Firing the eighty-one ton gun, 1877.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. The race to build the largest naval guns was begun by the Italian engineer Benedetto Brin (1833-1898) in 1870, who fitted sixty-ton guns to the ships 'Duilip and 'Dandolo. Armstrong of Elswick, determined to construct a yet larger gun, developed the muzzle-loading gun, which is shown during testing at Woolwich. However, the Italians continued to outstrip the British, the ILN complaining that the eighty-tons guns were still only posesed fifty percent of the power of their Italian counterparts. The gun is mounted on a track because of its great weight.