Punch,  42 (1862), 160.

Pull Armstrong, Pull Admiralty



Diary, Spoof


Military Technology, War, Invention, Engineers, Steamships, Patronage, Government, Politics, Technology, Futurism

    A semi-fictional account of William G Armstrong, his weapons, and his relationship with the Admiralty. The chronicle describes the competition between Armstrong and the Admiralty for military strength, every invention of Armstrong being defeated by another produced by his rival, and William E Gladstone's almost yearly increases in income tax (undoubtedly to pay for these expensive military projects). For example, after the Admiralty makes (in 1863) 'Platina Ships fastened with diamond cement', Armstrong invents (in 1864) 'Brazen Thunderbolts' which sink most of the British fleet, but then the Admiralty replies with 'Torpedo vessels' that are below the range of any guns. The competition is interrupted briefly in 1867 by John Cumming's proclamation of the Millennium, but then continues into the 1870s with Armstrong inventing such weapons as an 'Alp-Shell' for sinking stone ships and a 'Balloon battering-train', and the Admiralty replying with 'an Aerial Fleet' and a 'Subterranean Fleet'. The chronicle ends with Emperor Napoleon III of France successfully proclaiming the Millennium and Armstrong (now knighted 'Lord Bomb') inventing 'Volcano Fireworks' and accidently 'burn[ing] up the Public' (and thus his patrons).

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