Smithurst, Peter G. (2020) The Development, Technology and Application of Mechanised Manufacture to the Enfield Pattern 1853 Rifle and the Achievement of Interchangeability. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis provides for the first time a detailed study of the mechanised manufacture of the Enfield rifle and the achievement of interchangeability. It includes many new insights into the technology and processes employed.

These insights are derived from evidence presented by previously unstudied material and documentary sources combined with an understanding of the requirements of the rifle and of the machining operations to achieve them.

From 1857 onwards, the interchangeable manufacture of the Enfield Pattern 1853 rifle was accomplished through the extensive use of technology developed in the United States by the middle of the 19th century. The technology embodied many novel features:

1. Traditionally many components were produced by the fluid transfer of the actions of the craftsman from one feature to the next: with mechanisation, many of those features had to be created separately by highly specialised machines.

2. Machines needed to be designed to perform each of these stages sequentially, either on a single machine or using a series of machines. It was necessary that each stage be carefully planned so it did not impede the succeeding stage.

3. While the machines were sophisticated, they were not generally ‘self-acting’ and required a manual operator.

4. The careful planning of operations can be considered the beginnings of ‘production engineering’.

5. Uniformity was achieved by the use of guides, jigs, fixtures and gauges.

6. Those machines which performed operations in sequence might be likened to the CNC machines of today in which the manual operator and the guides, jigs and fixtures have been replaced by the computer program and stepper motors.

Following a brief introduction to the functional elements of the Enfield rifle, this thesis then proceeds to show how those technologies brought about radical changes in the procurement system and, more importantly, how they were applied to the manufacture of the three principal components of the rifle – lock, stock and barrel.

FINAL THESIS SMITHURST.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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