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#575502 - 07/13/20 03:01 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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=========================================================================================
Changing date of occupancy of 315 Oxford St. from January 1859 to 01 August 1858


In looking to try to determine when London gunmakers actually began to advertise center-break breech-loaders in the newspapers, some interesting data turned up. So far it looks like H.Holland and Reilly were the earliest, Sep-Oct 1856 (and the Holland advertisement might relate to a needle gun, making Reilly the earliest to actually advertise in "The Field" for a center-break breech loader). See Stephen Nash's separate pinfire line:

But in the process a search of the UK newspaper database - https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk -was done again, after a couple of years of non-subscription, for Reilly in 1858-59. Millions of pages have been added and new advertisements have been posted. As a result, the date of occupancy of 315 Oxford Street (with the fifty yards shooting gallery) by Reilly has been moved back 6 months from mid-January 1859 to 01 August 1858.

Top: . . . . . . .24 July 1858, "The Field."
Bottom:. . . .07 Aug 1858, "The Field."



The history will be updated shortly. The Serial Number chronology may not need much modification; the new date for occupying 315 Oxford St. sure makes the Prince Patent SN 10811, with "Oxford Street" on the Rib, dated Fall 1858, now totally logical. And this even earlier occupancy of "The Manufactory" to surging orders for breech-loaders pushes back the date of systematic and sustained production of said. This change, however may effect the chronology of the case/trade labels - it's time to update that post in any event.

(Edit: History and Chronologies have been edited).


Edited by Argo44 (07/16/20 11:12 PM)
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#575897 - 07/18/20 10:44 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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==================================================================
Reilly 14983 and the Lancaster "Base Fire" action


Stephen Nash's incredibly interesting historical line on the early origin of pin-fires,
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubb...;gonew=1#UNREAD
led to a review of some 1860's Reilly's. The most interesting of all perhaps is 12boreman's 8 bore Reilly SxS shotgun, SN 14983, with both "New Oxford Street" and "Rue Scribe Paris" on the rib...the earliest extant Reilly with both the London and Paris addresses..making it serial-numbered surely circa February-March 1868. See P.16 in this line.

The key parts of the gun are the unique hammers and center-fire system:


In Diggory Hadoke's Vintagegunjournal on-line, there is this article about Lancaster:
https://www.vintageguns.co.uk/magazine/ace-of-base-fire

The article discusses the well-known Lancaster "base fire" center-break, breech-loading system from the late 1850's, and the failure of a superior design because of greed - he wanted to monopolize the sale of cartridges for his system.

Take a look at the "base-fire" Lancaster system. Does that not look something like the action on 12boreman's 8 bore Reilly made in 1868?



12boreman's gun is surely unique...a Lancaster "base-fire" design turned into a center-fire. What an interesting time in the history of gun-making.

And everyone supposes that with the Daw center-fire patent of 1861 (from the Frenchman Pottet), or even more significantly the
.. 1) 1865 breaking of the Daw center-fire ammunition patent by Eley, and
.. 2) the 1866 revolutionary cartridge/shell primers introduced by American Berdan and a few months later by Edward Mounier Boxer in UK,
. that center-fires just immediately took over the market. Not so. Pin fires continued to dominate up to about 1872.



Edited by Argo44 (07/19/20 09:58 AM)
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#575945 - 07/19/20 07:49 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Cyril Adams' comment on the Reilly history


Another of Cyril Adams' Reilly pigeon guns was just advertised on Gunsinternational, the 4th such gun I've seen. I sent the advertiser a note about the dating of the gun and a copy of the Reilly history. I've just received this email from Mr. Adams himself:

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, 3:07:29 PM EDT, Cyril Adams wrote:

Mr. Williams:
Thank you for your exhaustive and well-written history of REILLY. You have produced a much-needed work which will be studied by students of English Guns and Rifles for both knowledge and pleasure.
Good job, Mr. Williams ..........Cyril Adams


This is the ultimate flattery...Cyril Adams is a legendary shot and an acknowledged expert on English SxS's. And from my communication with him he is a gracious, consummate gentleman of the old school.

------------------------------------------
Here are the four Reilly's in my database used by Mr. Adams....some discussed before - I believe the first two were his shooting guns; the latter two were guns he restored:

23574 - No mention of name. 12 bore; Shotgun SxS; Side lever, Pigeon gun, third bite, hammer gun. Cyril Adams gun with steel barrels and Briley chokes...Weight 8 lbs built by Reilly in late Fall 1881 for the 1882 season Hurlingham specs for pigeon guns - weight limited to 8 lbs.


