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British Industrial History

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John Browning

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Spectroscopes at the World Museum, Liverpool
Spectroscope at the World Museum, Liverpool
c.1870 demonstration electric motor on display at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

of Minories, London, nautical instrument makers.

1854 Dissolution of the Partnership between William Browning of No 111, Minories, in the city of London. Samuel John Browning, of Portsmouth, in the county of Hants., and John Browning of No. 111, Minories, Nautical Instrument Makers, carrying on trade at No. 111 Minories, and at No. 52, High Street, Portsmouth, under the firm of Spencer, Browning, and Company, was, on and from the 31st day of December last past. Notice is hereby also given, that in future the said business of Nautical Instrument Makers will be carried on by the undersigned William Browning and John Browning, on their own account, at No. 111, Minories, London, and by the undersigned Samuel John Browning, at No. 52, High-street, Portsmouth on his own account.[1]

1856 John Browning took over his father's London business - hence the business becoming known as John Browning.

John Browning became known for his fine spectroscopes though he also sold a wide range of other optical equipment.

1871 Constructed the first wind tunnel, located in Greenwich at Penn's Marine Engineering Works; it had been designed by Francis Herbert Wenham.

1872 Moved from 111 Minories to 63 Strand, London. Browning's business employed some seventy men besides "bunting girls", or flagmakers.

When the factory at 6 Vine Street became inadequate, new premises were acquired in Southampton Street and Exeter Street, both close to the Strand

Two John Browning spectroscopes (dating from c.1890) are on display at the World Museum, Liverpool, one four prism and one six prism version.

In later years Browning's business declined

1900 W. Watson and Sons acquired John Browning and Co.

After 1904 other premises in the Strand were acquired for the shop.

c.1905 John Browning retired

The firm continued to operate under Browning's name until 1945.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 25 Dec 1855