The inventor of this wonderful armament is Major Lawrence Holley, an officer of the Bengal Artillery Corps, and at the current time residing at Aldershot. He first conceived the idea of a modern armored suit in 1892, and is justly entitled to the proud distinction of being the originator of the first successful weapon of this kind. His first example was completed in Newcastle-on-Tyne at the end of 1893, and his first British patent bears the date August 12, 1893. The original suit was walked about repeatedly at Aldershot in the summer of 1893, before thousands of persons with the most gratifying results. That suit, lacking in armor, was quickly superceded by two examples of the "impervious" model, which have been subjected to the severest tests in Great Britain and abroad in competition with other modern military inventions, and have always maintained their superiority. Their appearance at last year's Columbian Exposition drew large crowds of admirers; the Impervious Suit won a bronze medal in the field of Military Manufactures.
The Impervious Suit can advance at the rate of more than two miles per hour; the steam turbine which drives it will continue to operate for three hours without refilling with kerosene. At Shoeburyness, an Impervious Suit pulled a 12 pounder cannon and limber a distance of five miles; and of course is undisturbed by nearby cannon-bursts or the pelting of "grape" or cannister shot. It can lift over three-quarters of a ton in weight, and is fitted with a rivetted steel shell one-half inch thick over the vital areas. A vial of compressed air is employed in starting the Impervious Suit while the boiler is warming; the vial can also supply the needs of the operator, when under-water.
A board consisting of army officers representing the different branches of the service has been appointed in accordance with a special act of Parliament to examine and report upon the Impervious Suit. A protracted and severe series of test trials was made at Woolwich, at the end of which the board recommended its adoption for the service. The report read in part,
"Among the advantages possessed by Holley's Impervious Suit may be enumerated the lightness of its parts, the simplicity and strength of the mechanism, the rapidity and continuity of movement in all of its joints and limbs, its effectiveness against troops in the field, its comparative independence of the excitement of battle, the many different weapons which it may carry or pull, its great endurance, its pecular power for the hasty defence of villages, roads, defiles and bridges; for carrying forward a light gun or machine-gun at the critical moment of a battle; for the defense and management of field-batteries of artillery, and protecting them against infantry or cavalry charges; and its economy of men and animals for serving it."
The Suit is generally carried for long distances on a General Service wagon, and accompanied by a fuel cart. A wide variety of weapons have been used with great success in the great hands of the Impervious Suits, but the most often seen are pneumatically-driven guns of the "Gatling" design, in .303 inch calibre. A small crew of artillerymen provide oil, fuel, and repairs as needed in the field.
The Impervious Suit is manufactured solely under license by the works of Sir William G. Armstrong & Co.
|Width: over shoulders 6 feet||Weight equipped: 1950 pounds|
|Reach: 5 feet||Weight empty: 1500 pounds|
|Height: 7 feet 8 inches||Cost complete £1000|