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?

Thunder birds are go!

Artillery pieces before about 1700 were often classified by names. A rare type of very big gun was known as a basilisk, a more common long powerful gun was known as a culverin while smaller versions were named after birds of prey such as saker and falcon.