MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
William George Armstrong (1810-1900), British engineer, inventor and industrialist. Armstrong was born in Newcastle and began his career as a lawyer. In 1847 he gave up law and began manufacturing hydraulic machinery, including water-powered equipment for cranes, hoists, dock gates and bridges. His hydraulic accumulator, which increased the head of water, greatly extended the use of water-powered machinery. His house in Northumberland, called Cragside, was the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. In the 1850s he combined elongated ammunition with gun barrels that were rifled with several grooves, greatly improving the accuracy and range of artillery. He gave his patents to the government in 1859, after which he was knighted, and in 1887 was made Baron Armstrong, the first engineer or scientist to sit in the House of Lords. Armstrong bequeathed much of his wealth to charity.
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