Project on John Browning


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LkWinnipesaukee
October 16, 2006, 07:31 PM
Hey guys,

I'm doing a Marketing project on an entrepreneur, so I picked John Browning:D

I'm having a problem finding a good, detailed internet source on his life, especially the company.

It's a project geared more towards what he did to become a successful entrepreneur, not the guns he made (which is the only thing I'm finding).

Anyone know of any good sources of information?

Thanks

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mp510
October 16, 2006, 08:06 PM
In American Rifleman Magazine, they ran a biographical bit about JMB, and included some of that information. I'll see if I can't find it this weekend for you!

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article on him:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Browning#History

Car Knocker
October 16, 2006, 08:58 PM
If you weren't limiting yourself to internet sources, a trip to the library would be in order. John M. Browning AMERICAN GUNMAKER by Curt Gentry and John Browning is probably the definitive work on Browning.

El Tejon
October 16, 2006, 09:26 PM
If you want to focus on the bidness, then you need to include his brother, Matthew.:)

TaxPhd
October 16, 2006, 11:38 PM
Contact the Browning Museum in Ogden, Utah.

Lee Witten - Archivist, library, webmaster
lee@theunionstation.org
(801) 393-1482


If you ever get to Utah, the museum is a must see.

ReadyontheRight
October 17, 2006, 12:14 AM
Can you PLEASE share the final project here on THR?

As a Marketer myself, I find that his model of international licensing and partnerships was very unique, outside-the-box thinking.

For the project, you can WOW non-gun-geeks with the sheer number of his well-recognized designs and then show his Marketing panache by focusing on the number of worldwide licenses and partnerships he developed to get his visions into production.

DaVinci thought up a lot of interesting stuff, but he only actually MADE very few things.

JMB not only thought up almost every modern gun design, he also got them into mass production.

A true genius.

LkWinnipesaukee
October 18, 2006, 10:31 PM
Hey guys,


Thanks for your help. The project is nothing spectacular. It's just whats called a mini-project. 2 Page paper and a poster. Should be done later tonite. But I would be glad to share it here.

Sunray
October 18, 2006, 10:42 PM
Sam Colt would be a better subject. JM wasn't really much of a business type. Great designer/inventor, of course, but Colt was far more into the marketing and business side.

LkWinnipesaukee
October 19, 2006, 12:49 AM
I didnt really like the way this turned out :fire: , but I guess it isnt too bad. I also made a poster with a timeline of his life and information about the company when it started, as well as today.

Too tired to proof read it. I'll do that tomorrow. Now I'm going to go read some UC and go to bed.:)

Sean Sxxxxx
Mrs Txxxxxxxx
Entrepreneur Mini Project- John Browning


John Moses Browning was born on January 23, 1855 to a Mormon family in Ogden, Utah. His father was a successful gunsmith, who taught him the basics at a young age. What he didn't know at the time was that these skills and interests he possessed would make him one of the most famous names in history.

At the young age of 14, he hand crafted his first rifle for one of his brothers, Matthiew, for his birthday. Almost ten years later, he finished work on his first single shot rifle, which would later become patented. This marked the start of his extraordinarily successful and productive life.

After marrying Rachel Child in 1879, his father, Johnathan Browning. This was the time when John and his brother Matt took over his business. Without the aid of luxuries like power tools we have today, they began producing Browning's first firearm, the Winchester 1885, patent number 220,271.

John, unlike other well-known geniuses in history such as Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci, and Henry Ford, not only invented new products unassisted, but built and manufactured many of his own designs. However, he did not enjoy the manufacturing process and sold many of his designs to competitors and the United States Government.

The pinnacle of his career was when he invented a system called 'gas operation' that enabled guns to be semi or fully automatic. This was a huge breakthrough in technology at the time. Using this technology, he invented more modern firearms such as the M1911, a semi-automatic handgun that was used by the United States Armed Forces in World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. It is still one of the most popular handguns, and is produced by several companies today. Another important weapon he invented was the Browning Automatic Rifle. Because it was so accurate, reliable and effective, it was issued to soldiers in the same wars.

John Browning also sold his to designs to companies such as Winchester, Remington, and Colt. These were the four biggest names at the time. With the exception of Winchester, who only bought most of his designs because they didn't want other to have them, Browning was loved by these companies.

Not only did he conduct business in the United States, but also in Europe. After his nineteen year relationship with Winchester ended, he took a trip to Belgium to present his ideas to a company called Fabrique Nationale de Belgique. The owner of FN was amazed with his work, and bought several designs, which would later be produced.

In November of 1926, John Moses Browning died of a heart failure in Belgium. He is known for having been not only an exceptional entrepreneur, but a skillful inventor. When he died, he owned a total of 128 patents. Without his designs, the wars fought may have had a different outcome, completely changing history.

TimboKhan
October 19, 2006, 01:29 AM
Buddy, I hate to be a jerk, but you have some mistakes. Let me list just a few:


After marrying Rachel Child in 1879, his father, Johnathan Browning.

this doesn't make sense.

