Testing a 6-inch gun aboard ship, 1889.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News' (Vol 89/1 p 244). The handle is being used to aim the heavy gun, which rests on a track. Naval innovations of the late nineteenth century, aided by the the 1889 Naval Defence Act included automatic guns, new types of gunpowder and the increased use of torpedoes. The original automatic gun was operating succesfully in 1885. It was belt fed, water cooled and fired the .450 inch Martini-Henry cartridge. The British Army adopted a similar model of this gun (Mk 1) in 1889, a .303 inch version was also adopted in the same year; the gun weighed 60 lbs without water.