; and in this we are quite sure he is right.

Read more: Artillery, 1862: Whitworth Guns

         

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