24534 - E.M. Reilly & Co., (address not mentioned). 12 bore SxS Shotgun pigeon gun; top lever, hammer gun. Use by Cyril Adams; steel barrels, Briley chokes, weight 7lbs 8ozs built in Fall 1882 for the 1883 pigeon shooting season to the new Hurlingham rules limiting pigeon guns to 7lbs 8oz.


25519 - E.M. Reilly & Co., 16 New Oxford St & rue Scribe, Paris. 12 bore SxS shotgun. Top lever, BLNE. A&D use #3976 Used by Mr. Cyril Adams. weight 7lbs 6oz, Damascus barrels, concave rib...Just offered for sale on Gunsinternational: https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-f...un_id=101480055


33922 - E.M. Reilly & Co., (address not mentioned). 12ga. Shotgun SxS side lock ejector. A Cyril Adams gun.




Edited by Argo44 (07/31/20 09:43 PM)
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#576374 - 07/25/20 10:24 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
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Loc: McLean, Virginia
===========================================================
An slight hiccup with Internet Gun Club


In June I posted the history of Reilly on the Internet Gun Club forum. I recently subscribed to the site for a year and discovered a disappointing reply implying my "history" had been plagiarized from the Internet Gun Club history of Reilly written in 2002 which was "copyrighted."

The IGC history is ok...I had never read it before except a version posted on a UK internet help site. However, it has 20 errors in it, many of them major. The important point in the IGC history, however is that it also concluded, as I did independently, that Reilly only serial numbered guns he made.

Which means of course that IGC experts were convinced in 2002 that Reilly made his own guns. .

The disappointing aspect of this academic kerfuffle, besides the scurrilous allegation, is that the gun scholars on IGC (there is a tremendous amount of scholarly information on the site) let disinformation about Reilly be disseminated for 18 years by historians, writers, auction houses, without challenging it, or without challenging the texts of Boothroyd, etc.

Sorry for the venting (and it's admittedly petty)...but the allegation rankled.

(Heck, the passive inaction on Reilly rankles...why have expertise if it's squirreled away and nobody says anything? I've been emailing auction houses, museums, gun dealers, gun writers, magazines . . .for two years and fighting off yobs at the same time)


Edited by Argo44 (07/29/20 10:05 PM)
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#576376 - 07/25/20 10:35 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
Posts: 1637
Loc: McLean, Virginia
========================================================================================
UK gun maker Reuben Hambling allegedly worked for EM Reilly in mid 1880"s


Returning to the IGC, on Stephen Nash's amazing line on pin-fire game guns, there was this statement from the IGC history of gun-maker Reuben Hambling:
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=576169#Post576169

"As there is both a New Bailey Street and a New Bexley Street, there is no way of knowing if the paper made an error, or if Reuben Hambling moved from one location to another. He didn’t stay long in Manchester and later worked for E. M. Reilly & Co. in London, and finally in Ashford, in Kent. Reuben Hambling died in 1891."

There is no footnoting to the IGC history. However, London postal records record Reuben Hambling as living in Paddington, London from 1884-86, less than a mile from Reilly's 315 Oxford Street work-shop. The question has been asked, "who worked for Reilly." Names are slowly being filled in. (I'll try to get the reference to the above IGC post). Whatever, if Reuben Hambling worked for Reilly, it's unlikely he was just polishing counter tops.

Voting records for Paddington, London 1884-85, Reuben Hambling:


And by the way, the 1861 census lists him as a gun-maker living in Middlesex, London, age 20, married to Mary A; born in Blarkent, Devon.. Wouldn't be surprised to find he worked for Reilly at that time:


Edited by Argo44 (07/26/20 07:09 PM)
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#576684 - 07/31/20 01:44 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
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===============================================================
SN 10641 - Possibly now the oldest extant Reilly center-break gun (to be confirmed)


Yesterday through Diggory Hadoke, I was contacted by an American gunsmith Dan Hopping of Raleigh, NC who is evaluating a collection owned by Mr. Landon Watts, of Raleigh. Amongst them is a Reilly hammer gun SN 10641.
-- The gun was originally a pin-fire converted to center fire (firing pins missing). It apparently is a Lefaucheux-Lang style single bite receiver. The under-lever appears to be in the Beringer under-the-trigger-guard style.
-- 28" Damascus barrels (barrels may have been cut back 2"? 13 & 14 bore (on the barrels) - probably 12 bore chambers but not yet measured; chambered for 2 1/2" shells;
-- "S. Breeden" is on the action (a name he has previously found on a 1850's Westley-Richards.)
-- highly-engraved,
-- excellent stock

The serial number is found on the forearm, the water-table, the locks, and along the tang behind the trigger guard (the last quite worn). This gun is 14 serial numbers earlier than the New Zealand gun SN 10655 and like the New Zealand gun also probably numbered in March 1858.

