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#587503 12/18/20 09:36 AM
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eeb Offline OP
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In his excellent book on the Birmingham gun trade, Douglas Tate describes William Ford as a barrel borer. Would this mean he made the barrels, or does it mean he took in barrels by another maker and choke bored them? Did Ford make his guns lock, stock and barrel or did he use contractors like many did in the trade?

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I'm no help, but in 1894 "GUN-BARREL BORER"
https://books.google.com/books?id=Ax9DAAAAIAAJ&pg=PT6&lpg


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I believe I remember a Ford collectors group....

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I am not confident that a longarm wearing his name was totally made under his umbrella, but unequivocally this cat turned out some of the best tubes in the Little British Isles.


Cheers,

Raimey
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Probably a re-hash??

>>== Ford ==
It is not known when or where William Ford established his business. He came to prominence in 1875 and 1879 as a barrel maker when he won awards at the "Field" gun trials (he bored barrels for W W Greener in 1875 and Lincoln Jeffries in 1879).

There are reports that the firm occupied premises at 14 Whittall Street in about 1879, but this has not been confirmed.

Reportedly, it was in 1883 that William Ford introduced his "Eclipse" light weight shotgun (some say this was introduced in 1887 and this date may be correct). This gun weighed 4lbs and used 1oz of shot (some say it weighed 5lbs).

In 1884 the firm was recorded at 4a (or 4 1/2) Weaman Row, St Mary's, Birmingham. In 1885 they moved to the "Eclipse Works", 23 Loveday Street. In 1885 the firm widened their sphere of activities into the manufacture of barrelled actions.

In 1887 the firm was granted patent No. 8841 for a cocking and ejector mechanism, this was followed by two further patents for similar mechanisms in 1888 (Nos. 2622 and 9348). This was when they commenced trading as gunmakers, selling retail as well as to the trade.

In 1889 the firm moved to 15 St Mary's Row, which they also called the Eclipse Gun Works. In about 1900 a company named Birmingham Gun & Cycle Co occupied part of 15 St Mary's Row, this may have been formed by William Ford to use spare capacity in his gun manufacturing business, it appears to have been replaced in about 1920 by Birmingham Gun Co. From 1906, workshops at the back of 15 St Mary's Row were occupied by Charles Chambers who did work for William Ford, an association that was to last until after the Second World War.

In 1890 William Ford patented his Try-Gun, the first of its kind. By this time the firm had opened shooting grounds at Small Heath in Birmingham and at Clayton in Manchester, and advertised their proficiency in gun fitting.

In 1898 the firm moved to 4 Price Street but they retained the 15 St Mary's Row premises. The Price Street premises appear to have been used up to 1948 amongst other things, for cartridge manufacture, they were retained until 1953.

In 1909 William Ford died and his son, A F Ford took over the business.

A F Ford died in 1946.<<<<<

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubb...true#Post162262

Serbus,

Raimey

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Originally Posted By: eeb
In his excellent book on the Birmingham gun trade, Douglas Tate describes William Ford as a barrel borer. Would this mean he made the barrels, or does it mean he took in barrels by another maker and choke bored them? Did Ford make his guns lock, stock and barrel or did he use contractors like many did in the trade?


I think you are missing the point of the Birmingham guntrade. Very, very few makers in Birmingham and London made all the parts of every gun they sold with their name on. Some had large factories and certainly did a vast majority of the work in house but most had their speciality and were sensible enough to stick to that area of expertise.
Nearly everybody bought in their barrels from specialist barrel makers and spring and lockmakers were a breed apart.
Ford's expertise was in boring, chambering and choking barrels to give fantastic, even patterns of a specific concentration at specific range. He wasn't known for fabulous stocking, engraving or any of the other specialisms of the trade so although he may have people in his firm that could do all those things he would have cut his cloth to fit the order.
If it was economically sensible to make every last bit of a specific gun (maybe business was slow and he had men to pay), I have no doubt he would and could have done so.
However if business was good and the order books full, he would undoubtedly farm out the work that didn't play to his strengths.
Such was the way of the UK guntrade in the C19th and still is.

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I have two William Fords. Both 10ga chambers now. One is a chamberless 12 that was rechambered to 10ga (started with 12ga chambers and 10ga bores, now 10 and 10). The other is a chamberless 10 (8 bore barrels, 10 gauge chamber). Both were intended for brass shells.

The nicer of the two is the chamberless 10. Made post 1925. 3 1/4" chambers, proved for very stout loads (2 1/4 oz). Extensive engraving that doesn't align with its design as a heavy waterfowl gun. Can't imagine an English salt marsh as a great place for this nice a gun, but I guess if you have the money to spare, you might as well as have something nice to look at while you're waiting for the birds.

Dr Charles Heath is the inventor or lead advocate of chamberless shotguns. More can be found in this article, part of which is shared here: The concept of the all-brass shell attracted the attention in England of Dr. Charles J. Heath, at one time president of the British Waterfowlers’ Association. Dr. Heath developed two precepts of shotgunning science that, in differing forms, are still with us today. One was a “chamberless gun” that might be thought of as an early attempt at backboring. Dr. Heath reasoned that with the thin brass tube shotshell there was no need for the heavy forcing cone required of a gun shooting the paper shells of the day and that it could be essentially removed and the bore enlarged to much the same size as the interior of the brass shell. Of course, such a shell would require much larger wads and, for waterfowlers, hold more powder and shot. At the same time such loads would not be suitable, perhaps even unsafe, for use in a gun of standard dimensions. Few chamberless guns, as Dr. Heath envisioned, were ever built.

In addition to his interest in shooting and hunting, he was also credited with introducing the use of stainless steel surgical instruments to the operating theater.

https://loaddata.com/Article/LoadDevelopment/Handloading-Brass-Shotshells-Pt-1/126

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=276052&page=3

BTW, apologies to the OP...my post has drifted far from the question at hand!

Last edited by CJF; 12/20/20 12:14 AM.
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I understand how the Birmingham guntrade worked/works; my interest is in who did what. It seems William Ford could build a gun, but his strength was as a barrel borer. He was part of the trade that relied on the contract system and he probably paid more attention to finishing the barrels than most since that was his specialty. My question about William Evans had more to do with what did the customer get since Evans was “from Purdeys “. If his guns were sourced from the trade what did he do to them that reflected his Purdey training? Or was it just marketing?

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