Detail of a Gatling gun

19th Century

Mass production

The early years of the 19th century heralded an industrial age the like of which had never before been witnessed and an extraordinarily rapid advance in weapons technology, which continues to this day.

Formerly a labour-intensive and expensive industry, by the late 1850s the mass production of military firearms had become mechanised, using technology perfected in the United States by a number gunmakers including Whitney, North, Colt and Robbins & Lawrence and others and which was first adopted in Britain by the Royal Small Arms Manufactory at Enfield.



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Did you know?

Stainless Steel

Harry Brearley, chief metallurgist, of Thomas Firth & Sons of Sheffield, England, discovers martensitic chromium stainless steel in 1913 while seeking a corrosion-resistant alloy for gun barrels for the British Government.