Tel: 0121 369 1855


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What is in a name?

When I restarted the family gun making business back in 2012, I did so with the knowledge that my family has had some of the longest history of involvement in the gun trade of any family in the business, reaching back to at least 1751 with Joshua Horton and spanning three centuries since.

Our influence in the trade runs deep, for example the Birmingham Proof house was designed and built by John William Horton in 1813 with his gun making father Isaac Joshua Horton being one of the main funders and the driving force behind the project. James William Horton (another son of Isaac) was a Proof Master in the late nineteenth century. Despite our prolific and hugely influential history within the trade, the majority of our guns were made for either military contracts or the East India Company, as a sub-contractor to the famous Joseph Manton among several others. The result was that very few of our guns were adorned with our own name. Of course this makes them rare these days.

That tradition was broken in the mid nineteenth century when William Horton (my 3 x great uncle) was packed off to Scotland to set-up a gun business to take advantage of the new money being generated by the rich industrialists of Britain’s second city of Glasgow. William was supplied with actions and barrel sets made in Birmingham by his two brothers (Joseph Horton (my 2 x great grandfather) and yet another Joshua Horton). His son, Oliver continued the business in Glasgow until 1924 when stock was sold to pay the dowries for his two daughters.

It has often been observed by the astute historians amongst you that our company is considerably older than the 1855 founding date that we state. The answer is that as William had been the most prolific Horton in terms of guns made by our firm and bearing his name, it made sense to me at the time to relaunch the family business in his name and dates. Notwithstanding the fact that we possibly have the most unimaginative Christian name policy of any family and given that our history in the trade spans 11 generations, it can get jolly confusing to say the least.

In 2021 we shall launch a very unique offering to the market, one that both sets us apart from our competitors and yet remains true to the adventurous spirit and heritage of the company. As part of that we shall be subtly re-branding, so the question to you, our loyal followers and customers is this; should we drop the ‘W’ from our name and affirm the true start date of the business, or maintain the status quo for this important plan for 2021 and beyond? As many of you will know, we are a business that listens to its customers and we value your comments and suggestions. A famous bloke once said, “The wisdom of endless thinking from within is usually rendered useless by the singular observation of an astute stranger”.

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  • Tom M Seegmueller says:

    As one with an interest in history I think you should go with the older in my opinion accurate date. A great heritage preserved, Well done.

  • Heinrich Wertenberger says:

    Thank you for such a good article Herr Horton. I take my pointed steel hat off to you for your long unt illustrious history in the manufacture of such fine firearms. If I were you, I would goose-step the streets of Birmingham shouting (in English) the achievements of the Horton family. Here in Germany we are known for the manufacture of our own weapons, many of which we have used against your people in times past. Of course, we are all friends now, ha, ha…..don’t mention zee war. I digress of course, I was applauding the long history of gun making in Birmingham by your grubenfarter, not talking about zee bombing by the bombers of zee Reich of your fine city and environs. Guten heck, there I go again…mentioning zee war. And we in Germany say the Englander is obsessed by zee war (we pronounce it ‘zee vorr’) unt a World Cup. I am a dumkopf, anyway I vish you unt yours einz good Christmas, enjoying the war movies such as Bridge too far, Longest day, Carry on Corporal. Klubb.