Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,103 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William Tranter

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William Tranter born 1816 at Oldbury nr Birmingham and was the eldest son of Thomas and Mary Tranter. Thomas' occupation was a blacksmith.

William had four brothers and four sisters

1830 At the age of 14 William Tranter was apprenticed to the gunsmithing firm of Hollis Brothers and Co in Birmingham.

1839 He left Hollis Brothers and bought out the business of Robert Dugard at Whittall Street, Birmingham with a small legacy left to him by an uncle.

1841 An advertisement in 1841 read "William Tranter (successor to R. Dugard), Gun and Pistol maker, for home and exportation, No.29.5 Whittall Street, Birmingham. Percussion caps, waddings, implements, barrels, locks, and furniture of every description."

1888 he resigned, leaving his works manager Henry A Schlund in control. The name was changed to the Aston Arms Factory 1890 William Tranter died on January 7th, 1890.

1891 The company ran into financial trouble.

THE WHOLE OF THE VALUABLE PLANT, MACHINERY, TOOLS, &c., &c., of the well-known Revolver, Military, and Sporting Arms Manufactory, of the late Mr. William Tranter,
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY MESSRS. JAMES & LISTER LEA & SONS, on the Premises, as above, on MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, and FRIDAY, June 20,....... (by order of the Executors) - comprising 100 Milling, Profiling, Boring, and Tube-cutting machines, by Muir and Co., Manchester; Greenwood and Batley, Leeds. &c. 30 Boring, Rifling, Sighting, Grinding, Polishing, and Ribbing Machines, for Military and Sporting Gun Barrels, by Greenwood and Batley, Leeds; Henschel and Sohn, Cassel; 60 Copying lathes, Shaping, Rebating, Mortislng, and Planing machlines, suitable for Wheelwrights, Coachhbuilders, Carving, Stave-making, &c.; a 42in. Timber Saw Frame, Band, Circular, Rack, and Rebating Saw-sharpening Machine, by T. Robinson and Sons, Rochdale: Powis, James and Co., [Samuel Worssam and Co|S. Worssam and Co]]., London, Ransome and Co. 20 and 40 horse high-pressure Engines, 1,000ft. of Shafting, 750 Pulleys, 70 Overhead Motions, 7,700ft. of Leather Banding, 6 Screw and Toolmaking Machines, Steam Stamp, Punching and Shearing Machine, Bending Rolls, Emery Grinders, 18 Lifting and Traversing Jacks, 140 Vices. 110 Screw-cutting, Turning, Capstan, and fuse Lathes - from 3in. to 9in, centres, by Muir and Co.; Oldham and Richards, Manchester; Dickson, Leeds; Taylor, Birmingham, &c. 40 Drilling, Planing, Shaping, and Slotting Machines, by Muir and Co., Oldham and Richards, Manchester. &c.; Greenwood and Batley, Leeds. 90-ton Hydraulic Steel Tube Drawing Machine, with pumps, dies and fitting, for making cold-drawn steel gun barrels &c, by Wailes and Robinson, Engineers, London : 50-ton Hydraulic Press, by Tangye; Gun-stocking Machines, adapted for Martini, Snider, Chassepot, and other Military Rifles, Revolvers, and Sporting Guns; ten Presses, eight Smiths' Hearths, six Grindstones, two portable Weighing Machines, large quantity of Milling Cutters, Chucks, Mandrels, Tape and Dies. Surface and Angle Plates, Gun and Pistol Tools, Steel Dies, Machine Fittings, useful Castings. Gun-racks, Counters, Nests of Drawers, Boxes, Swarf-pans, Oil-boshes, Tanks, Metal, and 11 tons of Scrap-iron; OFFICE FURNITURE, iron Safe, Timepieces, Watchmen's Tell-tale Clocks, Showcase, and numerous Effects.
The Works adjoin the Birmingham Canal and are within easy distance of the railway goods station. May be viewed....

By 1900 business had ceased and the factory was occupied by the Clipper Tyre Co and then by the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co.

1926 it was sold to Hercules Cycle Co.

The factory was ultimately demolished in 1961.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Post, 4 June 1892
  • [1] Phoenix Arms