Practise with Armstrong gun, 1862.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News'. William Armstrong (1810-1900) was appointed Engineer of Rifled Ordnance in 1859 and set up a factory at Elswick to manufacture weaponry. The race to build the largest naval guns was begun by the Italian engineer Benedetto Brin (1833-1898) in 1870, who fitted 60-ton guns to the ships 'Duilip and 'Dandolo. Armstrong, determined to construct a yet larger gun, developed the muzzle-loading gun. However, the Italians continued to outstrip the British, the ILN complaining that the 80-ton guns were still only posesed 50 percent of the power of their Italian counterparts.