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 148,415 pages of information and 233,868 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Eley Brothers

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May 1896.
January 1897.
December 1927.
Exhibit at Powerhouse Museum.

of 254 Gray's Inn Road, London WC, and of Sutton Coldfield; factories at Angel Road, Upper Edmonton, and Harty Ferry, Faversham, Kent

1828 Company established by brothers William Eley and Charles Eley to make and supply patent cartridges[1].

1842 On William Eley's death, his three sons inherited the business which became Eley Brothers.

1855 joint patent with Samuel Colt for Colt revolver cartridges.

1857 Britain's first central-fire cartridge.

1860s patents on the development of the Boxer primer system.

1869 development of the first bottleneck rifle cartridges.

1874 Incorporated as a Limited Company. The company was registered on 26 February, to take over the cartridge manufacturing business of the firm of this name. [2]. Major expansion funded through the sale of shares to the public.

1882 thin-brass totally waterproof shotshell cartridges developed.

1889 May. Paris Exhibition. Light weapons. [3]

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Gold Medal for Armoury. [4]

1914 Manufacturers of Sporting and Military Ammunition. Specialities; Cartridges for all kinds of Small Arms, Percussion Caps, Gun Wads, Lead Shot and Fulminate of Mercury. [5]

1918 Explosives Trades Ltd was formed to merge together the UK explosives industry including Nobel Explosives, G. Kynoch and Co, Curtis's and Harvey, Eley, Kings Norton Metal Co and Birmingham Metal and Munitions Co.

1920 Name of company changed to Nobel Industries

1928 The business moved to the Witton site in Birmingham as a subsidiary of ICI Metals Division.

1951 Development of Tenex rimfire system, initially for shooting competitions.

1962 The name of the parent was changed to Imperial Metal Industries Limited (IMI Group for short).

1978 IMI became fully independent of ICI.

Early 1980s Developed the only fully automated dry priming system in the world.

1993 IMI's Ammunition Division was incorporated as Eley which continued as a manufacturer of ammunition for sporting uses.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Eley website [1]
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Engineer of 3rd May 1889 p363
  4. The Engineer of 2nd November 1894 p387
  5. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  • Eley website [2]
  • Location of Harty Ferry factory [3]