Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Project on John Browning

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by LkWinnipesaukee, Oct 16, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    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
     
  2. mp510

    mp510 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    3,046
    Location:
    PRKt
    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
     
  3. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    3,809
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    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.
     
  4. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    18,085
    Location:
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    If you want to focus on the bidness, then you need to include his brother, Matthew.:)
     
  5. TaxPhd

    TaxPhd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    504
    Location:
    Montana
    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.
     
  6. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    Minnesota - nine months of ice and snow...three mo
    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.
     
  7. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    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.
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Messages:
    11,266
    Location:
    London, Ont.
    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2006
  9. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    Well, here it is

    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.:)

     
  10. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Messages:
    8,139
    Location:
    Greeley, CO
    Buddy, I hate to be a jerk, but you have some mistakes. Let me list just a few:

    this doesn't make sense.

    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.

    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.

    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?
     
  11. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Messages:
    8,139
    Location:
    Greeley, CO
    Seperately, let me take on this qoute:

    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.
     
  12. harvester of sorrow

    harvester of sorrow Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    VA
    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.
     
  13. Matt-man

    Matt-man Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    419
    Location:
    Phoenix
    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.
     
  14. harvester of sorrow

    harvester of sorrow Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    VA
    Also Colt made a number of his "pocket" pistols.
     
  15. LkWinnipesaukee

    LkWinnipesaukee Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    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.
     
  16. Trebor

    Trebor Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    4,817
    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.
     
  17. Matt-man

    Matt-man Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    419
    Location:
    Phoenix
    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.

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

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    6,717
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
  19. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    3,732
    An old thread 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.)
     
  20. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,796
    Location:
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    go the the FN web site....

    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.
     
  21. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2005
    Messages:
    8,139
    Location:
    Greeley, CO
    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.
     
  22. Matt-man

    Matt-man Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    419
    Location:
    Phoenix
    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).
     
  23. 44AMP

    44AMP Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    upper US
    Anecdote

    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!
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page