CHAPTER XXVII. FORGE AND ARMOR-PLATE PLANT. — Contmued.
Soon after our Civil War I gave the subject of armor plate much thought. As experiments had proved that iron was practically useless in front of modem steel shot or shell, the question naturally came up, What is the best material to use, and the proper method to adopt for its manufacture? The officials of the navies of the world were much agitated over the subject, and various modes of manufacture were suggested. The one most favored was what was after¬ wards known as the compound plate. In addition to armor plate, I had given guns, forgings, and large shafting much thought, and could clearly see that a forging plant capable of doing this class of work in the best possible maimer was of the utmost importance to the Government and the manufacturing interests of the country at large. Both were in a humiliating condition. Practically speak¬ ing, we had no navy or guns of sufficient power for coast defense, and no plant to make them. Our seacoast cities and towns and our foreign commerce were all at the mercy of the navies of the world. The then existing conditions were disgraceful to a great nation.
At that time the civflized nations of the world, which required a navy, were giving the subject of guns and armor plate much thought. Many different methods for making the latter were suggested, and some of them patented. There are two things in the construction of armor plate that must be reckoned on: first, the face must be hard, so as to break the point of the shot; second, the back must be