Whitehead Mark 1 torpedo

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Whitehead Mark 1 torpedo
Whitehead torpedo General Profile, The Whitehead Torpedo U.S.N.1898.jpg
Whitehead torpedo mechanism, published 1891
Type Anti-surface ship torpedo[1]
Place of origin  Austria-Hungary
Service history
In service 1894–1913[1]
Used by  United States Navy[2]
Production history
Designer Robert Whitehead
Designed 1892[1]
Manufacturer Torpedofabrik Whitehead & Co.[3]
E. W. Bliss Company
Number built 100[4]
Variants Whitehead Mk 1B[5]
Weight 845 pounds[6]
Length 140 inches (3.55 meters)[6]
Diameter 17.7 inches (45 centimeters)[6]

Effective firing range 800 yards[1]
Warhead wet guncotton[6]
Warhead weight 118.5 lbs[6]
War Nose Mk 1 contact exploder[1]

Engine 3-cylinder reciprocating
Speed 26.5 knots[1]
depth control[1]
battleships and torpedo boats[1]

The Whitehead Mark 1 torpedo was the first Whitehead torpedo adopted by the United States Navy for use in an anti-surface ship role after the E. W. Bliss Company of Brooklyn, New York secured manufacturing rights in 1892. The US Navy made an initial acquisition of 100 Mark 1s, which, by the time they entered American service, were faster, had longer range and carried a larger warhead than Robert Whitehead's earlier models.[2]


The Mark 1 was ordinarily assembled into three sections: the warhead, the air flask and the after-body. The warhead's charge of dry guncotton weighed 98 3/4 pounds plus 20% water. The Mark 1 was what was known as a "cold-running" torpedo.[1] The three-cylinder reciprocating engine ran on cold, compressed air which was stored in the air flask, which had a capacity of 7.154 cubic feet at 1350 pounds per square inch. The after-body carried the engine and the tail, which contained the propellers.[6]

The Mark 1 guidance component included the Pendulum-and-hydrostat control device which was called the "Whitehead Secret". This version of the Whitehead torpedo lacked the gyroscope gear designed by Ludwig Obry, which was incorporated in a later Whitehead model, the Mark 3.

The Mark 1 was launched from battleships and torpedo boats.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Torpedo History: Whitehead Torpedo Mk1". Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Artifact Spotlight: Whitehead torpedo" (PDF). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Chronology: Torpedo in Word and Picture". Retrieved 2013-06-08. 
  4. ^ "United States of America Torpedoes Pre-World War II". Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Silverstone, Paul (2006). The New Navy, 1883-1922. Taylor & Francis Group. pp. xxiii. ISBN 0-415-97871-8. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f The Whitehead Torpedo:. Bureau of Ordnance, United States Navy. 1898.