Inventor of The Machine Gun.
On a hot summer day in 1914 a bullet from a Browning automatic pistol held in the hand of a crazy Serbian snuffed out the life of an Austrian Archduke, and the world was bathed in blood.
Around this time, the United States entered the war in an attempt to restore peace. They also adopted the Browning Machine Gun. Many questioned why the Browning and why not the Lewis or Maxim guns? Some had never heard of Browning and thought that they were a new player in the gun game. Not hardly!
A Little History of the Man named Browning:
In 1847, Adventurous men with hardy spirits were turning their eyes to the West, where unknown lands were plentiful risking much to discover what lay beyond the outposts of civilization. No man in his right mind set out without a gun. It also had to be a good dependable weapon, not just for self protection but for making sure to collect wild game for food.
Out in Council Bluffs, Iowa there was a small Gun shop where men knew they could get reliable Guns. Jonathan Browning, the gunsmith was a man whose products could be trusted. A pioneer going into his shop saw a small foot lathe and a few home made tools and machines. In one corner was a pile of scrap and a boy was usually found playing there. More than one had made the comment of the boy playing, saying a chip off the old block huh?
That boy, was John M Browning, who would eventually supply the United States Army with Machine Guns. In 1852 Jonathan Browning loaded his foot lathe on a ox train, together with his tools and machines and moved further west. The entire shop was moved over miles of plains ending up in Ogden Utah. Young John could be found in his fathers shop nearly every day. His interest in the scrap pile became more constructive. He would take discarded parts of guns and build guns for himself.
It was a proud day when the Browning family sit down for a delicious meal of wild chicken that he himself had shot with the first gun he had ever built. He then proceeded to make guns for his brothers, using pieces from the scrap heap after that there was never in short supply of meat for the Browning table.
Not long after his 13th birthday, his father noticed that he had devoted considerable time to whittling. Before he had reached his 14th birthday he shocked his father by showing him designs in breech mechanisms for rifles in which he had whittled out of blocks of wood. A little later he made the model for his first single shot rifle. When you consider the simple equipment that was in the Browning shop, you would understand that this was no small achievement. The single shot rifle was a great success, everyone who saw it wanted one and the orders came pouring in. Orders came so fast that young John had difficulty in completing all of them. He finally talked his brothers into working for him and they managed to turn out 500 rifles.
Someone showed one of the rifles to the Winchester Company, with the results of Winchester acquiring the patents. Then the name of Browning was removed. The Winchester single shot rifle as it was called was made in several calibers, from .22 to .45. This was the beginning of a long career as a inventor of firearms.
For many years all of the Browning inventions went to the Winchester Company. After the single shot rifle, the Winchester arms known as the 1886 model rifle, the lever shotgun, the 90 model rifle, 92 model rifle, 94 model rifle, 95 model rifle, 97 model shotgun and the 1900 model rifle were Browning inventions. Mr. Browning was perfectly satisfied to do his work well and let it rest there. It never occurred to him to se his name appear on his guns. That is why thousands of Americans who have used his guns did not know who he was.
The 86 model rifle was so great an improvement on the rifle that went before it that the old rifles were mostly discarded. The 86 model was the first repeating rifle equipped with a sliding vertical lock. The 92 model rifle had the distinction of accompanying Admiral Peary on his expedition to the North Pole. So instead of being new in the gun business you can see Mr. Browning was a veteran.
He began his experiments with machine guns in the early 1890’s, and as a result of these experiments he produced the Colt machine gun. The Colt machine gun was eventually adopted by the United States Army and Navy. It played a large role in the Spanish War and also during the Boxer uprising in China. The story of the heroic company of United States Marines who saved the foreign legations from destruction could never have been written if it had not been for the the Browning Machine gun. It was the effective use of two of these guns that kept the Chinese back.
The first automatic pistol designed by Browning was produced by the Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre of Liege, Belgium. It was one of these pistols that killed the Austrian Archduke. When the war broke out, over a million of these Automatic pistols had been manufactured. Because of the manufacture of these pistols in Belgium that John M Browning was better known in Europe than his home country of the United States. The Colt automatic pistol which adopted in 1911 by competitive tests by the United States for the use in all armed forces of the United States of America and the National Guard, was an invention of Mr. Browning.
When war broke out in Europe, Mr. Browning’s new automatic rifle was being made in a factory in Liege, Belgium. A few thousand had been sold abroad, but before any were shipped to the United States the Germans seized the factory and shipped the machinery to Germany.
Mr Browning being a modest man has been highly honored because of his inventions. In 1905 he received the much coveted Joh Scott legacy medal from the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia and in 1914 he was decorated by the King of the Belgians with the decoration of Chevalier de I’Order de Leopold.
Anyone who has ever heard the staceato bark of a machine gun cannot help but admire the ingenious mechanism in which enables it to make the recoil place a cartridge in its chamber, fire the cartridge, throw out the empty shell and take a new cartridge from the belt and repeat the action with startling rapidity.
This would never have been possible if it was for a little boy sitting on a scrap gun pile day after day in his fathers shop in a place called Ogden, Utah.