Early torpedo. Engraving of an early torpedo on a winch during trials. This torpedo had been designed by English engineer Richard Whitehead (1823-1903), the inventor of the modern torpedo. Previous torpedoes had been attached to boats, but Whitehead's was self-propelled. He had invented his first torpedo in 1866 whilst working for the Austrian navy, and his designs were adopted by most navies within 20 years. Image of a torpedo being tested by the British ship HMS Thunderer in 1878. This torpedo was powered by compressed air and could carry 90 kilograms of explosives over a range of 800 metres at a speed of 53 kilometres an hour (29 knots).
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