Without the aid of luxuries like power tools we have today, they began producing Browning's first firearm, the Winchester 1885

Just not true. The Brownings built a single-shot rifle that was good enough to draw the interest of Winchester, which eventually led to Browning selling his designs to Winchester. In other words, the first Browning rifle was a Browning rifle, not a Browning-designed rifle. Obviously, you know this since you mentioned it in the preceding paragraph.


John Browning also sold his to designs to companies such as Winchester, Remington, and Colt

I might be wrong here, but did he actually sell his design to Colt? I am going off of memory, but I thought he basically sold the design of the 1911 to the Government, who then picked Colt as the manufacturer. I also thought that he was going to sell some designs to Remington, but the old man died of a heart attack while Browning was waiting for him. Keep in mind, I am going off of memory, and I may very well be wrong, but you might want to double check that just to be sure.

Without the aid of luxuries like power tools we have today, they began producing Browning's first firearm, the Winchester 1885, patent number 220,271.


Back to this sentence, I think by the time that Browning was selling designs to Winchester, he had obtained a steam engine to power various things in his shop. Granted, not a power tool of today, but a power tool nonetheless. Also, it is somewhat inaccurate to say they took over the business from their father. He had stopped being a gunmaker and reverted to being a blacksmith long before the boys took over. They really didn't take over the business as much as they just went into business on their own, in the form of Browning Bros. Sporting Goods (I have a book somewhere that has a picture of the 4 Browning Bros standing in front of that store, and as best as I can recall, thats what it said.)

Also, you might want to mention that Browning is something of a national hero in Belgium. His influence runs a lot deeper than simply being a guy that impressed the head of FN. Heck, historians even believe that it was a Browning designed gun that was used to shoot ol' Prince Ferdinand in the head, which was bad from a marketing standpoint.

On the whole, not a horrible paper, but if I were grading it, you would get dinged some on punctuation and flow. But, then again, I am a teacher, so what do you expect?

TimboKhan
October 19, 2006, 01:41 AM
Seperately, let me take on this qoute:


For the project, you can WOW non-gun-geeks with the sheer number of his well-recognized designs and then show his Marketing panache by focusing on the number of worldwide licenses and partnerships he developed to get his visions into production.

DaVinci thought up a lot of interesting stuff, but he only actually MADE very few things.

JMB not only thought up almost every modern gun design, he also got them into mass production


Hmm... I don't think Browning ever really "licensed" his designs, nor do I think that he developed partnerships in the traditional sense. He sold his designs flat out, and as far as I can recall, never made royalty money off of them. Also, I don't know that it would be 100% accurate to say that he was responsible for getting the guns into mass production. While he did have some authority as the designer, really, once he sold the design, it was up to the purchasing corporations to manufacture the guns how they saw fit. I agree with your DaVinci analogy, although it is interesting to point out that Browning believed in building a gun before presenting it. Sort of a working blueprint. As such, his designs were tested, by him, prior to them getting to the factory, which did in fact speed production along. It might be a stretch to say that he thought up "almost every other modern gun design", but it wouldn't be a stretch at all to say that he has at least influenced an awful lot of modern gun design. Really, I am just arguing with you academically though, because I think we will both agree 100% that Browning was an unparalleld genius in the field of firearm desing.

harvester of sorrow
October 19, 2006, 01:49 AM
He sold his designs flat out, and as far as I can recall, never made royalty money off of them.

His relationship with Winchester ended when he requested royalties for the first time for the Auto-5 shotgun. He took the design to FN and signed a royalty agreement that, I believe, continued to pay his family until the demise of that great gun in the 1990s.

Matt-man
October 19, 2006, 01:53 AM
I might be wrong here, but did he actually sell his design to Colt? I am going off of memory, but I thought he basically sold the design of the 1911 to the Government, who then picked Colt as the manufacturer. I also thought that he was going to sell some designs to Remington, but the old man died of a heart attack while Browning was waiting for him. Keep in mind, I am going off of memory, and I may very well be wrong, but you might want to double check that just to be sure.

The 1911 wasn't the only Browning design produced by Colt - see the 1895 Potato Digger. There were indeed Browning designs produced by Remington, notably the Model 8 semi-auto rifle and the Model 11 version of the Auto-5.

harvester of sorrow
October 19, 2006, 02:08 AM
The 1911 wasn't the only Browning design produced by Colt - see the 1895 Potato Digger.

Also Colt made a number of his "pocket" pistols.

LkWinnipesaukee
October 19, 2006, 11:33 AM
Like I said, it still needs editing (factual and grammatical).

But thanks for your suggestions :)


Also, I believe his relationship with Win ended when they would not manufacture his autoloading shotgun. Might be wrong, but I believe thats what I read

I'll be sure to add some info about his steam tools, and check on the fact about his fathers company.

I remember reading somewhere that he had something like 22 brothers. Is this true? Source?


Thanks again.

Trebor
October 19, 2006, 12:14 PM
Read "John Browning - American Gunmaker." It's a great book and covers anything you could want to know about the subject. You *might* find it in your library. It is available through the Browning museum as well.