There are difficulties for the chronology.

1) The name/address on the rib and action is "E.M. Reilly & Co., New Oxford Street, London.". "E.M. Reilly & Co," to my knowledge did not begin to be used until October 1859 - the name should have been "Reilly", "Reilly & Co." or (like 10655) simply "E.M. Reilly."

2). The barrel has Birmingham proofs dated to the 1850's (NFI). No serial numbered Reilly with original barrels has Brum proofs to my knowledge. Edit: 13132 - Terry's Patent gun - dated per chart late 1863 (see previous post) has Birmingham proof mark.

3) There is a name on the water-table/action flats
"S.Breeden"...apparently the action maker.

Following are pictures of the gun. This gun is obviously a difficult one to put into the date-chart. If someone could analyze the action, it might shed some light on it. (I'm wondering if it were one of those guns modified extensively? E.M Reilly & Co,. should not be there on that serial number - unless maybe it were a muzzle loader modified later to a break-action gun with new stock, engraving and rib....a lot to speculate about). And am very curious about the Brum proofs. (about the only explanation I can come up with is the gun was sitting around for a couple of years...a guy needed a gun, so Reilly put the number on an engraved the rib and side plates on an outsourced gun - I'd bet UK gunsmiths could come up with all sorts or reasons a March 1858 SN suddenly appearing on an 1860 gun...








If that action were indeed made in Birmingham in March 1858, it's a lot earlier than any analysis done on center-break Birmingham guns. My feeling is it's an 1860 gun...and the SN somehow got on there. To be further investigated.


Edited by Argo44 (08/06/20 11:11 PM)
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#576900 - 08/03/20 09:53 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
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============================================================================================================
1867 Reilly/Purdey dust-up


This post is to address a story (reported by several authors) about Reilly and Purdey dating from around the time of the Paris Universelle in 1867, where Reilly won the show (and his cockiness was running at full throttle).

“In 1866 (James Purdey) had a lively correspondence with Mr. E.M. Reilly, Gun Manufacturer, of 502 New Oxford Street, who was alleged to have told a customer that Purdey farmed out their guns to him (Reilly) to build.” (Purdey’s: The Guns and The Family by Richard Beaumont)

Purdey responded with a letter, “A gentleman was in your shop in Oxford Street and was shown two guns both of which were representated as being made by you. The price of one was 20£ the other 40 guineas and the difference in price was accounted for by the person who showed them saying that ‘one had been proved and stamped by Purdey for which you had to pay him. Now as you know that the foregoing statement is not only perfecty untrue, but malicious and injurious to my trade and reputation, I must request that you will give me an explanation..”

This above quote is from Donald Dallas’ book but is excerpted from John Cambell’s DGJ article in Spring 2015. The letter was also mentioned to me in an email from Purdey historian Dr. Nick Harlow. John in his article has some analysis that ultimately comes down to explaining the bruhaha as a misunderstanding dealing in patent payments. (The other articles mentioning this confrontation usually assumed Reilly did not build guns, only marketed them and thus concentrated on who might have built that pin-fire....and pin-fire it almost certainly was at that date...and the chain of patent payments, etc.).

However, based on research above, here is another take:

1) It’s possible that Reilly was making guns in the white for the trade in the 1860’s…he had 5 major streams of revenue coming into the company; and two large workshops. He was making 1000 Green Brothers breech loaders a year at the time in addition to his serial numbered guns, etc. There are several reports that he was making for the trade at the time.

2). Reilly was perfectly capable of making such claims about Purdey guns, whether true or not, and in fact gloried in undercutting “the establishment.” Here is part of that awful poem from this time period which says exactly what Purdey claimed the salesman told the customer – i.e. the Reilly guns were “exactly the same” (as the expensive stuff).

A place-beyond all we in London know
To Messrs. E.M. Reilly & Co.
What other houses charge sixty-five pounds
For, and keep you four or five months (which astounds),
In waiting for; one exactly the same
For which only £45 they claim —
Having it ready too in thirty days
Or less, for which they merit highest praise
Exactly the same I’ve already said
The Gun shall be, by my Art-Heroes made,



Edited by Argo44 (08/06/20 11:09 PM)
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#576972 - 08/04/20 05:44 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Steve Nash Offline
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Registered: 07/02/14
Posts: 276
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Good story. My understanding is that if a gun was built to another maker's patent, it would either involve purchasing the action in the white from the patent holder, or building it and then having the patent holder inspect the action and grant/apply a patent use number. I've always wondered how this would work in practice, and what payments would be made for such an inspection.

