Punch,  36 (1859), 209.

The Armstrong Insecticide



News-Commentary, Drollery


Military Technology, War

    Discusses a speech made by William G Armstrong at a banquet held in his honour. Notes that Armstrong explained the construction and capabilities of the Armstrong gun and proceeded to describe how, on being fired from his gun, his cast-iron lead coated shell produced fan-shaped explosions, scattering pieces of metal of different sizes and shapes. Punch thinks the shape and size of the explosion suggests that the weapon is meant to be used for killing 'those foreign vermin' that 'might attempt to make a descent on our coasts'. Proceeds to note Armstrong's distinction between shells that could strike distant targets in hundreds of places from those that underwent a more confined explosion and were suitable for 'breaching purposes'. Punch insists that, at a moderate range, the Armstrong gun can be used to destroy fleas but also the 'Glory-bug' in its appearance on its own or in swarms. Concludes by noting that with the 'Armstrong Insecticide', humans can fight insects on equal terms—mass destruction, and by wishing success to Armstrong's 'experimental researches' on bug destruction.

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