Three Decades of Advertising Maund & Millichamp’s Self-Acting Field Clock Gun

1893-03-18 Hereford-Journal


Charles Millichamp

Charles Millichamp of Presteign, Radnorshire, Wales was a watchmaker who owned a fishing tackle shop. Over a few decades he made significant use of advertising to inform people about his new endeavors. One of his earliest ads was for his business, County Sporting Tackle House, where he advertised his custom trout & grayling flies as well as all kinds of fishing tackle that he sold.

1885-05-08 - Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser
1885-05-08 – Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser

In 1888 Millichamp worked with William Maund who was a landowner that lives about 6 miles away in the village of Shobdon, Herefordshire, England to invent a new mechanical scarecrow in the form of a self-acting field clock gun. They patented this new invention on May 3, 1888. You can read more about the patent and see high quality images of my example of this gun in my earlier article.

Maund and Millichamp very quickly began getting press and reviews written about their invention in various publications. You will notice that sometimes the review mentions both inventors and other times it mentions only one or the other.

1888-06-20 - Derby Mercury
1888-06-20 – Derby Mercury

An apparatus has been made by Mr. Millichamp, watchmaker, Presteign, for the purpose of scaring crows. It’s very ingenious in its arrangement. The prominent part of the apparatus is a wooden representation of a sportsman with a gun in his hands. At his feet, enclosed in a water-tight box, is the motive, in the shape of a strongly constructed piece of clockwork, which causes a drum containing cartridges to revolve, and a hammer to fall upon a pin in connection with the cartridge. A loud explosion results from this mechanical striking of the cartridges. Any set duration between each discharge can be regulated. As the time approaches for the hammer to fall the gun is mechanically raised into a shooting position, and drops immediately after the cartridge has been exploded. The apparatus will be very useful to farmers. They are at present debarred from employing boys of school age to keep crows off the young crops, and this contrivance will enable them to preserve their crops from destruction at a very small cost without running the risk of prosecution under the Education Acts.
1888-06-26 - Tenbury Wells Advertiser
1888-06-26 – Tenbury Wells Advertiser

Messrs. Maund and Millichamp exhibited their self-acting field clock gun, which attracted much attention. The gun is intended for scaring birds, rabbits, foxes, &c., and seems admirably adapted for the purpose. It can be wound up so as to fire at intervals of from 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, or a shot may be fired at any given hour.
1888-06-30 - Sheffield Weekly Telegraph
1888-06-30 – Sheffield Weekly Telegraph
1888-07-14 – Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette

A MECHANICAL scarecrow has been invented. This new invention represents a man of “Sportsmanlike” appearance, standing with a gun in his hand ready to fire at the first intruder. The arm holding the gun is made to move by clockwork, which is enclosed in a strong iron box at its feet, and at a proper elevation it fires a shot louder than an ordinary gun. After the report the arm lowers. The mechanism can be regulated at the owner’s pleasure, by a regulator like a clock, and only requires to be wound up once a day. Mr. William Maund, of Shobdon, Hereford, is the inventor.

They began to show off their invention at various agricultural shows and events. Their new clock gun actually won an award at the 1888 Shropshire and West Midland Agricultural Society’s Show! Maund and Millichamp definitely were not shy in talking up their invention and actually described it as “The Wonder of The World” at this show. They also began telling people how this device would save them £50 a year.

1888-07-25 – Eddowes’s Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire, and the Principality of Wales

What was described as ”The Wonder of the World” was on view at stand 71. It was Messrs. Maund and Millichamp’s Self-acting Field Clock Gun, by using which £50 a year, we are assured,  is to be saved. The invention is ingenious in the extreme and as all farmers are anxious to protect their crops from the ravages of birds and other game they will do well to seriously consider whether it would not be a distinct advantage to possess themselves of one of these remarkable automatic “rifles.”

People even wrote in to newspapers telling others about this device.