Matt-man
October 19, 2006, 01:48 PM
Also, I believe his relationship with Win ended when they would not manufacture his autoloading shotgun. Might be wrong, but I believe thats what I read

Well, partially correct. Browning wanted a royalty arrangement for the design. Winchester wanted him to sell them the design outright. Neither would budge, so Browning went elsewhere.

I remember reading somewhere that he had something like 22 brothers. Is this true? Source?

Jonathan Browning fathered 22 children by three wives. John was born to Jonathan's second wife. ("John M. Browning, American Gunmaker")

Henry Bowman
October 19, 2006, 03:40 PM
I highly recommend that you look at this history of JMB in "comic book" form here: http://www.herstalgroup.com/english/pdf/bd.pdf It even includes some historical photos.

lee n. field
October 19, 2006, 04:05 PM
An old thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=165620&highlight=browning+comic) with a link you might find helpful.

(edited to add: that's the same comic book Life of St. John Moses that "Henry Bowman" pointed you to.)

SSN Vet
October 19, 2006, 04:18 PM
they have a pretty good bio. on JMB that you can download.

I'm no JMB scholar, but this bio. seems like a pretty good overview.

I think that for an assignment emphasizing entrepreneurship, I'd try to get at the heart of what made him a success. Seems that he had an increadibly inquisitive mind and was always seeing problems and seeking ways to solve them.

The FN connection is also entrepreneurial. Weren't they a bicycle manufacturer, that sent a guy to the US in search of inventions that they could manufacture.

Have fun with your assignment.

TimboKhan
October 19, 2006, 05:13 PM
well, I stand corrected. I have one good book on Browning that I have read like three or four times, but I haven't read it in a few years and am not even sure where it is!

So, ok, I know Colt manufactured some Browning designs, but was I right or wrong about the arrangement? Did he sell the designs to Colt, or was Colt simply awarded the contract to build them?

Also, in my book, the genesis of his idea for his gas-operated system is a neat story. According to the book, he was out at the range with his brother and a friend doing some competition shooting when he noticed that the grass blew around after every shot. Realizing that it was the excess gas causing it, and suspecting that the gas could be used elsewhere, he designed his first automatic action, and according to the book, did so relatively quickly. Also, my book repeatedly points out that his genius was mechanical in nature, as opposed to just being a firearms genius. The man loved guns, and so thats where he applied his genius. I suspect that had he loved cars, or motorcyles, or dishwashers or whatever else, we would all be talking about "John Browning, Dishwasher Genius". It's a minor little pecadillo with me, but I don't like how he gets cornered into just being a firearms genius, when his talents obviously could have taken him in any number of directions.

Matt-man
October 19, 2006, 10:24 PM
So, ok, I know Colt manufactured some Browning designs, but was I right or wrong about the arrangement? Did he sell the designs to Colt, or was Colt simply awarded the contract to build them?

With the 1895 machine gun, the Brownings approached Colt with the design. Colt then submitted it for testing by the armed forces. The book is not specific on licensing details etc, but it's stated that John was offered a royalty arrangement by Colt.

A similar arrangement occurred with the pistol that became the 1911. Colt built the Browning-designed pistol and submitted it to trials. Colt had, by that time, already produced several Browning pistols for commercial sales (like the pocket pistols Harvester mentioned).

It wasn't until the US entered WWI that other companies were awarded contracts to manufacture Browning designs (notably, the 1911, the BAR, and the 1917 .30cal MG).

44AMP
October 20, 2006, 12:29 AM
I'm afraid I don't have a good reference right not, but there is a story that JM Browning virtually gave (sold for a pittance) the rights to his BAR to the US Govt, his only condition being that the first made guns were to go to France, where his son was fighting (WW I). There are some photos of Lt. Val Browning holding the rifle his father designed.

You are correct in that for most of his career, Browning sold his designs outright (no royalties). After trying to get Winchester to buy his Auto-5 shotgun, and for once, pay royalties, he went to Remington. The head of Remington had a heart attack while Browning was waiting in his outer office. Browning then went overseas, to FN in Belgium, and the rest, as they say, is history.

While John Moses Browning is widely acclaimed as the premiere firearms designer of the last century, his genius did not extend to business at the same level of competence. It just wasn't his thing.

I just checked Vol 1 of The Machine Gun by LtCol GM Chinn USMC (an official govt study), and it states that after WWI, govt met with Browning's agents to discuss payment for the use of his machine gun designs and the .45 caliber pistol. When the Govt mentioned a certain sum, Browning's agents informed them that their instructions from Browning were to let the Govt set the price, and "accept it cheerfully without hesitation or further bargining." Records indicate that the amount was less than one tenth what the government usually allowed inventors. The Secretary of War sent him a letter thanking him for his patriotism and his service to his country.

This action indicates that making the most money possible was not one of Browning's priorities. A true mercenary capitalist would denounce Browning for this kind of business, not making as much money as he could. But the rest of us revere his memory. His guns were the firepower backbone of the US military in WWI. The 1911A1 pistol, the .30 and the .50 caliber machinegun. During WWII, virtually every US vehicle was adapted to carry a Browning designed machinegun. If it walked, drove, crawled, flew or swam, it carried a Browning, often a .50 cal. And the Browning .50 cal machinegun is still in service today, more than 80 years later!

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