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John Browning's Methods

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by eye5600, Jan 28, 2010.

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  1. eye5600

    eye5600 Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Does anyone know how John Browning went about the process of design?

    A modern mechanical engineer would undoubtedly start with a pile of sketches and a pile of calculations, then move to a CAD/CAM system to produce some drawings. Even in Browning's day, a lot of engineers would have done about the same, doing the drawings by hand, of course.

    From what I read, Browning came out of a machine shop with little formal education. I would bet his first few designs took form in metal first, and drawings came later, and could be done by someone else, e.g. for patents. However, being a genius, he could have learned both theory (math) and technique (drawing) as he went along. (Thomas Edison certainly did.)

    I've never heard any mention of a design drawing with JB's signature on it. I imagine such a thing would fetch a pretty sum.
  2. BTR

    BTR Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Browning's son wrote an excellent biography of him, which I recommend you read.

    If I remember correctly, he made models with moving parts of tin. I think one of his brothers drew them up for him.
  3. buck1032

    buck1032 Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Here's the book BTR refered to,

    I just read it a few weeks ago. From what I remember he would get it worked out in his head and wrote note's on most anything handy. From there he and his brothers mocked up a prototype for testing.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    In the case of the 1911 pistol, certainly one of his most famous designs, Browning was prodded into some of his best work by the Army. The boards that met to review and test the guns made "suggestions" (really demands) for such things as the slide stop, the grip safety, the grip screw bushings, the firing pin stop, the single link design, the frame that prevented the slide from coming off backward, the manual safety, disassembly without tools, and the internal extractor. Other than that, the gun was all Browning.

  5. ants

    ants Member

    Nov 24, 2007
    John M Browning was apprenticed in his father's gunsmithing shop. Jonathan Browning (senior) was an acknowledged master.

    In his father's shop, John Moses designed and built his first rifle, a falling block design.

    Soon he opened his own production shop to manufacture the rifle, which he eventually sold to Winchester.

    Perhaps he lacked a college education, but certainly apprenticeship to a true master is a fine education.
  6. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    The John Browning museum in Ogden, UT is a fascinating place to spend a few hours. His 1st prototype of the operating rod for his (Colt) "potato digger" machine gun looked to have been literally hammered out in a blacksmith's shop.
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    Perhaps he had no college education, but he knew where to find a good patent lawyer who did.:)
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