WILLIAM PALLISER, M.P.
View his portrait in the Waterford Museum
Source - Dictionary of National Biography
PALLISER, SIR WILLIAM (1830-1852)
Major, the inventor of
"Palliser shot", was the fifth and youngest son of Wray Palliser (d
1862), and was younger brother of John Palliser
(q.v.) and of Wray Richard Gledstanes Palliser (see
ad fin.) of Comragh, co
While he was still an
A month later, 6 Dec 1862, Palliser took out a patent for screw-bolts, the object of which was to cause the entension due to any strain to be placed along the shank, instead of being, as heretofore confined to the screwed part, by making the stem or shank of the bolt slightly smaller in diameter than the bottom of the thread of the screw. This was especially intended for the bolts used in securing armour-plates, and the principle proved so effectual that Palliser bolts without elastic washers were found to stand better than ordinary bolts with them. Supplemented as it afterwards was by Captain English's proposal of spherical nuts and coiled washers, the "plus thread', as it has been since called satisfactorily solved the very difficult problem of armour-bolts.
On 27 May 1863 he took out a patent for chill-casting projectiles whether iron or steel and either wholly or partially. James Nasmyth (q.v.) has claimed priority here, as he suggested the use of chilled cast-iron shot at the meeting of the British Association in Oct 1862. But whether or not Palliser owed the idea to him, an unverified suggestion does not go far to lessen the credit due to the man who worked it out experimentally both for shot and shell, overcame practical difficulties, such as the tendency of the shot to fly if coiled too quickly, and determined the best form of head for it, the ogival. The failure of Nasmyth's compressed-wool target showed that the proposals of even the ablest men cannot be adopted indiscriminately, and it was only by degrees that chilled shot proved their value. When tried in Nov 1863 there were found to be a marked improvement on ordinary cast iron, but it was not till 1866 that they were recognised as actually superior to steel for the attack of wrought-iron armour while their cost was only one-fifth. In that year they were introduced into the service and the manufacture of steel projectiles ceased. Owing to the introduction of steel-faced armour, steel shot have no again superseded them.
It would not be easy to
find a parallel instance of inventive activity exerted so successfully in three
different directions in the space of six months. Palliser's inventions were
developed in subsequent patents, of which he took out fourteen dealing with
guns, bolts and projectiles, between 1867 and 1881. He also patented
improvements in fastenings for railway-chairs, in powder-magazines, and in boots
and shoes, between 1869 and 1873. In 1866 he published "Notes of recent
Experiments at Shoeburyness", but withdrew it
soon afterwards. During the siege of Paris he wrote several letters to the
"Times" and some leading articles in it, which were afterwards embodied
in a pamphlet on "The use of Earthen Fortresses for the defence of London,
and as a Preventive against Invasion" (Mitchel, 1871). He proposed to
surround London with a chain of unrevetted
earthworks, about five miles apart, extending from Chatham ro
Reading, and to occupy the most important strategical points between this chain
and the coast by similar works or clusters of works. What he proposed has since
been partially carried out. In acknowledgment of his services he was made C.B.
(civil) in 1868, and was knighted
He died in London
Note by TJS: Sir William Palliser was my great-grandfather. His wife, Lady Palliser (nee Hannah Perham) was the model for the portrait "Charlie is my Darling” by Millais A bad copy of the portrait of Lady Palliser, which sold at Christie's
Hansard reported a motion put forward to increase financial recognition to Sir William and his family. Having saved the nation several million pounds, says the motion, Sir William’s widow and children were ‘destitute’.
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