Congreve Bombarding Frame, 1806.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Replica, shown with a soldier and two 32 lb carcas rockets in Hyde Park, London. The Bombarding Frame consisted of a ladder; two rocket troughs; two supporting legs for the ladder; a tie bar for supporting the legs and a gun bucket. The Frame would be tied to the mast of a rocket ship and the rockets fired, the trajectory being varied by altering by the slope of the ladder. Sir William Congreve (1772-1828) succesfully demonstrated a solid fuel rocket in 1805, and the following year his rockets were used in action for the first time, fired from special boats against the French fleet off Boulogne. Congreve's rockets had a range of up to about 2.5 km. They were effective, despite being somewhat inaccurate and prone to explode prematurely.