The Crisis of English Gunpowder in the Eighteenth Century

Seymour H. Mauskopf

in Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780226439686
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226439709 | DOI:
The Crisis of English Gunpowder in the Eighteenth Century

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This article highlights the complexity of material production by focusing on the gunpowder crisis in England during the eighteenth century. It examines the salient features of munitions production and improvement during the period and discusses the national organization of gunpowder production, procurement, and proving. It also considers government reforms in gunpowder manufacture, testing, and improvement, and describes the Royal Laboratory at Woolwich along with its comptroller, who was entrusted with the supervision of gunpowder proof; the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich trained cadets in artillery and engineering; the private owners of gunpowder mills; and the military, which continually complained about the quantity and quality of British gunpowder. To rationalize gunpowder production and to standardize the quality of gunpowder, British officials carried out systematic experiments and measurement, including ballistic testing.

Keywords: gunpowder; England; munitions; Royal Laboratory; Royal Military Academy; gunpowder mills; military; ballistic testing; gunpowder production; material production

Chapter.  14452 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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