For instance, if Reilly built a gun using Purdey's double-bite snap-action design, would it require Purdey inspecting the action for the approval, and presumably the added royalty/inspection cost would ultimately be paid by the Reilly client? I'm also presuming that a Reilly-built Purdey-patent gun would be cheaper than buying the same pattern gun from Purdey's.

I can see how having a desirable patent could earn the holder good money, and this fuelled the rush of breech-loader designs in the 1850s and 1860s in particular.

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#577233 - 08/07/20 08:03 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Loc: McLean, Virginia
==========================================================================================================
10641 - a second look


Re the name on the action "S.Breeden":

He is likely identical to Samuel Breeden alt. spelling Breedon:
Born in 04 May 1813. Saltey Washwood, Aston area of Birmingham, Warwickshire where lived his whole life. Believe his Father was William Breeden and Mother Mary Breeden
-- 17 Aug 1834 - Married Charlotte Lynol
-- 1849 listed in Birmingham Directory in Saltey Washwood as a “Gun Furniture Manufactuer”
-- 1851 Census – born in Shifnal, Shropshire, England, Saltley Washwood. Married to Charlottte. Son William, Margaret, Charlotte, Emma. Occupation listed as “gun furniture maker; trigger maker(? unclear).”

-- 1853 notice that Samuel Breedon of Washwood Heath, “gun furniture and revolving pistol maker” took on an apprentice named Thomas Spencer (the younger) of Washwood Heath.

-- 1855 listed in Birmingham Directory in Saltey Washwood as a “pistol and rifle sight maker”
-- 1861 Census. Living in Saltey Washwood area. Wife Charlotte. 3 daughters Emma, Charlotte, Luisa. Occupation listed as “Breech Loading action manufacturer and master employing 8 men”

-- 1862 listed in Birmingham directory as a “Gun Furniture maker” located at Washwood heath

-- 1862 listed in Birmingham directory as living on Washwood heath
-- 1862 listed in Slater’s Royal National Commercial Directory under “Gun, Rifle and Pistol Makers” as “Breech loading” located on Washwood heath.
-- 2 July 1865 Samuel Breeden died. William Hill of Birchfield (gun maker) and John Dennison of Birmingham (Confectioner) were executers of the will. His effects were worth under £ 100. He was buried on 9 Jul 1865.

So as of the 1861 census (in April) Breeden was indeed making breech loading actions. He must have been one of the first in Birmingham to do this.

From Stephen Nash's pin-fire line, Stephen comments that the gun is an early UK Beringer type under-lever. The fences are relatively shallow:
The under-lever is filled-in in front of the trigger guard which is unusual.

However, there is a drawing of a Reilly in a book published in early 1860 of a similar under-lever with that space filled-in - the sketch probably as made shortly after the July 1859 "The Field" trials...note the name on the sketch "Reilly & Co.":


My opinion: This serial numbered Reilly was not made by him...and is the exception to the rule that Reilly Reilly only serial numbered guns he made.
-- The Barrels are proofed in Birmingham
-- The action is from a Birmingham action maker.
I do believe Reilly engraved the gun (very familiar style), and stocked it (very familiar wood used). It also is an early pin-fire but not from March 1858 which the serial number would date it to- more likely dated to early 1860 or 1861... that would explain it having "E.M. Reilly & Co." (It would help to have more information on when exactly Breeden began to make breech-loader pin-fire actions. The 1861 Census is the earliest hard evidence available).
-- If anyone has more information on the introduction of breech-loading action manufacturing in Birmingham and dates - help would be appreciated.

How the serial number got on it is a question and a mystery. Perhaps the gun were ordered, the serial number recorded, but payment never made in March 1858..or perhaps the buyer put a deposit down for a muzzle loader then changed his mind...then two years later the buyer came back and was given an assembled gun and the SN and rib name/address and the engraving finished off at that time.

Lots of scenarios but one just cannot place that gun being made in March 1858. That seems just too early for Birmingham pin-fire work. And it's certainly 18 months before the introduction of the name "E.M. Reilly & Co." (October 1859).






Edited by Argo44 (08/08/20 10:32 PM)
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#577495 - 08/10/20 08:47 PM Re: E.M. Reilly; History; Chronology; Serial Numbers [Re: Argo44]
Argo44 Offline
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Registered: 02/21/16
Posts: 1637
Loc: McLean, Virginia
This will update the small format Reilly label chart on p.44 with current understanding of dates of the labels and occupancy of the buildings. The labels are not definitive, obviously, but can provide clues to help in dating guns.









[/URL]


Edited by Argo44 (08/10/20 08:51 PM)
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