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Summary Article: Armstrong, William George
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English engineer. He developed hydraulic equipment and a revolutionary method of making gun barrels 1855, by building a breech-loading artillery piece with a steel and wrought-iron barrel (previous guns were muzzle-loaded and had cast-bronze barrels). By 1880 the 150-mm/16-in Armstrong gun was the standard for all British ordnance. Baron 1887.

Hydraulic equipment Armstrong was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and studied law in London. In 1839 he constructed an overshot water wheel and soon afterwards he designed a hydraulic crane. This depended simply on the pressure of water acting directly on a piston in a cylinder. The resulting movement of the piston produced a corresponding movement through suitable gears. The first example was erected on the quay in Newcastle 1846, the pressure being obtained from the water mains of the town. Abandoning his law practice 1847, he founded an engineering works at Elswick to specialize in building hydraulic cranes.

In 1850 Armstrong invented the hydraulic pressure accumulator. It consisted of a large cylinder containing a piston that could be loaded to any desired pressure, the water being pumped in below it by a steam engine or other prime mover. This device made possible the installation of hydraulic power in almost any situation, and it was particularly used for the manipulation of heavy naval guns.

Military equipment In 1854 Armstrong designed submarine mines for use in the Crimean War. A year later he designed a gun with a barrel made of wrought iron wrapped round an inner steel tube. It was rifled, and threw not a round ball but an elongated shell. The British Army first adopted the Armstrong gun 1859, but then temporarily reverted to muzzle-loaders. By 1880 he had completed the steel-wire-coiled design that was the prototype of all subsequent artillery.

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