William George Armstrong ..1st Baron Armstrong CB FRS

craig26 November 1810 – 27 December 1900

He was an English industrialist, an eminent scientist, inventor and philanthropist. In collaboration with the architect Richard Norman Shaw, he built Cragside in Northumberland, the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Over the years Armstrong added to the Cragside estate. Eventually the estate was 1,729 acres and had seven million trees planted, together with five artificial lakes and 31 miles of carriage drives. The lakes were used to generate hydro-electricity, and the house was the first in the world to be lit by hydro-electricity, using incandescent lamps provided by the inventor Joseph Swan

He is regarded as the inventor of modern artillery.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, Armstrong read about the difficulties the British Army experienced in manoeuvring its heavy field guns. He decided to design a lighter, more mobile field gun, with greater range and accuracy. He built a breech-loading gun in 1855 he had a five-pounder ready for inspection by a government committee. The gun proved successful in trials, but the committee thought a higher calibre gun was needed, so Armstrong built an 18-pounder on the same design.

After trials, this gun was declared to be superior to all its rivals. Armstrong surrendered the patent for the gun to the British government, rather than profit from its design. In 1862 the government decided to stop ordering the new gun and return to muzzle loaders

His company sold guns to both sides in the American Civil War

In 1876, because the 18th-century bridge at Newcastle restricted access by ships to the Elswick works, Armstrong’s company paid for a new Swing Bridge to be built, so that warships could have their guns fitted at Elswick.

In 1882 Armstrong’s company merged with Mitchells to form Sir William Armstrong, Mitchell and Co. Ltd. and in 1884 a shipyard opened at Elswick to specialise in warship production. The first vessels produced were the torpedo cruisers Panther and Leopard for the Austro-Hungarian Navy.

The first battleship produced at Elswick was H.M.S Victoria, launched in 1887.

In 1894, Elswick built and installed the steam-driven pumping engines, hydraulic accumulators and hydraulic pumping engines to operate London’s Tower Bridge.

Armstrong advocated the use of renewable energy. Stating that coal “was used wastefully and extravagantly in all its applications”, he predicted in 1863 that England would cease to produce coal within two centuries. As well as advocating the use of hydroelectricity, he also supported solar power.

Judy Guy-Briscoe – Wiki


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