Found in The Ironmonger – Autumn 1896 Issue
The last issue in September of The Ironmonger and Metal Trades Advertiser was often the most important issue of the year. It was the biggest and contained the most ads. This issue each year also had this fancy colored cover.
This September 26, 1896 issue of The Ironmonger lists Arms and Ammunition trade marks, brands or special names for the following companies:
Lane Bros., Ammunition for Air Guns
Hay, Merricks & Co., Limited, Gunpowder
F. Joyce & Co. Ltd., Manufacturers of Sporting Ammunition; Percussion Caps, Cartridges and Gun Wads
Eley Bros., Lim., Sporting, Military, and Revolver Cartridges, Percussion Caps and Gunwads
G. Kynoch & Co. Limited, Sporting and Military Ammunition
The King’s Norton Metal Co., Limited, Rolled Metals, Ammunition for Small Arms, Quick Firing and other Guns
F. Joyce & Co., Ltd. advertises that they are “The Oldest House in the Trade.” They also claim to be the world’s largest manufacturer of percussion caps! Their ad features military cartridges and sporting ammunition loaded with black powder or smokeless powder. They insinuate that you are not up with the times if you are not using their ammunition!
The Ironmonger often grouped ads of like companies or products together. This page has a half-page ad by The Schultze Gunpowder Co., Lim. and one by The Smokeless Powder Co., LTD. You can see in the previous Joyce ad that they mention both of these companies as ones whose powder they use in their ammunition.
Eley Bros., Lim. had a full-page ad showcasing their military and revolver cartridges. They also take a large portion of their page the advertise their “pegamoid patent” waterproof cartridge case. This case had 5 layers of paper and was bonded by a water-resistant adhesive. Eley licensed this patent from an English paper-maker and had the sole rights to it. They claim you could leave it outside on the damp ground all night and it would not swell or be effected.
This issue also contained a full-page ad by Wholesale Arms and Ammunition Trading Company. Wholesale Arms and Ammunition Trading Company did business at 40, St. Andrew’s Hill, Queen Victoria Street, E.C. and was owned at this time by Messrs. McCarthy and Thomas. Arms & Explosives had the following to say about them in the August 1867 issue. (Arms & Explosives may have been overly positive due to erroneously claiming they had ceased business a few years prior. )
WHOLESALE ARMS AND AMMUNITION TRADING COMPANY.—We have received an excellently got up catalogue which has been issued by this firm for circulation among the trade. It consists of 100 pages all closely filled with illustrations and particulars of the different lines of goods dealt with by them. A selection of different forms of double-barrel sporting guns occupies the first few pages of the catalogue, and allowing for the large discount to which the list prices are subject, it will be seen that they are fair representatives of export and retail weapons. They appear to have the design of good substantial guns, which, while selling at a reasonable price, will prove serviceable to the purchaser. Combined rifle and shot guns, express rifles, and military rifles are all i presented, and the prices throughout show that the Company is relying on a large trade to cover their expenses. A number of cheap revolvers are illustrated at length, and these are followed by air guns, walking stick guns, loading accessories, and a large variety of leather and other goods, all connected more or less directly with the needs of shooting men. We notice that the policy has been largely adopted through the catalogue of illustrating standard makes of well-known specialities without giving the name of the manufacturer, in one case, at any rate, the article being rechristened under a new name. This is no doubt a wise policy in the case of a firm doing a large general trade, as they often introduce a class of goods to a new market, and run the risk of the buyer going direct to the manufacturer, possibly gaining some ad- vantage in price sufficient to divert the orders from the firm which has had the trouble of first introducing the specialities. Loaded sporting cartridge cases occupy the last pages in the book, and a speciality is made of loaded ammunition at extremely low prices.
Frank Dyke & Co. took out a half-page ad. They claim to be “The Best and Cheapest House in the Trade ABSOLUTELY.” The bottom half of the page is an ad for The Abbey Improved Chilled Shot Co. Limited with a nice table showing how many pellets of their shot are in each ounce.
Guns, Ammunition & Sporting Requisites
In this volume a few issues earlier there was a nice article on Guns, Ammunition & Sporting Requisites. This column is regularly featured in various issues and gives news and updates on guns and ammunition.
This issue talks about some new gun designs by Martin Pulvermann & Co., of 20 Minories, E.C. Their key new introduction was the “Elita,” a light-weight gun for ladies and young sportsmen.
Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company also introduce a new ladies revolver with no recoil and just as good as the model that police use.
