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THE LANCASHIRE SHELL FACTORY

[Royal Visit to Woolwich Arsenal, 1855]

Source: The Illustrated London News, Dec 8, 1855, p.675

The next department visited was the Lancaster-shell factory, at the entrance to which were arranged specimens illustrative of each stage in the process of manufacture of these projectiles. First was shown the plate of iron out of which the shell was to be constructed; then it was shown "scarphed," bent, welded into a tube, crimped, solid, or with both ends closed; next the outside turned; then wholly turned, half "swedged," ovaled, bored, half "bushed," and wholly "bushed."

In the manufacture of these shells a steam-engine of 100-horse power is employed to drive the steam-hammers and the other machines through which the shell in its various incipient stages is made to pass. Each shell weighs, when charged with powder, 91 lb., and their cost is stated to be from 50s. to 60s. each. When made by hand they are said to have cost the enormous sum of 30 each. About 200 shells per day is the average rate of working of the different machines. Nine steam-hammers are employed in this factory of a power varying from one to three tons. After leaving the proof-yard her Majesty, accompanied by the Duchess of Sutherland and Miss Macdonald, entered her carriage, and proceeded towards the common, while the King, Prince Albert, the Duke of Cambridge, and their respective suites, made a short visit to the carriage department, where the gun carriages, waggons, ambulances, and all the vehicles used in warfare are constructed, and where, as a matter of course, machinery does the whole of the planing, morticing, drilling, sawing, and turning.