Armstrong-Whitworth: lathes and gun barrels
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    Default Armstrong-Whitworth: lathes and gun barrels



    Have a look round in here, and see what you can find.

    Some things that caught my eye: the polished reflectors for the open flame gaslights behind the lathes, and the lineshaft that drives the overhead cranes. This would be square, with regularly-spaced cylindrical bearing journals supported by bearings that are lowered and raised by the passing crane. Sacks hanging on the cranes' handrails - they're on the window side of the shop, so perhaps they're separating the driver from the wind coming up the river from the North Sea.

    If anyone wants me to zoom in on an area, let me know, although the resolution won’t be all that much better.

    Armstrong-Whitworth’s Elswick works, on the River Tyne, west of Newcastle.

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    Never seen a geared tail stock before. looks like 155 or 203mm guns.

    Thank you.

    James

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    I don't think the Geordies would have entertained millimetres in their shop in those days!

    There are certain features of the lathe that make me think it was made by Whitworth in Manchester.

    Here's a later one made by Armstrong-Whitworth in Manchester in 1905, supplied to Wallsend Slipway & Engineering on the River Tyne (this was the company featured in the overhead steam crane post).....



    The handwheel would no doubt serve as a flywheel for rapid movement of the tailstock barrel.

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    Whats with the ships wheel is that a sea going lathe

    Was the gear mechanism run by a shaft from the head to tail stock via a geared arrangement.

    I hate to say it but that poor guy looks like his heart is not in it perhaps a hangover or something.

    Thank you.

    James

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    Now that, sir, is a right manly tailstock!!! What Morse Taper do you suppose it takes?

    But, where's the pocket for the white lead dipper/spreader?

    P.S. Do not drop that dead center on your foot !!!

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    Tis a manly tailstock indeed from a manly lathe and a manly ship.



    Nary was there a manly lathe that has sailed the the seven seas and could only be from the Raging Queen.

    James

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    On the main pic. (no pun intended), is the tail stock supprted in semi circular grooves / guides ?, if so how was the male part on the stock created ?

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    To continue the nautical theme, the lathe was supplied for turning the new-fangled marine turbine rotors, like this one for the liner Mauretania:-



    It’s utilising some of the raising blocks supplied by Armstrong-Whitworth.



    The rest of the lathe photo can be seen here:-

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...d.php?t=115433

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    Hey, mate! Give me a hand with this two-and-a-half inch wrench and this 6-foot pinchbar! Ay've got to shift the tailstock over to turn a taper, an' me back's botherin' me today!

    Interesting - the guns do not appear to be wire-wound! Weren't British large cannons "wire guns", reinforced with layer upon layer of tightly wrapped wire? U.S. cannons tended to be reinforced with shrunk-on "tubes", some of them half the length of the gun. These look like tube-style guns.

    Notice that there's a flight of steps at the headstock of the near lathe in the first photo, and an outright LADDER in the turbine photo. It's always seemed to me that you know you are machining a big workpiece when you need ladder to reach the center of it, or if you have to walk on the workpiece itself......

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    some intersting information on gun construction.

    http://www.victorianshipmodels.com/c...struction.html

    somewhere around here there is an Amstrong rifled muzzle loader which burst, and you can clearly see how this earlier gun was wire wound .

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    Asquith,

    YOU are a national treasure.

    Thankyou so very much for your posts....I love them

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcandrew1894 View Post
    Asquith,

    YOU are a national treasure.

    Thankyou so very much for your posts....I love them

    Dave
    I'll second that Dave!

    The little operator in the first photo looks like the late Geordie comedian Bobby Thompson (aka "The little waster"!)

    If memory serves me correctly, Armstrong was one of the pioneers of shrunk on sleeves, and breech loading.

    The British navy (conservative / backward as ever) managed to revert to muzzle loading, after having had some armstrong breech loaders.

    He usually sold to both sides in conflicts eg the US civil war and russian - Jap wars.

    Did someone post some pictures of his country home here a while back?

