Chronology - TORPEDO IN WORD AND PICTURE

Torpedo factory, depicted at one of the rare early photos, showing atmosphere of the first factories. The low and elongated buildings without the roof lighting and big openings, as well as unordered factory surrounding indicate beginning of the raise period. (Rijeka City Museum) 1854
RISE OF RIJEKA AND THE FIRST BIG FOUNDRY
The foundry was founded in the lively industrial climate at the beginning of the 1850s, but it did not work well until 1858, when an English engineer Robert Whitehead came from Trieste and started producing big ship engines for the Austrian Navy.

The second version of the 'coast guard drawing' (La Storia del Siluro, 1860-1936)1860
ANTECEDENT OF TORPEDO – "COAST GUARD"
Frigate captain, Giovanni Biagio Luppis (Ivan Vukić or Vukičević) came up with the idea of the “coast guard“, an explosive boat for the defence of the coast, which he unsuccessfully offered to the Ministry of War in Vienna.

Scenery from the foundry of torpedo parts (Società de Studi Fiumani - Archivio Museo Storico di Fiume, Rome)1864
STABILIMENTO TECNICO FIUMANO
Captain Luppis joined with the engineer Robert Whitehead, the director of Stabilimento tecnico fiumano in attempt to develop the new weapon. The man who connected them was the retired lieutenant colonel and the future mayor Giovanni Ciotta, who participated in the project as the manager.

The first torpedo, year 1866 (La Storia del Siluro, 1860-1936)1866
FIRST TORPEDO
In 1865 Whitehead already gave up Luppis’s concept and started from scratch – instead of exploding boat, he developed an explosive “fish” which looked like tuna and moved under the surface. Torpedo was first called the “mine-ship” (Minenschiff) and it was presented to the Austrian Navy committee on 20 December 1866.

Gold medal awarded at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. (Rijeka City Museum)1868
SUCCESS – PARIS WORLD’S FAIR
At the Paris World’s Fair, Whitehead presented an engine he built for the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max ship, which fought at the Battle of Vis. He was also awarded in Paris in 1899 and 1900.

A depth control device dating back to 1883. Function principle of the depth control devices is based on the hydrostatic plate, therefore they are mainly shallow and round, with a 'compulsory' pendulum. (Maritime Museum Split)1869
WHITEHEAD’S SECRET
Among Whitehead’s greatest inventions was the depth regulator which keeps the torpedo at a constant depth. It was developed in the 1870s and did not change much by the mid-20th century. Whitehead called it “my secret” and did not even want to patent it for fear of uncovering.

Versatile models (Archive WASS, Livorno)1870
HUNDREDS OF TORPEDOES
In September and October of 1870 more than a hundred torpedoes were launched. Their average speed was 7 kn and their reach 500 m. At the beginning, the Ministry of War technical committee thought them adequate only for destroying unmoving targets.

Details of the propeller and of the torpedo rudder, as of 1898. Two 'concentric' (coaxial) axes, with an opening for exhaust gases in the middle, have the counter-rotating propellers; each of them has two vanes. The tail section ending part has a doubled navigation system – horizontal rudders for depth control and vertical rudders for keeping the direction. (Maritime Museum Split) 1871
TWO PROPELLERS
The Navy workshops in Woolwich started producing torpedoes with two propellers. They used Whitehead’s concession, and they had a deal to share new innovations. In Rijeka, two counter-rotating propellers enabled better maintenance of the course.

The Whitehead three-cylinder radial engine, patterned after the Brotherhood's one, is significantly more advanced in comparison to the first torpedo engine. This engine, made in period 1909-1914, of 381 cm diameter, is one of the last engines of this type, preceding introduction of the more efficient, 'slant', two-cylinder motor. (Museum of Maritime History and History of the Croatian Littoral, Rijeka)1875
TORPEDOFABRIK WHITEHEAD & COMP.
Robert Whitehead bought, together with his son-in-law, Stabilimento tecnico Fiumano and he renamed it Torpedofabrik Whitehead & Comp.
Instead of his own two-cylinder steam engines, Whitehead started using Brotherhood’s three-cylinder radial engine, which he improved in his factory. It raised the speed of the torpedo significantly.

The Japanese in Rijeka – they were among the best torpedo customers  (Archive WASS, Livorno)1878
MANY COUNTRIES BUY TORPEDOES IN RIJEKA
Representatives of governments and navies of many countries came to Rijeka. At one dinner at Whitehead’s, there were representatives of 18 countries who spoke in 8 languages, and some of their countries were at war at the time.

Final torpedo assembly prior to delivery.  (Società di Studi Fiumani - Archivio Museo Storico di Fiume, Rim)1881
ORDERS CONTINUE
Whitehead sold torpedoes to many countries: 254 to England, 250 to Russia, 218 to France, 203 to Germany, 100 to Austria-Hungary, 83 to Denmark and 70 to Italy. Other buyers were Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and others.

