HC Deb 11 May 1855 vol 138 c402

wished to ask the Clerk of the Ordnance, what measures had been adopted by the Board of Ordnance for investigating and deciding on mechanical and other inventions laid before them for the more vigorous prosecution of the war, and what has, so far, been the working of such measures?


replied that, until lately, such inventions as those to which the hon. Gentleman referred had been investigated by a Committee consisting of ex officio Members, and which did not comprise any Members who were appointed strictly on account of their scientific knowledge. The late Secretary of War, the Duke of Newcastle, seeing that the then existing state of things was not satisfactory, added very considerably to the numbers of the committee, and placed upon it many men who were eminent for their scientific attainments, including Mr. O'Brien, professor of mathematics; Mr. Abel, instructor in chemistry; Mr. Anderson, inspector of machinery; Captain Boxer, Professor Wheatstone, and Mr. Gregory. The committee had since been working very satisfactorily; they held meetings two days in the week; and a sub-committee had been appointed for the purpose of eliminating those inventions which were really worth considering from the enormous mass submitted to the committee. During the six months previous to the commencement of the present year, 221 inventions were submitted to the old committee. From the 30th of January to the 30th of April in the present year, 451 inventions had been submitted to the committee; there were now remaining for consideration, 181; the remainder had been disposed of.