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B1319 Swash plate engine, 14 cylinder hydraulic, made by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, used on the battle cruiser HMAS Australia, 1913-1924. Click to enlarge.

Swash plate engine used on HMAS Australia

    This unusual hydraulic engine played a crucial role on Australia's first battle cruiser, turning one of the gun turrets smoothly and accurately so its guns could be aimed at an enemy target, even as the ship rolled in a heavy sea. It was made by the leading British manufacturer of armaments and warships, the Elswick Ordnance Company of Newcastle-on-Tyne, which had been founded by Sir William Armstrong. As well as designing and making guns, Armstrong was a pioneer of the hydraulic industry.

    Summary

    Object No.

    B1319

    Object Statement

    Swash plate engine, 14 cylinder hydraulic, made by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, used on the battle cruiser HMAS Australia, 1913-1924

    Physical Description

    Comprises 14 cylinders, 6 supply ports, 6 discharge ports. Valve moves at 1/6 speed of swash plate in opp. direction. Max. pressure 2000 lbs. approx. size 30" x 21" x 21".

    Plate on engine reads in part, "sunk off Sydney April 12, 1924 in conformity with the conditions of the Washington Treaty". Presented in 1924 to Sydney Technical College.

    Dimensions

    Height

    650 mm

    Width

    750 mm

    Depth

    550 mm

    History

    Notes

    The engine was used to turn a gun turret on board HMAS Australia. Hydraulic operation, and the arrangement of cylinders so the pistons impacted in turn (from alternate ends of the engine) on a swashplate instead of on a crankshaft, allowed the turret to be turned smoothly and accurately to focus on a target.

    Source

    Credit Line

    Gift of University of Technology, 1956

    Acquisition Date

    4 November 1956

    Cite this Object

    Harvard

    Swash plate engine used on HMAS Australia 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 February 2023, <https://ma.as/207398>

    Wikipedia

    {{cite web |url=https://ma.as/207398 |title=Swash plate engine used on HMAS Australia |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=4 February 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}