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    bodger,
    What you are seeing ,looking at the illustration of the tailstock illustration only, is the clearance spaces, cast on the underside of the tailstock body casting plus similar clearances on its baseplate, The mating faces of both of them are remarkably thin strips, This cut down the machining & fitting time in its manufacture, Plus it is much easier in fitting & maintaining accuracy during this process, when one only has these little fitting strips, On these big machines, one could keep a great degree of rigidity , & chatter free operation I imagine the dead weight of the components on these big lathes were a great contributory factor It is also of great interest, that almost out of the photo, on the bottom right, can be seen the gearing for traversing the tailstock, along the bed, I wonder if it was power assisted from the layshaft, by a clutch, or did the turner call upon the labourers to turn another capstan handwheel?
    Looking at these photographs i am of the belief, that these lathes are for outside turning of the gunbarrels only, the boring lathes will be possibly further up the shop?
    Should Armstrong Whitworths boring lathes have been anything like Sir William Beardmores boring lathes, at Parkhead Steelworks Glasgow they had a headstock with a huge dia of hole through the mandrel, And an enormous length of bed, Absolutely wonderful lathes from the 1890/s which lasted up until 1970 on the closure of the firm One interesting little aside, was an office on the side of East Wellington St. with the notice on the door H.M. Inspector of Ordnance, a government resident in the factory.
    Also i would imagine lurking somewhere was a powerfull wire winding lathe, in Armstrong Whitworths plant at that period.

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    Ta very much!

    The guns presumably were wire-wound. As far as I can make out, the ‘wire’ was high tensile steel ribbon about ¼” wide. Steel sleeves were shrunk over the wire. I don’t know what the pros and cons of this system were.

    The Armstrong -Whitworth photos were taken c.1898. In the early 1900s there were a number of British firms making very large naval guns, including Armstrong-Whitworth (at both Elswick and Openshaw), Beardmore (Glasgow), Vickers (Sheffield), Coventry Ordnance, and Woolwich Arsenal.

    I already had this post on the stocks when Mac’s mention of Beardmore’s came up, so this is quite timely!

    Beardmore’s Parkhead works was state-of-the-art in its day, with spacious shops. There are some interesting photos of the place in a book called ‘Dreadnoughts in Camera 1905 - 1920’ by R D Thomas & B Patterson. Whitworth gun lathes feature in several of the photos

    I also found these Beardmore photos (apologies for the quality):-


    Wire-winding lathe. Note the splendid lanterns!


    Boring an ingot (to become a shrunk-on sleeve).

    Regards,
    Asquith,
    International Treasure
    Last edited by Asquith; 11-21-2008 at 03:54 PM.

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    I’d forgotten that I’d previously posted pictures of the ordnance works established by Armstrong-Whitworth in Italy:-

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...d.php?t=112915

    Now, more photos in Armstong-Whitworth’s Elswick works (clickable thumbnails):-






    Vickers works in Sheffield:-




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    Asquith, on the 1st thumbnail, enlarged, in the bottom r. hand corner there is a lathe with something being driven from the line shaft that appears to travel with the carriage /saddle. any ideas ?. Bodger

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    Bodger,

    I was hoping someone would tell me! It's presumably a high speed spindle fixed to the toolpost for milling or drilling or grinding, but I don't know.

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    I’ve just been reading a contemporary article about making wire-wound guns, and the bore was broached or lapped after wire-winding, because of the slight reduction in bore diameter. Lapping was sometimes also done before or after rifling, and sometimes after test firing, using a 'high speed' lead lap and emery powder, so that’s probably what the set-up is for in the thumbnail.

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    Default Long boring machine, long not-so-boring name



    I found another picture of the double-ended boring machine at Beardmore’s. It was made by this Leeds (Yorkshire) company:-



    Fairbairn, Lawson, Combe, Barbour, Limited
    Fairbairn, Macpherson (Branch)

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    I was curious as to when Armstrong and Whitworth (great rivals) came together, and how long Whitworth continued making machine tools. According to a book about Sir Joseph Whitworth, he died in 1887, but it was not until his widow died in 1896 and so released the estate to sell the Sir Joseph Whitworth Company to Sir W.G. Armstrong & Co.

    The manufacture of machine tools at Whitworths Openshaw Works came to an end in 1928 (apparently 1927 was a terrible year for machine tool sales), the buyers were their competitors Craven Brothers. (Whose founding brothers had been apprenticed to Charles Beyer and Wiliam Fairbairn, and had established their own business in 1853).

    There was alot more than machine tools being made at the Openshaw Works however, so I am guessing Armstrong Whitworth may have continued other activities there after 1928?

    BTW, I was browsing through a sort-of coffee table book Guns At Sea - it includes the same photo that appears in the first post above. It says "Armstrong's Elswick works at the turn of the nineteenth century. Note the horizontal boring machines" - so a not very trustworthy book, about 100 hundred years out on the date, and as Cutting Oil Mac has said, they look to be doing external turning.


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