1888-09-08 - Field
1888-09-08 – Field

Sirs, — I think the following descriptions of a new kind of scarecrow may interest some of your readers. It is a very ingenious invention, and has just been brought out and patented by Messrs Maund and Millichamp, of Presteign Radnorshire, who call it the “field clock gun.” It consists of the figure of a man holding a gun, natural size; at his feet is a metal waterproof box containing clockwork, which fires at intervals a No. 16 pin-fire cartridge. These cartridges (of which there are eight or more) are contained in a revolving cylinder. A hammer descends on the pin, exploding the charge (powder only), then gradually rising, is ready for the next shot. The intervals of firing are regulated by a kind of pendulum, which may be set from a quarter to one and a half hours, according as desired. The cartridge, on exploding, is so arranged that the force of the powder, blowing against a metal flange connected with a rod, moves the arm and gun to a horizontal position, which gives a most natural and lifelike appearance to the figure. As before mentioned, the invention is quite new, so that I have not had an opportunity of seeing how it works as regards the birds when practically applied; but I should fancy it would prove quite successful, and feel sure will be found useful as a protection to young game by scaring away foxes, &c., especially at night. Of course the cartridges can be loaded with any charge, so that for garden purposes a very small amount of powder (not to say the cap itself) would probably be quite efficacious. I understand some of these machines hive been sent out, so that if any of your correspondents have seen or tried it, it would be interesting to hear how they act in the field.
Norton Manor. Presteign. Sept. 3. 
C. Bingham Newland.

Maund and Millichamp begin taking out advertisements in newspapers for their self-acting field clock gun soon after. The first one I have found is from their sales agents for the Herefordshire district, Messrs. Perkins & Bellamy.

1888-10-25 - Ross Gazette
1888-10-25 – Ross Gazette

Their sales agents for the Bromyard and Tenbury areas gave presentations and said it would make a good Christmas present!

1889-01-03 - Bromyard News
1889-01-03 – Bromyard News

All of the rest of the ads I have found seem to be taken out directly by the company. The first few mentioned Maund but by April 1889, everything else would list Millichamp as the contact.

1889-02-02 - Hereford Journal
1889-01-05 – Hereford Journal
1889-01-26 – Hereford Journal
1889-02-02 – Hereford Journal

1889-04-06 - Hereford Journal
1889-04-06 – Hereford Journal



GENTLEMEN, —Send AT ONCE for particulars and Price to
C. Millichamp,

The Field review above received a response from a reader saying that it was “the best thing ever invented for scaring birds and other vermin.” Millichamp also included a couple ads in The Field a few months later. I guess the good free publicity paid off for their ad team!

1889-02-02 - Field
1889-02-02 – Field
“A Clock Gun for Fields and Gardens” was described in The Field of Sept 8, 1888 (No. 1863). It was patented by Messrs Maund and Millichamp, Presteign, Radnorshire. A correspondent, who had obtained one from the inventors, wrote a week later to say it was “the best thing ever invented for scaring birds and other vermin.”
1889-06-01 - Field
1889-06-01 – Field
1889-06-08 - Field
1889-06-08 – Field

That fall they received a good write-up in their local paper where they also placed an ad.

1889-07-13 - Hereford Journal
1889-07-13 – Hereford Journal
1889-07-13 - Hereford Journal
1889-07-13 – Hereford Journal (2)

Some more ads over the next year began to include customer reviews.

1889-11-09 - Wellington Journal
1889-11-09 – Wellington Journal
1889-11-16 – Wellington Journal
1890-03-22 - Sporting Gazette
1890-03-22 – Sporting Gazette
1890-07-12 - Sporting Gazette
1890-07-12 – Sporting Gazette
1889-11-02 - Hereford Journal
1889-11-02 – Hereford Journal
1890-04-02 - North British Agriculturist
1890-04-02 – North British Agriculturist
1890-05-24 - Field
1890-05-24 – Field

1891 and 1892 seemed to be a slow year for ads but they did get a couple good reviews. The first reflected on the amusement of setting this up for demonstration at a hotel which startled people. And the second gives a very amusing ready about intelligent crows!

