This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
We announce with regret the death of Major Sir William Palliser, which took place suddenly on February 4, 1882. Sir William had been suffering from disease of the heart for a considerable period, but we believe that no one anticipated that the end was so near. For some twenty years Sir William had devoted himself to the improvement of guns, projectiles, and armor. To him is attributed the invention of the chilled-headed projectiles which are known by his name. There seems to be no doubt that chilled projectiles were suggested at Woolwich Arsenal, and even made, before Sir William took the matter up, but there is excellent reason to believe that Sir William knew nothing of this, and that the invention was original with him; at all events, he, aided by the efforts of the foundry and the laboratory at Woolwich, brought these projectiles to perfection, and unless steel-faced armor defeat them they cannot be said to have as yet met their match. A most valuable invention of the deceased officer was the cut-down screw bolt for securing armor plates to ships and ports. It was at one time feared that no fastening could be got for armor plates, as on the impact of a shot the heads or the nuts always flew off the bolts. The fracture usually took place just at the point where the screw-thread terminated. Sir William adopted the bold course of actually weakening the bolt in the middle of its length by turning it down, so that the screw stands raised up instead of being cut into the bolt, and by this simple device he changed the whole face of affairs, and the expedient applied in other ways, such as by drilling holes longitudinally down bolts, has since been extensively adopted where great immunity from fracture is required.
It is, however, for the well-known converted gun that Sir William Palliser's name will be best remembered. When our smooth-bore cast iron guns became obsolete they were converted into the rifled compound guns by a process which led to their being known as Palliser guns. The plan was to bore out a cast iron gun and then to insert a wrought iron rifled barrel consisting of two tubes of coiled iron one inside the other. By the firing of a proof charge the wrought iron barrel was tightened inside the cast iron casing. By this means we obtained a converted gun at one-third of the cost of a new gun, and saved £140 on a 64-pounder and £210 on an 80-pounder. The process of conversion involved no change in the external shape of the gun, and it could, therefore, be replaced upon the carriage and platform to which it formerly belonged. The converted guns were placed upon wooden frigates and corvettes and upon the land fronts of fortifications, and were adopted for the defense of harbors. The many services Sir William Palliser had rendered to the science of artillery secured him the Companionship of the Bath in 1868, and knighthood in 1873. In 1874 he received a formal acknowledgment from the Lords of the Admiralty of the efficiency of his armor bolts for ironclad ships. His guns have been largely made in America and elsewhere abroad; and in 1875 he received from the King of Italy the Cross of Commander of the Crown of Italy. The youngest son of Lieutenant Colonel Wray Palliser--Waterford Militia--he was born in Dublin in 1830, and was therefore only fifty-two years of age. He was educated successively at Rugby, at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and, finally passing through the Staff College at Sandhurst, he entered the Rifle Brigade in 1855, and was transferred to the Eighteenth Hussars in 1858. He remained in the service to the end of 1871, when he retired by the sale of his commission. At the general election of 1880, Sir William Palliser was returned as a Conservative at the head of the poll for Taunton. In the House of Commons Sir William gave his chief attention to the scientific matters on which his authority was so generally recognized. Under the many disappointments and "unkind cuts," which fall to the lot of the most successful inventors, Sir William Palliser displayed qualities that won hearty admiration. The confidence with which he left his last well-known experiment to be carried out in his own absence almost under the directions of those whose professional opinions were adverse to his own, may be called chivalrous. His liberality and kindness of Colonel of the second Middlesex Artillery Volunteers had gained him the affection of the entire corps; in short, where it might naturally be expected that he should win respect, he won the love of those who were thrown with him.--The Engineer.