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Historical Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Military History

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These pages are dedicated to the memory of
William (Bill) Scott Curtis

Research Press manages two facebook groups that may be of interest to readers

Whitworth Rifle enthusiasts

Long Range Target Shooting with the
Black Powder Rifle

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Joseph Whitworth, Manchester, England

Joseph WhitworthThese pages present general information on Joseph Whitworth and his hexagonally bored rifle, and should be read in conjunction with:
Hex Bore - The Whitworth Research Project

The Whitworth Research Project originated with De Witt Bailey and Bill Curtis for the study of Whitworth rifles and artillery. David Minshall of Research Press is continuing this study and has been given access the original project database and other files. 

Approached in 1854 by Lord Hardinge to investigate 'the mechanical principles applicable in the construction of an efficient weapon,' Whitworth's experiments revolutionised rifle design.

See the Ordnance pages for additional information on Whitworth guns.


The Whitworth Rifle: A Brief Introduction

During the 1850s and 1860s the British service rifle calibre was .577, both for the muzzle-loading Enfield rifle and its breech-loading successor the Snider (a conversion of the Enfield). Early manufacture of the Enfield relied on much hand labour and consequently lead to problems of inconsistent performance, non-interchangeability of parts and slow supply. Joseph Whitworth was approached to provide assistance with regards to the design of appropriate machinery for its manufacture.

Read more: The Whitworth Rifle: A Brief Introduction

The Whitworth Rifle

The Whitworth Rifle has now afforded such ample proof of its superiority to the Enfield arm that the single adverse considerations of its cost cannot be allowed to operate much longer against its introduction. Perhaps the most remarkable testimony which has been borne to the merits of this rifle is that of General Hay, the director of musketry instruction at Hythe. After admitting the superiority of the Whitworth to the Enfield in point of accuracy, General Hay said there was a peculiarity about the Whitworth small bore rifles which no other similar arms had yet produced - they not only gave greater accuracy of firing, but treble power of penetration.

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Sir Joseph Whitworth, Bart.

This memoir and portrait appeared in 'The National Portrait Gallery', published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, c1878. Four series of portraits, bound in 2 volumes, were published. Each series has twenty full-page colour plates of portraits taken from photgraphs. Each portrait has the prinited signature of the subject. The accompanying texts (referred to as Memoirs) are written in the third person by an unnamed writer, and are on prominent British men from the 1800s. Sir Joseph Whitworth, Bart. is featured in the Fourth Series.

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The Mechanical Genius and Works of the late Sir Joseph Whitworth

Mr. John Fernie, C.E., member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, etc., of England, delivered a most entertaining and instructive address upon "The Mechanical Genius and Works of the late Sir Joseph Whitworth." Full of years, of honors, of wealth, which he gained by the most unremitting toil and industry, there passed a way to the majority, on the 22nd of January last, one of the greatest of modern engineers.

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Interment of Sir Joseph Whitworth, Bart.

On Wednesday afternoon in boisterous and miserably wet weather the interment of the remains of Sir Joseph Whitworth, Bart., took place at Darley Dale Churchyard – so rich in old associations and historic interest. Sir Joseph’s name was familiar as a household word almost all over the civilised world, but at Darley had a homely sound, and was associated with progress and a peaceful and kindly interest in the welfare of the place and the residents.

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Monument To Sir Joseph Whitworth

A handsome monument from the inhabitants of Darleydale, Derbyshire, was presented to Lady Whitworth, in token of the esteem felt for the memory of the late Sir Joseph Whitworth, Bart. The monument occupies a space in the centre of the grounds at the Whitworth Institute, and has an imposing appearance, the base being formed of one block of Stancliffe stone.

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