1891-03-07 - Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press
1891-03-07 – Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press

Some amusement was caused in the White Hart Hotel, Buckingham, on Saturday afternoon, in the exhibition by Mr. Coates,  of one of Millichamps’ patent self-acting Field Clock Guns. As its name implies, it is wound up and  regulated like a clock, and loaded with 16 pinfire cartridges at one time, and it can be set at intervals from 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours or at any given hours. Its repeated explosions of course startled the unwary, and as we have said caused no little amusement and interest.
1892-06-25 - Pearson's Weekly
1892-06-25 – Pearson’s Weekly

A Scarecrow That Shoots.
It does not, as every farmer is aware, take very long for the ancient and, experienced crow to find out that the tattered dummy which stands in an idiotically unnatural attitude in the middle of a cornfield is a perfectly harmless fraud, with no terrors for any strong-minded bird, and it is with a view of striking real terror into his predatory breast that Mr. Charles Millichamp, of Presteign, Radnor, has invented his Self-acting Field Clock Gun. This is a box containing a clockwork arrangement which revolves a drum holding blank cartridges under a hammer, which strikes them at regulated intervals. A dummy sportsman, who raises and lowers his gun at the right moments, can also be attached to the apparatus, thus making the illusion much more perfect. It would be a very clever and a very strong-minded crow that would discover the trick. The prices are £2 2s. for the gun, and £2 15s. for the whole apparatus complete. It ought to be a paying investment for both farmers and game breeders, as its loud reports will scare away anything, from a fox to a field-mouse.

In 1892, G. Edward Bond, inventor of “The Invincible Cartridge,” seemed to run ads for a few months for this gun as well. Though he does not mention Millichamp as the maker in his ads it is clearly the same gun. He also refers to the gun as “The Automatic Crow Boy.”

1892-04-09 - Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal
1892-04-09 – Thetford & Watton Times and People’s Weekly Journal
1892-04-09 – Norwich Mercury
1892-05-28 – Lowestoft Journal

Millichamp also ran another ad full of testimonials in The Field. Around now he began to get competition for the first iteration of another Clock Gun invented by John Hall.

1892-06-18- Field
1892-06-18- Field

Millichamp still ran his fishing tackle shop. Though his ad now calls himself a watch, clock and gun maker!

1893-03-03 - Hereford Journal
1893-03-03 – Hereford Journal

A couple weeks later he runs an ad again for his clock gun. This is also the first time we see him refer to his company as “Field Clock Gun Works” rather than just C. Millichamp.

1893-03-18 Hereford-Journal
1893-03-18 – Hereford Journal

This photograph of a fox hunt shows Millichamp’s Field Clock Gun Works shop in Presteign

Fox Hunt with Millichamp Field Clock Gun Works sign in background
Image curtesy of Presteigne History Project

Cartridges. Cartridges.

Guns! Guns! Guns!

Save! Save! Save!

Millichamp’s next few years of ads standardize on a few ad styles. He also begins to advertise cartridges and other guns along with his clock guns. He’ll keep using the “Field Clock Gun Works” company name as well.

1893-07-15 - Hereford Journal
1893-07-15 – Hereford Journal
1896-03-06 - Brecon County Times
1896-02-14 – Brecon County Times
1896-03-06 – Brecon County Times
1893-09-30 - Hereford Journal
1893-09-30 – Hereford Journal
1896-03-31 - Essex Herald
1896-03-13 – Chelmsford Chronicle
1896-03-17 – Essex Herald
1896-03-20 – Chelmsford Chronicle
1896-03-21 – Essex Newsman
1896-03-31 – Essex Herald

A couple notable orders:

1899-06-17 - Hereford Times
1899-06-17 – Hereford Times
A Notable Order
We understand that Charles Millichamp, the inventor and manufacturer of Millichamp’s clock gun, has received an order from the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg Strelitz, Germany, for one of his guns to be sent to Germany for her son, the Hereditary Grand Duke, together with a thousand cartridges.
1902-01-31 - Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser
1902-01-31 – Leominster News and North West Herefordshire & Radnorshire Advertiser

Australian Orders for Presteign.—We are please to note that Mr. Charles Millichamp, of this town, has received orders for several of his patent field clock guns to be sent to Adelaide, Australia to Messrs. Marshal and Co.

