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A steel disc and its consequences
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.
2015 (English)In: ICON, ISSN 1361-8113, Vol. 21, p. 167-179Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1840, the former Swedish diplomat and gun foundry owner, Martin von Wahrendorff, patented a breech-loading mechanism for cannons. Its key component was a steel disc placed behind the projectile. Slightly conical when inserted, it was flattened out by the pressure of the igniting powder, thereby sealing the bottom of the barrel. With this device Wahrendorff became a pioneer of the breech-loading technique, and his cannons were introduced in a number of European countries - most successfully, it would seem, in Prussia. Starting from this technological achievement, one may ask if there were social conditions favouring Sweden and the Wahrendorff foundry as country and place of invention - this article points to the likely existence of such conditions. One might also wonder if and how the breechloading technique for cannon was linked to the simultaneously appearing technique of inserting rifles in the cannon barrel, for together these two improvements can be said to have initiated an artillery revolution around the middle of the nineteenth century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
International Committee for the History of Technology , 2015. Vol. 21, p. 167-179
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-227907Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85045037441OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-227907DiVA, id: diva2:1206196
Note

QC 20180516

Available from: 2018-05-16 Created: 2018-05-16 Last updated: 2018-05-22Bibliographically approved

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