Early Days and the Inception of Wilkinson Sword
Henry Nock was born in 1741in Staffordshire, in the vicinity of Birmingham. He learnt his trade as a gun locksmith in Birmingham, one of the largest industrial cities of England. At the age of 27 he made his way south to London.
In 1768, he set up his workshop on Elm Street in the Parish of St. Andrew, Holborn. His initial enterprises revolved around his trade of gun locksmith. It is recorded in the Board of Ordinance for November 16, 1770 that he submitted for approval a Tower Musket Lock. By 1772 Nock had taken on additional premises in Mount Pleasant. This exactly is the epoch of the creation of Wilkinson Sword
Apart from being a fine craftsman, Nock was a consummate pioneer in the realm of firearms. He has to his credit many innovations and inventions. One such patented invention was a removable octagonal barrel that could be easily maintained. This development came to be known as ‘Knox Form’. It is described in the patent application that the Barrel could be taken from the lock, which would render the Barrel exceedingly easy to be cleaned, and there would be no obstruction of the Breech Pin as in case of the other guns. Another exquisite example of his work was seven barrelled gun.
The Circa 1780- seven barrelled volley gun was a part of an order of 500 such weapons made and supplied by Nock during 1780 to the British military for £13 each. He was an astute businessman. He could understand that diversification was paramount to a successful business. The man credited for manufacture of edged weapons is none other than Henry Nock. In the Board of Ordnance records for December 20, 1777 it is recorded that he was advanced £200 for providing bayonets.
Undoubtedly, Henry Nock was one of the finest and the most influential arm makers of his time who produced some of the finest and the most exquisite guns of that era including the flintlock duelling pistols. In November, 1804 Henry Nock died and with no apparent heirs his business and stock in trade was left to James Wilkinson who was the husband of Ann, his adopted daughter. James Wilkinson went on to continue the legacy of exceptional gun making.Truly, Henry Nock personifies the literal meaning of ‘nock’. Just like an arrow placed on the bowstring ready for shooting, his success journey also followed a swift smooth course, hitting right at the target.