H. Clarke & Sons of Midland Gun Works, of Leicester, advertises the Millichamp gun for a few years, but not by name.

1908-05-15 - Leicester Journal
1908-05-15 – Leicester Journal
1910-05-20 - Leicester Journal
1910-05-20 – Leicester Journal
1912-05-17 - Leicester Journal
1912-05-17 – Leicester Journal
1909-07-30 - Leicester Journal
1909-07-30 – Leicester Journal
1911-05-26 - Leicester Journal
1911-05-26 – Leicester Journal
1916-01-21 - Leicester Journal
1916-01-21 – Leicester Journal

And finally another ad by Millichamp in 1911.

1911-04-08 - Hereford Times
1911-04-08 – Hereford Times

in 1911 he gets coverage in a big, international journal. This article then gets covered in a few more smaller journals. such as the January 20, 1912 issue of Agricultural News.

1911-07-01 - The agricultural journal of the Union of South Africa
1911-07-01 – The agricultural journal of the Union of South Africa

A Clock Gun for Scaring Vermin, etc.
A correspondent has drawn our attention to what appears to be an effective, and decidedly novel, contrivance for scaring birds, rabbits, foxes, and other vermin in cultivated lands and elsewhere. This is an automatic self-acting “ field clock gun ” patented by Mr. Charles Millichamp (of Messrs. Millichamp & Son, Presteigne, Radnorshire, South Wales). The construction of the gun, it is stated, is simple, and the contrivance can be managed by a boy. It holds nine 16 pin-fire cartridges at one time, which can be set to fire at intervals from 15 minutes to 1| hours, and can be set to fire a shot at any given hour during the night or early morning by winding and setting the night before. It should be well adapted to scaring birds, etc., and would thus be particularly useful to farmers, orchardists, and nurserymen. The gun can be had either with or without the figure of a man; the price of the former is £2. 12s. Gd. net, of the latter £2. 2s. Special cartridges are obtainable at 4s. 3d. per 100, or a box of 250 cartridges, carriage paid in the British Isles, for 11s. 6d. These, of course, are prices in Great Britain.

You may notice that they refer to the company as Millichamp & Son there as well. After these next two ads, which focus on saving ones seeds and imploring seedsmen to never be without this invention, further ads will refer to the company as C. Millichamp & Son.

1911-10-21 - Hereford Times
1911-10-21 – Hereford Times
1913-02-15 - West Surrey Times
1913-02-15 – West Surrey Times
1914-05-22 - Diss Express
1914-05-22 – Diss Express
1914-05-23 – Framlingham Weekly News
1914-05-23 – Wigton Advertiser

C. Millichamp & Son

1921-09-10 - Kington Times
1921-08-27 – Kington Times
1921-09-10 – Kington Times
1921-10-29 - Kington Times
1921-10-29 – Kington Times
1921-11-19 – Kington Times

He would also begin including ads in local guides and brochures where he now advertises that he is patronized by Royalty! There is also a mention of G. Millichamp but I think this is likely a typo.

C. Millichamp & Son.
Image curtesy of Presteigne History Project
G. Millichamp & Sons
Image curtesy of Presteigne History Project
C. Millichamp ad
Image curtesy of Presteigne History Project

Here is a testimonial sheet distributed by C. Millichamp & Son followed by an example invoice.

Testimonial Sheet
Image curtesy of Presteigne History Project
Millichamp Invoice
Image curtesy of Presteigne History Project

And lastly, years later after Charles Millichamp had already passed away, one of his sons, Francis celebrated his golden anniversary. Francis’ claim to fame was that he was the son of Charles Millichamp, a clock and watch maker who patented a field clock gun.

Millichamp Clock Gun
Millichamp’s Self Acting Field Clock Gun