Thomas, McCarthy & Co’s company, The Wholesale Arms and Ammunition Trading Company, report that sales are very strong and people really like their “Shamrock” brand of cartridges.
Thomas Bland & Sons “make special weapons for all kind of sport, and among the leading lines for heavy game is the .303 self-ejecting hammerless rifle.”
There is a long article about Curtis & Harvey‘s “Amberite” brand of smokeless spowder. They introduce their new “Amberite No. 2 rifle powder” with an intended use in Martini-Henry, The Express, and other sporting rifles of caliber .400 and upwards.
John Hall & Son (Limited) also report increased demand for their smokeless sporting powder, “Cannonite.”
Frank Dyke & Co. (Limited) introduce a new cheap green-case to compete with foreign importations. They also report that they exported 405,000,000 percussion caps in 1895
They also talk about “Shot-gun Rifleite” powder. There’s an article on storing nitro-compounds and an article on how Kynoch make cordite.
How Cordite is Made – An Extract from The Ironmonger, August 29, 1896
Describing a visit to the cordite works of Kynoch and Co. (limited), Arklow, a Pall Mall Gazette writer says: “We mount a slight elevation, and from thence we have a fine view of the entire works. The scene is picturesque enough, and somewhat resembles a miniature camp. The sandy plain is dotted with little houses, not unlike summer-houses, painted in different colours. They are pretty, and seem harmless enough: but round each there is a mound of sand, with poles driven in it to keep it firm, and covered with sods of grass. In case an explosion occurs the damage is practically to the area enclosed by the mound of sand. The blue houses are gelignite magazines. Guncotton is dried in the yellow houses, which are heated by hot-air pipes. A little north of these is a small zinc-covered house at the end of a range. Here the velocity of the cordite is measured and registered by a young girl. East of this is a huge mound, between 60 and 70 feet high, from which great lead pipes, covered with wood and of different elevations, run. Through these pipes nitro-glycerine passes until it reaches the lowest pipe. At the end of this is a tap, and round about I noticed a number of curiously-shaped cups, which my companion explained were used for testing the nitro-glycerine. ‘Once a fortnight,’ he went on, ‘we run the waste into that valley yonder and torpedo it. It would be dangerous otherwise.’ From this we turned, and, proceeding in a westerly direction from the store, through the deep sand, which had by this time filled my shoes, came to a continuous row of houses painted red, and lying in a deep valley between parallel sand mounds. Each end of this valley was closed by an iron wicket, and through it ran a line of narrow wooden rails. A small box-like truck stood on the rails apposite one of the houses, and in this the cordite was packed in cases and taken down to the magazines. The walls of these houses are of a peculiar specially-prepared paper, stretched on a light framework so as to offer the least resistance in the event of an explosion taking place. I expressed my surprise at the number of young girls employed. ‘Yes; there are a great number of them. You see, the Arklow girls are famous knitters, and their fingers are supple. They are, therefore, the best mixers of cordite pulp. They earn from 6s. to 20s. a week. The glycerine is poured over the guncotton, and then mixed in the hands. The cotton is just like flour. After that it is put in the mixing machine, and acetone added.’ At this moment the superintendent of the cordite department came up and took us into the machine-room. The strong chemical smell which came from the machine when he removed the cap and displayed the pulp was almost overpowering. The pulp, as it tossed about in the machine, looked like a bran mash, but of greater consistency. It is worked for three hours and a half into a jelly, and then again for a second three hours and a half. After this it is screened through a wire gauze by hydraulic pressure, and forced through an instrument called a die, which regulates the size of the cordite. Passing from the hydraulic-room we entered another, where three little boys were rolling the cordite filaments on reels as it passed through the die. When the reels were full the cordite was taken off and cut into lengths of about 1 foot, and then arranged in cases by young girls, and, seeing the confident manner in which they handled the filaments it was difficult to believe that in them lav such an immense capacity for destruction. Only the finer filaments are rolled on reels, the thicker ones being cut by a machine into lengths as they left the die. Since the strike they have manufactured no cordite cartridges for rifles, but the finer filaments I saw were for Gatling guns, and 5 lbs. went to the charge. Of the thicker, or cannon cordite, 15 lbs. went to the charge for large cannon. In each cordite-chamber was a printed set of stringent rules. One of them, Rule 15, ran as follows — ‘Every danger-building must be closed and left on the approach of a thunderstorm, except the manager or chemist considered it unsafe or impracticable to stop the process in hand.’ I confess that I breathed more freely when I cast off my danger-boots and left this valley of the shadow of death.”