Birmingham has been a key innovator in the gun trade since the seventeenth century and the Birmingham Gun Barrel Proof house operates to this day. Between 1855 and 1861 six million arms were testing and proofed here - many of them destined for the USA. Those who worked in the Birmingham Gun Quarter were at the forefront of this incredible industry. This book tells the story of the technology and history of gun making. Covering the period 1720 to 1950, it sees the mechanical engineering technology of the 'lock, stock and barrel' firearm change significantly. David Williams, an engineer and academic, has studied the battle between the manual processes of manufacturing using the dexterity of many pople and the clumsy but tireless machine, and here examines this complex relationship in gunmaking, paying particular attention to interchangeable military firearms manufacture and the growth and decline of the Birmingham military and sporting gun trade. Accompanied by over 130 illustrations, "The Birmingham Gun Trade" is more than a narrative of gunmaking in Birmingham through the years: it is a thoughtful comment on craft skills, the use of machines and, most significant of all, the effect of having changing technologies on people's jobs, livelihoods and locations.
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