Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Henry Nock

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1772 Henry Nock opened a shop in Ludgate Street, where he quickly established a growing name as a maker of fine weapons.

By 1777 he had obtained four workshops in which he employed many apprentices, possibly the most famous being James Wilkinson and Ezekiel Baker. When Henry Nock died the business, by bequest, was transferred to James Wilkinson, under whose guidance it went from strength to strength.[1]

HENRY NOCK, Ludgate-street, London, GUN-MAKER, having, after great trouble and expence, brought to perfection a new invented BREECHING for GUNS, and other FIRE ARMS, which is found a very great improvement, has obtained his MAJESTY's ROYAL LETTERS PATENT, to secure to himself the benefit of his discovery. The nature and advantages of this invention are as follow:- By a singular, though simple construction of the breech-pin, which is so contrived so as to become a part of the barrel, the powder, by means of a kind of anti-chamber, takes the fire from the very center of the bottom of the barrel, and not from the side, according to the usual mode. The advantages arising from this contrivance are; that the shot are thrown in a move perfect direction, and with greater velocity; that the barrel is much less subject to become partially foul; that Guns upon this new principle, after having been fired twenty or thirty times, lose very little of their force, in comparison with those of the old construction: that they are safer, and go off more instantaneously. Moreover, at the extremity of the breeching, is a screw, which may be taken out by a common turn-screw; so that the state of the barrel may be seen at any time without the least difficulty. But any gentleman desirous of more particular information than can be conveyed in an advertisement, by applying at NOCK's, may examine the whole contrivance.
N. B. The additional expence of a new Gun, with the patent breeching, will be one guinea, the same breeching may also be put to old Guns, of any maker, for two guineas, with a gold touch-hole, three guineas; provided the barrels are well constructed, and will stand the proof.'[2]

1804 Death notice: Died on 26 November, at Sutton, Surrey, Henry Nock, late of Ludgate Street, Gun-maker to His Majesty.[3]

By Messrs. WINSTANLEY and SON, On the Premises, No. 10, LUDGATE-STREET, on MON-DAY, the 22d Instant, and Two following days, at Eleven, ALL the valuable Finished and Unfinished Stock in Trade, curious Tools and Utensils, of the late ingenious Mr. Henry Nock, Gunsmith, deceased; comprising a large quantity of the best double and single barrel fowling pieces, rifle muskets; duelling, military, and pocket-pistols in cases, powder magazines, patent shot chargers, lock tools, cutting punches, cleaning rods, worms, Best fine unfinished gun and pistol locks, forged and filed barrels of various sorts, lock forging, and forging of other descriptions, near 2000 best gun and pistol stocks, and about 30,000 best flints; a very capital double bar iron lathe and apparatus, several others, an extensive assortment of boring benches and tools, vices, anvils, and choice tools of every other description used in the above trade: likewise a capital eight-day turret clock, a double barrel air pump, a hand mill, and a bolting machine.
The whole to be viewed on the 18th, 19th, 20th, and mornings of sale, when Catalogues may be had on the Premises, and of Messrs. Winstanley and Son, Paternoster-row, at 6d. each, which will be returned to Purchasers.[4]

1805 Advert: 'TO GUN-MAKERS and OTHERS, requiring EXTENSlVE WORK SHOPS and PREMISES, STEAM-ENGINE of eight horses poer, &c.
On THURSDAY August 8 at Twelve, by ordern-maker, situated in Castle-alley, Whitechapel, opposite to the Swan Inn; comprising several work shops, warehouses, and foreman's dwelling adjoining; held for a long term of years at low ground-rents; together with a very complete stea Engine of eight horse power, erected on the most approved construction, by Mr. Adam Heslop. Also in a separate Lot, the Smith's Warehouse, &c. opposite the above; and in a very short time, all his very valuable and curious lathes, machinery, tools, and implements, due notice of which will be given.
The Premises may be viewed, and Particulars had by applying as above. Printed Particulars may also be had at Garraway's; and of Messrs. Winstanley and Son, Paternoster-row.'[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Tatler - Wednesday 15 September 1965
  2. Hereford Journal - Thursday 20 March 1788
  3. Morning Post - Wednesday 28 November 1804
  4. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Friday 5 April 1805
  5. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Wednesday 24 July 1805