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Could John Moses Browning pull off an "Elvis Presley"?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Rembrandt, Aug 20, 2005.

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  1. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    It's been said that Winchester bought many of John Moses Browning's designs and patents but never put them in production to eliminate competition against their own product line. Perhaps there were other companies that bought his patents and did the same.

    Not sure if JMB ever had a bad gun idea....wouldn't it be interesting if those designs resurfaced and were put into production today. Would there be a market demand for a forgotten design?

    ....sort of like a lost Elvis recording being found and released for the first time....
     
  2. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    A new JMB gun I would love to see. A new Elvis recording? Nah.....
     
  3. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Yes, but would Priscilla be to his taste? :confused:
     
  4. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Uh... If they were patented, they're out there.
     
  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    JMB designed several lever action rifles with the action being different in each. They all were quite functional. He had a great gig going. He just kept designed the same basic type of gun in a variety of different ways and selling the designs of each that were purchased to that they would not be sold to a competitor and go into production.

    Think about it. You sell a design to Winchester and they put it into production. Then a little bit later, you show them another design and offer to let them buy it or you put it up for sale to their competitors. Since Winchester was already heavily invested in the production of the older design, it was cheaper to buy the new design than trying to compete with the old design against the newer design that could be marketed by the competition.

    Genius. Pure Genius, and not illegal or unethical.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Browning was a smart businessman. He never sold any of his patents. What he would do is lease a patent to one (or sometimes more) manufacturers so that they could make (whatever) firearm using that patent. Ol' JMB made his money collecting a royality on each gun that was sold.

    So Browning wouldn't have put up with anyone who leased the right to use a patent, but then didn't produces any guns. I'm sure he had a back door in every agreement.
     
  7. harvester of sorrow

    harvester of sorrow Member

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    Actually, he did sell his patents. Rifle and shotgun patents were bought outright by Winchester until he designed the Auto 5, which was the first gun he wanted royalties for. Winchester refused on the grounds that none of the previous deals with Browning had included royalties, and this marked the beginning of Browning's long arm work with the FN factory in Belgium.
     
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Actually, actually, Mr Browning had been dealing with FN since the 1900 .32 auto. He took the shotgun to them because he knew he could deal with them. But he did not go to them first. He went to FN because Remington-UMC was in such a stir after president Marcellius Hartley dropped dead with Browning in his outer office waiting for his appointment that they could not close a deal.
     
  9. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    Ummmn, that's not correct.

    Browning SOLD his earliest designs to Winchester. The Patents were in Brownings name, I believe, but Winchester had exclusive rights to manufacture the firearms. Winchester even told Browning to cease manufacture of his first design, the Single Shot Rife (later the Winchester 1885), after they discovered that Browning was still manufacturing small quanities from remaining parts even though he'd assigned the manufacturing rights to Winchester.

    These were straight cash deals made individually for each design Browning sold to Winchester. Browning himself agreed that Winchester bought many of the designs just to keep them out of the hands of the competition and that Winchester had no intention of putting all his designs into production.

    The famous split between Browning and Winchester was caused by the issue of royalties. Browning though his Auto-5 shotgun was such a revolutionary design that he wanted a royalty arrangment. Winchester would not enter into a royalty deal, so Browning made a deal that included royalties with FN instead. I believe this was his first deal with FN. He never sold another gun to Winchester after that.

    So, Browning did indeed sell his designs and he did accept that some designs would never be manufactured. He later did switch to royalty payments, but not at first.

    My info is from his bio, "John M. Browning - American Gunmaker."

    Edit: Ok, we all said pretty much the same thing at the same time.
     
  10. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    As to the question as to whether there are any "undiscovered" Browning gems out there, I doubt it. His patents are well documented. Heck, his bio lists descriptions of all his guns in the back. Pretty much the only designs that didn't go into production where the ones he sold to Winchester. Most of those could be classified as "experiements in technique." He'd design a lever-action rifle, for instance, that used a different locking mechanism than all the other lever-action rifles, just for the challenge. He'd sell the design to Winchester, who'd put rightfully put it on the shelf because it wasn't necessarily *better* than other lever-action rifles, it was just different.
     
  11. harvester of sorrow

    harvester of sorrow Member

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    yes, which is why I said:

    I am aware of the many pistols he had designed for FN, but the Auto 5 is the first long arm that he produced with them as far as I can remember.
     
  12. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    Winchester patent lawyers actually applied for most if not ALL of JMB's early patents on his behalf, in exchange for first shot at the manufacturing rights.

    and at any rate a patent is only good for ( I believe ) 20 years.

    So none of his patents even apply anymore.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2005
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    OK, that's a gotcha, Harvester.

    Patent expiry is why you see so many 1911 clones and mutants these days.

    It is also why a BHP looks like it does. Mr Browning's original design was nothing like what you can buy today. Dieudonne Saive at FN gets and deserves a lot of credit for working on it after Mr Browning's death, but one of his big ideas was to plow back in a number of Browning design features as the Colt/Browning patents ran out.
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    "Not sure if JMB ever had a bad gun idea."

    Hmmm. Well, the "potato digger" MG was a little less than brilliant even for that time. And the vaunted 1911 was influenced at least as much by the Army boards' demands as by Browning's ideas.

    Jim
     
  15. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Of course JMB has some bad gun ideas. Most never made it into production.
     
  16. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Member

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    What was that Edison quote... "I didn't fail 1000 times. I simply found a lot of ways to not make a light bulb." :)
     
  17. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    Any person who makes a living inventing or designing will have less than optimal results on occasion.

    Quite often the "flops" lead to something quite fantastic once they work the bugs out.

    I have designed several things, unfortunetly for me, nothing anyobody likes well enough to buy :neener:

    one of these days.........
     
  18. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I can add nothing of value, but I do commend THRers for

    being well read. Bravo!
     
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