The War on All Fronts: England's Effort eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 187 pages of information about The War on All Fronts.
that touch of dream in manner and look which so often goes with scientific discovery.  The invention of this gentle and courteous man has affected every vessel of any size afloat, whether for war or trade, and the whole electrical development of the world.  The fact was to be driven home even to my feminine ignorance of mechanics when, a fortnight later, the captain of a Flag-ship and I were hanging over the huge shaft leading down to the engine-rooms of the Super-dreadnought, and my companion was explaining to me something of the driving power of the ship.  But on this first meeting, how much I might have asked of the kind, great man beside me, and was too preoccupied to ask!  May the opportunity be retrieved some day!  My head was really full of the overwhelming facts, whether of labour or of output, relating to this world-famous place, which were being discussed around me.  I do not name the place, because the banishment of names, whether of persons or places, has been part of the plan of these articles.  But one can no more disguise it by writing round it than one could disguise Windsor Castle by any description that was not ridiculous.  Many a German officer has walked through these works, I imagine, before the war, smoking the cigarette of peace with their Directors, and inwardly ruminating strange thoughts.  If any such comes across these few lines, what I have written will, I think, do England no harm.

But here are some of the figures that can be given.  The shop area of the ammunition shops alone has been increased eightfold since the outbreak of war.  The total weight of shell delivered during 1915 was—­in tons—­fourteen times as much as that of 1914.  The weight of shell delivered per week, as between December, 1914, and December, 1915, has risen nearly ten times.  The number of work-people, in these shops, men and women, had risen (a) as compared with the month in which war broke out, to a figure eight times as great; (b) as compared with December, 1914, to one between three and four times as great.  And over the whole vast enterprise, shipyards, gun shops, ammunition shops, with all kinds of naval and other machinery used in war, the numbers of work-people employed had increased since 1913 more than 200 per cent.  They, with their families, equal the population of a great city—­you may see a new town rising to meet their needs on the farther side of the river.

As to Dilution, it is now accepted by the men, who said when it was proposed to them:  “Why didn’t you come to us six months ago?”

And it is working wonders here as elsewhere.  For instance, a particular portion of the breech mechanism of a gun used to take one hour and twenty minutes to make.  On the Dilution plan it is done on a capstan, and takes six minutes.  Where 500 women were employed before the war, there are now close on 9,000, and there will be thousands more, requiring one skilled man as tool-setter to about nine or ten women.  In a great gun-carriage shop, “what used to be done in two years is now done in one month.”  In another, two tons of brass were used before the war; a common figure now is twenty-one.  A large milling shop, now entirely worked by men, is to be given up immediately to women.  And so on.

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The War on All Fronts: England's Effort from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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