Three Decades of Advertising Maund & Millichamp’s Self-Acting Field Clock Gun
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.
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.
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.
People even wrote in to newspapers telling others about this device.
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.
Their sales agents for the Bromyard and Tenbury areas gave presentations and said it would make a good Christmas present!
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.
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!
That fall they received a good write-up in their local paper where they also placed an ad.
Some more ads over the next year began to include customer reviews.
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!
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.”
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.
Millichamp still ran his fishing tackle shop. Though his ad now calls himself a watch, clock and gun maker!
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.
This photograph of a fox hunt shows Millichamp’s Field Clock Gun Works shop in Presteign
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.
A couple notable orders:
H. Clarke & Sons of Midland Gun Works, of Leicester, advertises the Millichamp gun for a few years, but not by name.
And finally another ad by Millichamp in 1911.
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.
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.
C. Millichamp & Son
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.
Here is a testimonial sheet distributed by C. Millichamp & Son followed by an example invoice.
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.