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Gunnery in 1858 (1858)

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IN 1858

Being A Treatise on Rifles,
Cannon and Sporting Arms

William Greener

SMITH, ELDER AND CO., London, 1858

A classic mid-Victorian treatise on firearms, artillery and rifle shooting, written by William Greener and published by Smith Elder in 1858. William Greener was recognised as one of the foremost British gunsmiths of the time and an authority on firearms and shooting. Illustrated with engravings and line drawings, Gunnery in 1858 covers gunmaking, gunpowder, bullets, projectiles and ammunition, the principles and science of gunnery, and all 'the newest improvements in firearms', including artillery, rifles, pistols and revolvers. There are also a number of very interesting advertisments at the rear of the book - including the latest revolving pistols from William Tranter and Philip Webley.

William Greener (1806-1869) set up his own gun making business in Newcastle in 1829, moving the business to Birmingham in 1844. William Greener was a prolific inventor and over his lifetime he invented the expansive bullet (1835); an electric light (1846); a device to open the gates of a railway level crossing simultaneously; a self-righting lifeboat (1851) and modifications to the Miners Safety Lamp. William Greener also invented the percussion system for firing cannon. But first and foremost he was a gun maker and the quality of his guns attracted many rich and famous customers, including Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. At The Great Exhibition of 1851 he won two gold medals and a diploma "for guns and barrels, perfectly forged and finished" - the highest honour obtainable. William wrote three books, The Gun (1834), The Science of Gunnery (1846) and Gunnery in 1858 (1858).

After William's death in 1869, his second son, William Wellington Greener, continued to make high quality sporting and military guns. Like his father, he was also an inventor and many of his inventions helped to shape the breech-loader, which by that time was developing into the modern sporting gun. W. W. Greener was also a prolific author, his published works included The Gun and its Development (1881), The Breechloader and How to Use it (1892), and Sharpshooting for Sport and War (1900). By the turn of the century, W. W. Greener had the world's largest sporting gun factory, employing over four hundred and fifty skilled craftsmen. In 1910 W. W. Greener's sons, Harry and Charles, took over the business and during WW1 production was switched to military requirements for the duration of the war.


In good condition. The boards are in good condition with general signs of wear and use, fading to the spine, and some marks. The binding and hinges are good and secure. The text, plates and illustrations are in good condition, with some marks. There is a signature of 'George Greason, Hepple Woodside, Rothbury' and an ink stamp of 'W. M. Henderson, Rothbury' to the front endpapers.

Published: 1858
Blue boards with gilt titling
Illustrated with plates and line drawings
Dimensions: 150mm x 230mm
Pages: 439 (plus adverts)