A New Weapon for WW I

Birth of a Big Gun
R: A.E. Coleby. P: Cricks and Martin. UK 1908
Print: BFI
German titles

“A new weapon is launched in the pre-WWI naval arms race. This striking film illustrates the processes in the casting and manufacture of a 12-inch, 50-calibre naval gun – the kind of gun that would be used on battleships between 1914 and 1918. It was filmed in early 1908 at the factory of Armstrong Whitworth & Co., based in Newcastle-on-Tyne. The scale of the operation from 85,000 kilos of molten steel to the massive form of the finished gun is nicely filmed to showcase its impressiveness.”
BFI Player

“This major manufacturing company specialised in lifting machinery, armaments, shipping and, later, automobiles and aircraft. In 1908, the company was already 60 years old and well-experienced in casting these large naval guns. The 12″, 50 calibre was not, however, to be one of their most successful models. It was produced for a new class of super dreadnoughts which were commissioned by the Royal Navy in a bid to out-class developments in German shipping. During the mid-1900s, the naval arms race was characterised by its visibility, with representatives of German and British fleets frequently visiting and inspecting the other’s new ships.”
Bryony Dixon
BFI Screenonline

>>> A.E. Coleby as director for Cricks & Martin Films: Making Christmas CrackersThe Pirates of 1920

>>> see also his The Lure of Drink 

>>> WAR