Swansong: Blakely, Brooke and Vavasseur. Part 2
Authors: Kent R. Crawford, Donald E. Carlucci
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The decades of the 1860s and 1870s were characterized by one of the most thorough-going Technical Revolutions the world had ever seen, which has been characterized as the ‘Second Industrial Revolution.’ And this Revolution affected the world’s Navies no less than every other human endeavor. In the field of ordnance, iron smooth-bore cannon firing solid round shot were replaced by rifled cannon, initially to lob elongated exploding shell with greater accuracy, but soon firing elongated solid shot needed to pierce armor plate. History recalls the many designers and/or manufacturers of the Great Guns. Yet the work of lesser known figures has been overlooked.
This is a continuation of the story of Captain A.T. Blakely, R.A. by examining the work of John Mercer Brooke, a licensee, and his successor, Josiah Vavasseur. Context is provided by an examination of the gradual abandonment of the Armstrong System reliance on wrought iron and the eventual adoption of steel by the British Government.