had engaged his attention even earlier, and in 1839 he invented an improved rotary water motor. Soon afterwards he designed a hydraulic crane, which contained the germ of all the hydraulic machinery for which he and Elswick were subsequently to become famous. This machine depended simply on the pressure of water acting directly in a cylinder on a piston, which was connected with suitable multiplying gear. In the first example, which was erected on the quay at Newcastle in 1846, the necessary pressure was obtained from the ordinary water mains of the town; but the merits and advantages of the device soon became widely appreciated, and a demand arose for the erection of cranes in positions where the pressure afforded by the mains was insufficient. Of course pressure could always be obtained by the aid of special reservoirs, but to build these was not always desirable, or even practicable. Hence, when in 1850 a hydraulic installation was required for a new ferry station at New Holland, on the Humber estuary, the absence of water mains of any kind, coupled with the prohibitive cost of a special reservoir owing to the character of the soil, impelled him to invent a fresh piece of apparatus, the “accumulator,” which consists of a large cylinder containing a piston that can be loaded to give any desired pressure, the water being pumped in below it by a steam-engine or other prime mover. This simple device may be looked upon as the crown of the hydraulic system, since by its various modifications the installation of hydraulic power became possible in almost any situation. In particular, it was rendered practicable on board ship, and its application to the manipulation of heavy naval guns and other purposes on warships was not the least important of Armstrong’s achievements.
The Elswick works were originally founded for the manufacture of this hydraulic machinery, but it was not long before they became the birthplace of a revolution in gunmaking; indeed, could nothing more be placed to Armstrong’s credit than their establishment, his name would still be worthy of remembrance. Modern artillery dates from about 1855, when Armstrong’s first gun made its appearance. This weapon embodied all the essential features which distinguish the ordnance of to-day from the cannon of the middle ages—it was built up of rings of metal shrunk upon an inner steel barrel; it was loaded at the breech; it was rifled; and it threw, not a round ball, but an elongated projectile with ogival head. The guns constructed on this principle yielded such excellent results, both in range and accuracy, that they were adopted by the British government in 1859, Armstrong himself being appointed engineer of rifled ordnance and receiving the honour of knighthood. At the same time the Elswick Ordnance Company was formed to manufacture the guns under the supervision of Armstrong, who, however, had no financial interest in the concern; it was merged in the Elswick Engineering Works four years later. Great Britain thus originated a principle of gun construction which has since been universally followed, and obtained an armament superior to that possessed by any other country at that time. But while there was no doubt as to the shooting capacities of these guns, defects in the breech mechanism soon became equally patent, and in a few years caused a reversion to muzzle-loading. Armstrong resigned his position in 1863, and for seventeen years the government adhered to the older method of loading, in spite of the improvements which experiment and research at Elswick and elsewhere had during that period produced in the mechanism and performance of heavy guns. But at last Armstrong’s results could no longer be ignored; and wire-wound breech-loading guns were received back into the service in 1880. The use of steel wire for the construction of guns was one of Armstrong’s early ideas. He perceived that to coil many turns of thin wire round an inner barrel was a logical extension of the large hooped method already mentioned, and in conjunction with I. K. Brunel, was preparing to put the plan to practical test when the discovery that it had already been patented caused him to abandon his intention, until about 1877. This incident well illustrates the ground of his objection to the British system of patent law, which he looked upon as calculated to stifle invention and impede progress; the patentees in this case did not manage to make a practical success of their invention themselves, but the existence of prior patents was sufficient to turn him aside from a path which conducted him to valuable results when afterwards, owing to the expiry of those patents, he was free to pursue it as he pleased.
Lord Armstrong, who was raised to the peerage in 1887, was the author of A Visit to Egypt (1873), and Electric Movement in Air and Water (1897), besides many professional papers. He died on the 27th of December 1900, at Rothbury, Northumberland. His title became extinct, but his grand-nephew and heir, W. H. A. F. Watson-Armstrong (b. 1863), was in 1903 created Baron Armstrong of Bamburgh and Cragside.
ARMY (from Fr. armée, Lat. armata), a considerable body of men armed and organized for the purpose of warfare on land (Ger. Armee), or the whole armed force at the disposal of a state or person for the same purpose (Ger. Heer = host). The application of the term is sometimes restricted to the permanent, active or regular forces of a state. The history of the development of the army systems of the world is dealt with in this article in sections 1 to 38, being followed by sections 39 to 59 on the characteristics of present-day armies. The remainder of the article is devoted to sections on the history of the principal armies of Europe, and that of the United States. For the Japanese Army see Japan, and for the existing condition of the army in each country see under the country heading.
1. Early Armies.—It is only with the evolution of the specially military function in a tribe or nation, expressed by the separation of a warrior-class, that the history of armies (as now understood) commences. Numerous savage tribes of the present day possess military organizations based on this system, but it first appears in the history of civilization amongst the Egyptians. By the earliest laws of Egypt, provision was made for the support of the warriors. The exploits of her armies under the legendary Sesostris cannot be regarded as historical, but it appears certain that the country possessed an army, capable of waging war in a regular fashion, and divided thus early into separate arms, these being chariots, infantry and archers. The systems of the Assyrians and Babylonians present no particular features of interest, save that horsemen, as distinct from charioteers, appear on the scene. The first historical instance of a military organization resembling those of modern times is that of the Persian empire.
2. Persia.—Drawn from a hardy and nomadic race, the armies of Persia at first consisted mainly of cavalry, and owed much of their success to the consequent ease and rapidity of their movements. The warlike Persians constantly extended their power by fresh conquests, and for some time remained a distinctly conquering and military race, attaining their highest power under Cyrus and Cambyses. Cyrus seems to have been the founder of a comprehensive military organization, of which we gather details from Xenophon and other writers. To each province was allotted a certain number of soldiers as standing army. These troops, formed originally of native Persians only, were called the king’s troops. They comprised two classes, the one devoted exclusively to garrisoning towns and castles, the other distributed throughout the country. To each province was appointed a military commander, responsible for the number and efficiency of the troops in his district, while the civil governor was answerable for their subsistence and pay. Annual musters were held, either by the king in person or by generals deputed for the purpose and invested with full powers. This organization seems to have fully answered its original purpose, that of holding a vast empire acquired by conquest and promptly repelling inroads or putting down insurrections. But when a great foreign war was contemplated, the standing army was augmented by a levy throughout the empire. The extent of the empire made such a levy a matter of time, and the heterogeneous and unorganized mass of men of all nations so brought together was a source of weakness rather than strength. Indeed, the vast hosts over which the Greeks gained their victories comprised