Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,131 pages of information and 233,678 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Norton

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

Captain John Norton (c1788-1867) of the British 34th Regiment

c1788 Born in Ireland. Believed to be of an English family settled there.

1832 The cylindro-conoidal bullet was invented by Captain John Norton of the British 34th Regiment in 1832. It had a hollow base, so that, when fired, the bullet would expand and seal the bore. The origin of his idea is an interesting one: when in southern India, he examined the blow pipe arrows used by the natives and found that their base was formed of elastic locus pith, which by its expansion against the inner surface of the blow pipe prevented the escape of air past it.[1]

1840 His rifle shell, rifle carcase and percussion grenade accepted by authorities in Woolwich.[2]

1842 March. Experiments carried out on his concussion shells on South Sea Common.[3]

1842 August. John Norton, late captain 24th Regiment, letter from the Junior United Services Club, re concussion shells.[4]

1852 May. John Norton, late captain 24th Regiment, letter re projectiles.[5]

1855 'Captain Norton's Rifled Cannon and Liquid Fire
— On Saturday last Captain Norton tried an experiment with his Rifled Liquid Fire Shell, which he fired from a four-pounder iron cannon, cast with rifle bores, and which proved to answer all his expectations. The depths of the grooves in the cannon is one-eighth of an inch ; the length of the cannon is four feet, and the turn of the rifle groove is one-fourth in the length, the weight of the cannon is six hundred weight and a half, and the diameter the bore three inches. The following is Captain Norton’s own account of the experiment which he forwarded to some of the Metropolitan Journals;— "I this day fired an iron shell of cylindroconoidal form, having a wooden sabot, fortified with thick pasteboard, attached to its base, from my rifle four-pounder iron cannon, cast with its bore, and the rifle-grooves ready formed in the casting, into a chalk-butt outside the Rotherville Gardens. The distance was seventy yards, and on the shell striking point-foremost, the wooden stopper was driven into the shell, thus allowing an opening for the liquid fire to pour out, had the shell been charged with it. The wedge-shaped stopper may be made iron, so that the force of driving it in by the resistance of thick planking may burst the front of the shell, and thus afford a wider outflow for the liquor. This three-groove cannon—grooves and bearings equally divided —was cast in a very neat and perfect manner by Messrs. Glover, of Drury Lane. The metal used was Stirling's toughened iron and "cold blast." I am convinced that rifle 68-pounder iron cannon, cast in a similar manner, would throw my rifle shot, shell, and spinster [canister?], without fail, to the distance of four English miles, and to this matter I would respectfully and earnestly solicit the serious attention of the Minister-at-War, being fully persuaded that my patented method of casting is applicable to the heaviest, and every description of casting. I fire the cannon with one of my patented glass-tube igniters, which is placed upright in the vent; a cord, looped at its end, passes round the tube, and a pull of the cord breaks it, and, by the consequent friction, fires the gun. This is the waterproof igniter I use for firing submarine shells.' [6]

1856 February. Article re railway signal 'Percussion Alarm Signal Bolt'.[7]

1856 February. Article re concussion fuse.[8]

1856 March. Article re frictional shell.[9]

1856 March. Article re railway signal.[10]

1858 January. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re railway signals.[11]

1858 May. Article re railway signal. Mention that he is of Rosherville.[12]

1858 September. J. Norton letter from Roshervlle re rifle battering ram.[13]

1858 September. Article re his 'new projectile'.[14]

1858 October. Letter, with witnesses, concerning use of Whitworth's elongated rifle shot on Russian steel plate[15]

1858 November. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re momentum. Mentions experiment in 1823 at Woolwich.[16]

1859 February. J. Norton letter from Rosherville on rifle bullet.[17]

1860 Publication of 'A List of Captain Norton's Projectiles'[18]

1860 April. Note from Captain J. Norton on a breech-loading cannon by Captain James Whiley.[19]

1860 June. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re cartridges made by Mr. Westbrooke.[20]

1860 June. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re ladies firing frictional grenades.[21]

1860 July. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re sponging out a muzzle-loading rifle cannon.[22]

1861 Boarder at Thanet Lodge, Northfleet: John Norton (age 73 born Dublin), Land proprietor late Captain 34th. In boarding house of Sarah Newbury.[23]

1861 January. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re railway signals.[24]

1861 April. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re concussion fuse.[25]

1861 June. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re rifled shell guns.[26]

1861 June. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re experiments arounf thirty years ago.[27]

1861 July. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re expanding covered leaden sabot.[28]

1861 July. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re thread-laced rifle shot.[29]

1861 July. J. Norton letter from Rosherville re types of grenades.[30]

1862 July. Article re Captain Norton's demonstrations at Bray.[31]

1862 September. J. Norton letter from the International Hotel, Bray, Wicklow, on explosive bullets.[32]

1864 February. Article regarding the achievements of Captain John Norton.[33]

1864 June. Details of his claims from 1824.[34]

1866 October. Letter calling for recognition of the contributions of Captain John Norton.[35]

1866 November. J. Norton, late 34th Regt., letter re hard projectiles.[36]

1867 February 2nd. 'Norton - February 2, at Goldsmith Terrace, Bray, John Newton, Esq., formerly captain in the 34th Regiment, age 82 years.[37]

1868 Court case over his will bought by Luke Effie 'next of kin'. References to Norton's infatuation with a girl of nineteen when age 77. Norton described as 'very eccentric, but an eminently good-humoured and honourable gentleman'. Described as childless.[38]

1874 Court case appeal.[39]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Dublin Evening Mail - Wednesday 04 March 1840
  3. Dublin Evening Mail - Friday 18 March 1842
  4. London Standard - Monday 08 August 1842
  5. Dublin Evening Mail - Friday 21 May 1852
  6. Kentish Independent - Saturday 3 November 1855
  7. The Engineer 1856/02/01
  8. The Engineer 1856/02/29
  9. The Engineer 1856/03/14
  10. The Engineer 1856/03/21
  11. The Engineer 1858/01/29
  12. The Engineer 1858/05/14
  13. The Engineer 1858/09/10
  14. The Engineer 1858/09/17
  15. The Engineer 1858/10/29
  16. The Engineer 1858/11/05
  17. The Engineer 1859/02/04
  18. Archive
  19. The Engineer 1860/04/20
  20. The Engineer 1860/06/08
  21. The Engineer 1860/06/22
  22. The Engineer 1860/07/06
  23. 1861 Census
  24. The Engineer 1861/01/04
  25. The Engineer 1861/04/05
  26. The Engineer 1861/06/07
  27. The Engineer 1861/06/21
  28. The Engineer 1861/07/05
  29. The Engineer 1861/07/12
  30. The Engineer 1861/07/26
  31. The Engineer 1862/07/18
  32. The Engineer 1862/09/19
  33. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 27 February 1864
  34. Dublin Evening Mail - Wednesday 15 June 1864
  35. London Evening Standard - Saturday 20 October 1866
  36. The Engineer 1866/11/30
  37. Belfast News-Letter - Wednesday 06 February 1867
  38. Belfast Morning News - Monday 16 November 1868
  39. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Thursday 26 March 1874