Great technological advances were made in almost every area of maritime military activity between 1793 and 1914. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Napoleonic wars marked the zenith of fighting sail and wooden hulls. By the dawn of the twentieth century, heavily armed iron-hulled warships, powered by oil-fired burners and driven by screw propellers, pointed to the shape of things to come. Spencer Tucker's heavily illustrated narrative account of this crucial transition phase in naval history focuses on the evolution of ships and their ordnance. Tucker opens with a summary of technology, tactics, and strategy in the early 1800s, followed by accounts of the wars of the Napoleonic period and the factors that led to British naval supremacy. He then describes the revolutions that followed in naval ordnance, propulsion, iron hulls, and underwater warfare and reviews the naval situation before the First World War, showing how changes played out in the Sino-Japanese, Russo-Japanese, and Spanish-American Wars. He concludes with an explanation of the world naval balance on the eve of the World War I.