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Old 01-10-2017, 09:22 AM
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Two volume set by Armory Press, compiled by George A. Hoyem

These are invaluable books for the study of the golden age of gunmaking in England. They are catalogs of the who's who of gunmakers with all the options and 'gingerbread' the fine gun collector could imagine. Also are ballistics charts and catalogs of calibers offered in what guns as well as engraving patterns, checkering patterns and pictures of historical guns in exotic places. One old picture is of a King and his Court with six weeks of hunting in N. India with eleven tiger, four bear and three panther hides in the background. There's a million dollars in double rifles in the foreground.

Maker's catalogs in Vol. 1 include Joseph Lang and Son 1902 to Webley and Scott 1922 with H&H, Jeffery's, Ely Bros, Webley and Scott and the Gun Trade Hand Book of 1906 taking up a total of 485 large format pages.

Volume 2 has catalogs from Purdey, Westley Richards, Lancaster, Gibbs, Greener, BSA, G&S Holloway, Midland Gun Co, Rigby and Walter Locke & Co for a total of just over 500 pages.

The prices are great indicators of how the market looked at that time and comparisons can be made.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:24 PM
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I'm pleased to say some of them are still in the business and we have a number of new boys on the block making superb shotguns and rifles.
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:44 PM
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Sus,

Do you know how commonly apprentices move on to open their own business over there? That happens with chef's all the time (i.e., opening their own restaurants, not gunsmithies), and it occurred to me traditional skilled hand making of guns would lend itself to that kind of propagation where the market can sustain it.
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Old 01-15-2017, 04:50 PM
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According to these and other books about the gun industry, the small shops were the labor pool and the 'name brands' contracted with those shops for every detail of a gun. There were manufacturers like Webley and Scott and BSA, but Hollands might be paying a hundred different contractors to build a double rifle or their rough parts.

James Purdey was an apprentice to Manton and Watson was an apprentice to Dickson but Dickson first worked for Mortimer, I think it was. I have a list of 'gunmakers' in Birmingham England in 1923 with just over 800 names on it.
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Old 01-16-2017, 06:29 AM
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Holland's approach is interesting. If you need to supply a hand made gun in quantity, you need a lot of hands.

A friend of mine had a military contract to retrofit computer keyboards with filters to prevent radio receivers from being able to gather information about what was being typed from their radiation. He just needed to add in a bunch of tiny little chokes to the key lines, so he trained a cadre of housewives in how to wind the chokes by hand and others on how to install them in the keyboards at home. In this way he met production without building a facility, only to have to close it again after the job was done. He knew future keyboard purchases would be already made this way by robots.
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Old 01-16-2017, 10:08 AM
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The small, dispersed specialty shops that supply big manufacturers is why Japan was fire bombed. The factories were nothing but assembly points and could be done just about anywhere.

I visited the shop of John Roberts when I went to England and Scotland buying guns for a client. He had a staff of four stockers and a lady doing metal polishing of Spanish sidelocks probably from AYA but un-marked. They would become "English doubles" with somebody's name on it and Brit proofs. It's really no different than buying a fine Churchill double and learning it's really an inexpensive Webley and Scott dressed up as a Churchill. THEN, you see a 10 ga. double Churchill that looks like it was engraved by kitchen implement but it has the Churchill name and Spanish proofs. The same goes for Rigby. If buying a Rigby it is IMportant to know who owned the company at the time it was built.
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Old 01-16-2017, 11:27 AM
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Buying in actions in the white and then finishing and fitting and putting the makers name on has become the norm over here. I believe there are one or two relatively small businesses making the whole gun from scratch, but even then they may be sourcing their small parts, springs etc, from individual artisans who make just that part, way similar to the late 1800, early 1900s, when the Gun Quarter in Birmingham was a warren of alleyways and stair cases leading to small cell like workshops.
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