Punch,  29 (1855), 60.

The Chemistry of the Cannon





Military Technology, Chemistry, War, Invention, Government, Patronage

Institutions mentioned:

Royal Navy, Army

    Opens with Mr Punch's request to the government to reveal the cost of 'applying the resources of chemical and mechanical science' against the Russians in the Crimean War. Believes the expenditure is 'ridiculously small', not least because of articles in The Times revealing how the Board of Ordnance neglected the invention of powerful weapons by Mr Scott and Bashley Britten. Complains that while the government wastes money on fruitless experiments on large ships, they grudge 'the outlay of a little money' on an artillery experiment. Adds to this list of neglected military inventions the gunpowder of Alexander Parkes and the secret plan of Thomas Cochrane (10th Earl of Dundonald). Questions the government's reluctance to patronise Dundonald's plan. Draws attention to Benjamin W Richardson's warning that the publication of Capt. Disney's military invention will make it available to the enemy, and surmises that the government has refused to patronise military inventions because the Russians have not used such inventions against the British fleet.

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