Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

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Rick Riddell 230
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:15 pm

Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by Rick Riddell 230 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:38 am

I posted this over on the doublegunshop, so far no response, so thought I Iwould try here and knock off some of the cobwebs here with a little speculation and discussion on the gun trade!


Ok so who is familiar with prefix letters before serial numbers on British trade guns? Is there a listing or reference for them? This what I know of so for:


H: Holloway
JA: Joseph Ashbury
G: Graham

I have seen an "o" but not sure who that is, possibly Osborne?
Were there any others

John 39
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by John 39 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:33 pm

Holloway & Sons and G & S Holloway used an H prefix on guns they made for others but not on guns they made and sold themselves. But not all H prefix guns were made by the Holloway firms, Charles Osborne used an H prefix but the reason is not known, his guns were definitely not Holloway guns. William Powell also used an H prefix but this was for their recent Heritage range of guns.

J A stands for Joseph Asbury (not Ashbury) and these initials can be found on several makes of gun e.g. Charles Rosson.

George Gibbs used B, C and E suffixes, B guns were made by the trade, C and E were made by Gibbs but the difference between them is not known.

I M Crudgington used A & B suffixes to denote grades. Edwinson Green used A & B suffixes possibly because of duplications of numbers.

Let's not talk about Greener and Westley Richards - every letter of the alphabet in front of the number and behind.

O will not be Osborne.

G Graham - never heard of him, probably Scottish! Not a trade maker!

Trutta
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Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:39 pm

Re: Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by Trutta » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:02 pm

John, thank you, this board is absolutely amazing!!

John 39
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by John 39 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:03 am

Having had a sleepless night trying to remember what, where and when - I remembered! Then I had to find it! Which I eventually did! I will email to you "An Index of British Gun Lock Makers".

Somewhere else I have a list of makers whose initials have been found over time inside gun locks. I hope to find that, probably not before Christmas.

John 39
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by John 39 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:29 pm

I have found some notes on initials and trade marks which might be useful to members:

A & T Adams & Tait
H W Harry Wheeler (London barrel filer 1930-1940)
J A (on action) Joseph Asbury or John Aston (1818-1822)
G L George Lane (1930-1940)
C A (on barrels) Charles Allport

Wheatsheaf logo Joseph Whitworth

Image of an elephant head & trunk Greener

N, M and S prefixes to 3 digit serial numbers Westley Richards war work

Image of a target (bull, inner and outer) Ward & Sons (Central Gun Works)

L & S Leonard & Sons
H S and F S Henry and Frank Squires (John Robertson)

Image of a Hammer Henry Parsons (patentee of chopper lumps)

C L Charles Lancaster (barrel makers to James Purdey)
W F William Fullerd (barrel makers to James Purdey)
T E Thomas Evans (barrel makers to James Purdey)
T P Thomas Parkin (barrel makers to James Purdey and Thomas Boss)
I B Joseph Brazier
J G J Grainger
J P John Portlock
C A Christopher Aston
T S Thomas Smith

John 39
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by John 39 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:39 pm

Hi Rick,

I have found and emailed to you the 1849 History and Directory of Birmingham which lists, in particular, Gun Barrel Makers, These are the people whose initials might be found under the barrels of a muzzle loading and perhaps early breech loading gun. Also listed are Gun Barrel Finishers and Gun Lock Makers at that time. Gun makers are also listed but they appear in the historical database already.

Rick Riddell 230
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:15 pm

Re: Letter prefixes before serial numbers on trade guns

Post by Rick Riddell 230 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:05 pm

Yes john, I got them, what a list and thank you so much! This info really brings to light the expanse of the gun trade in the UK! It still boggles the mind, with such a profound profession back then that there are few who still practice the craft these days. I mainly have focused my passion for double guns with the American trade (easy task) and recently found in my possession a few British doubles which peeked my interest. Now I'm totally fascinated with the trade, and from I have been told "Answers only lead to more questions".

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