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British Industrial History

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James George Accles

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James George Accles (1850 -1939), an engineer, was a recognised authority on guns and explosive weapons as well as starting a number of new technology companies.

1850 Born in Bendigo, Australia, the son of George Accles and his wife Hannah Fergusson. His younger brother is William Sloane Accles

1867 Apprentice at the works of the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Co., Hartford,Connecticut, where he was trained in the manufacture of small-arms and small-arms ammunition.

1872 Came to England and established a works at Ward End, Birmingham for the production of caps for the .42 Russian “Berdan” cartridges, which were being made in the UK in large quantities at that time.

1873 Went to China for the US Gatling Gun Company, and whilst there he established factories at Canton and Shanghai for the manufacture of small-arms and ammunition.

1875 Returned to England for the Gatling Gun Company.

From 1876 to 1886, he visited many countries with the Gatling Gun; in those countries where this gun was adopted, he established works for its manufacture and also for the ammunition. In this connection he designed and equipped twelve new works in various countries.

In 1887 he built and equipped cartridge works near Foochow and also on the island of Formosa for the Chinese Government.

1888 James George Accles started work for the British Gatling Gun Co on 30 June 1888; his servant, Mr Wright, had been paid by the company from May 1888, after he had left the employ of the American Gatling Gun company[1]. In that year Accles demonstrated the Gatling Gun at Wrexham.

1889 Mr J. Accles was constructing engineer-in-charge of the Gatling Gun Co at its new factory at Holdford Mill. He had made various improvements to the Gatling gun over the years[2].

1890 Gatling Gun Co was wound up because of its debts[3].

1891 Grenfell and Accles established to take over the business. Name later changed to Accles Ltd[4]

1896 J. G. Accles of Grenfell and Accles wrote to the proprietors of the New Sociable Bicycle Co about the Centric Syndicate's new gear system, testifying to its mechanical soundness and efficiency[5].

1896 J. G. Accles set up Accles at Holford Mill (sic), Perry Barr, to exploit the relatively new process of cold drawing of tubes, with its considerable potential in the booming bicycle industry[6].

1896-98 The Accles Motorcycle was made by the British Motor Syndicate under the supervision of Charles McRobie Turrell and designed by the Australian brothers James George Accles and William Sloane Accles.

The British pioneer motorist Charles McRobie Turrell, left the British Motor Co and set up in partnership with J. G. Accles at Holford Works, Perry Barr, Birmingham[7] later forming Accles-Turrell[8].

1898 Accles Ltd went into liquidation. Accles' secretary, Charles Barlow, took over, forming Accles Tube Syndicate, a venture unconnected with George Accles[9]. The Accles works were advertised for sale in 1900 by order of the High Court[10]. This company became Accles and Pollock in 1901.

J. G. Accles then did consulting and experimental work in connection with small-arms and ammunition. For three years he was engaged with Birmingham Small Arms Co Ltd, consulting and doing experimental work on automatic small-arms[11]. He also advised Christopher Cash (of J. and J. Cash) on the development of a humane killing device for animals, which was later manufactured by Accles and Shelvoke.

1903 The firm Bennett's Successors Ltd., was formed on 1 October 1903 by J. G. Accles and 6 other persons, and was funded by 6,000 individuals each owning a single 10 shilling share[12]. (Bennett's Successors, Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham, made meat jacks[13].)

1913 Accles recommended manufacture of a cartridge-powered captive bolt stunning equipment at Aston in conjunction with Mr. G. E. Shelvoke.

1914 At an Extraordinary General Meeting on 14 January, at the company's registered office at the Talford Street Works, Aston, Birmingham, the company's name was changed to Accles and Shelvoke. The company went on to become a world leader in humane animal killing.

Mr Accles took an active part in that business until ill health compelled him to retire, but he remained as consultant to Accles and Shelvoke until his death in 1939.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Yorkshire Herald, 27 February 1890
  2. Birmingham Daily Post, 11 February 1889
  3. Southland Times, 11 September 1890
  4. Based on History of Accles and Shelvoke [1]
  5. The Belfast News-Letter 29 April 1896
  6. Black Country History [2]
  7. The Autocar magazine of 17th June 1899
  8. The Light Car by C. F. Caunter. Published in 1970. ISBN 11 290003 8
  9. Black Country History [3]
  10. London Gazette 23 March 1900
  11. History of Accles and Shelvoke [4]
  12. Shelvoke ONS [5]
  13. Old Bailey records{http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?path=sessionsPapers%2F19030330.xml]