One of the first torpedos of 533 mm caliber, made before the World War I. (Archive WASS, Livorno)1889
BIGGER AND MORE POWERFUL TORPEDOES
Whitehead increased the calibre of the torpedo from 356 and 381 mm to 450 mm and soon to 533 mm. This also increased the air reservoir, which enabled greater speed and reach. Because of the high pressure, air reservoirs were built of steel.

Filling of the compressed air tank. Besides torpedos and launching tubes, the factory produces a very important product – the tank filling compressors. By the beginning of the 20th century, the compressed air used to be the only driving medium of the Whitehead torpedo, until emersion of the combustion flask and water vapour, which increased speed and range. (State Archives Rijeka)1892
BRANCHES AND CONCESSIONS
The USA bought Whitehead’s concession rights on torpedoes fuelled by cold compressed air. A branch office in Weymouth was established, along with the one in Newport, USA. Others, like Schwarzkopf, the biggest competitor in Rijeka, produced the same torpedoes, with or without the concession.

Obry giroscope direction keeper, patented at the end of 1894. (La Storia del Siluro, 1860-1936)1894
OBRY’S GYROSCOPE
Ludovico Obry from Trieste developed and patented his own gyroscope for directing the torpedo. Obry at first worked at Stabilimento tecnico Triestino and then, from 1883 to 1885 in Whitehead’s factory in Rijeka. His invention was developed further by the end of the century – a mechanic called Czerny improved it and adjusted it for incorporation into torpedo.

Production of the various torpedo parts. Making of the warhead mantle at the transition from the 19th into the 20th century. At the top of one head, there is an inbuilt exploder. The assembled warheads are transported to other production units, by means of rail transport. (Museum of Maritime History and History of the Croatian Littoral, Rijeka)1905
NEW BRITISH OWNERS
The factory in Rijeka became a joint stock company Torpedo Fabrik Whitehead und Co Aktiengeselschaft. At the court in Rijeka, it was registered in English, Italian and Hungarian. Georg Hoyos’s son Edgar became the managing director.

As early as prior to the World War I, production of own two-cylinder 'slant' engine was started, which shortly fully overpowered the Brotherhood radial four-cylinder engines. These engines were being built into the torpedos made in Rijeka until the end of production, in mid 1960s. (Rijeka City Museum)1909
INCREASE OF SPEED AND RANGE
The production of 533 calibre torpedo – which was already being produced in Woolwich – began in Rijeka.
When they added burning paraffin, at the range of 4000 m the speed of torpedo rose to 26 kn. A completely new engine was produced, with two slanted cylinders, and the star-shaped engine was abandoned.

The collective photo of the torpedo factory staff taken in 1934.  (Archive WASS, Livorno)1923
NEW AGE – NEW OWNERS
Orlando family from Livorno took over the Torpedofabrik and turned it into Silurificio Whitehead. The Ciano family, a powerful family which gave two ministers and two admirals, also from Livorno, had an important role as well. Admiral Arturo Ciano was important in Rijeka’s factory management.

The plane trying out the torpedo launching in Rijeka bay, in 1930s (Archive WASS, Livorno)1934
AERIAL TORPEDO
First launching station in the world with a catapult for aerial torpedo was built, and test flights were also made above the bay of Rijeka. Torpedo is fired in low flight, 50 to 100 m above ground, at the speed of 200 km/h.

Setup of the torpedo factory complex, in ruins, 1945. It was made in order to reveal all devastations – both, bombings performed by the Allies and blastings by the Germans. (Rijeka City Museum)1945
FACTORY IN RUINS
Demolished factory got a new name, Jadran, but at the end of 1947 it was renamed after Yugoslav politician Aleksandar Ranković. In 1953 it became the Engine Factory Torpedo. The post-war production of torpedoes lasted for 20 years, but it was kept secret – all we know is that approximately 350 torpedoes were made. The range of the TZR 533 mm torpedo was 12 km and its speed was 40 kn.

Airview of the factory complex, at the beginning of 2000s. The big halls of the Torpedo engine factory, which went into bankruptcy, got their new owners recently; they have not started the new activities in their full scope yet. The eastern part (locomotive storage) is owned by the railway.1965/1966
A VIEW OF THE FACTORY FROM THE AIR
A hundred years after the first experiments, the factory stopped producing torpedoes. It continued making engines, from the small Aran to the large ship engines. It also produced tractor and lorry engines until 1990s.

Muzej grada Rijeke
Muzejski trg 1/1, Rijeka, Croatia phone +385 51 336-711, info@muzej-rijeka.hr, www.muzej-rijeka.hr