Thursday, 28 October 2010

Book III: Something of Boss & Co Guns

Boss & Co
Boss & Co can trace its origins to 1773, when William Boss began his apprenticeship in Birmingham. In the late eighteenth century he moved to Joseph Manton’s firm in London and his son Thomas Boss was apprenticed to Manton. When Thomas finished his apprenticeship in 1812, he started his own firm in St James’s Street, where he began making Best Guns only. This policy is still applied, prompting King George VI to say:

“A Boss gun, a Boss gun……bloody beautiful, but too bloody expensive!”

It is true to say that they are still, unashamedly, amongst the most expensive new guns in the world.

A Boss gun was such a favourite with Papa Hemingway that he used one to end it all.

The firm does, by popular demand, also make a more economical model, called the ‘Robertson’, named after John Robertson, who bought the firm in 1891 and devised the Boss single trigger in 1894, the Boss ejector in 1898 and their own over-and-under in 1909.

After a few moves around the West End, the shop and the workshop are now at Kew Bridge. A selection of shots of a fine pair of Boss & Co side-by-side shotguns is shown in the picture, courtesy of Boss & Co.


  1. Dear Nicholas,

    I wrote a review of your first book History of Men's Fashion on the Gentleman's Gazette.

    Meanwhile, there is quite an interesting discussion going on about Washington Tremlett and the tie from 1892. Maybe you can add some enlightening insights to it...

    Have a great weekend and best regards to Brazil,


  2. Summary of book review: this book is crap! Whoah! I am surprised that you haven't fired off a salvo about it, Nicholas! I actually found the book quite informative and diverting. Trouble is that some people lack a sense of humour! Mebe.

  3. Jed, Didn't Oscar Wilde say that there is only one thing worse than being talked about ... and that is not being talked about?

  4. Dear Jed,

    I thought the book was entertaining and I liked it. Would I buy it for the pictures? no. Would I suggest it to somebody who is a novice and wants to learn about the history of men's fashion or a how to guide? no. However, I would definitely recommend it to somebody who has been interested in men's clothing for a while.

    If you felt offended by my review, Nicholas, I apologize since that was not my intention.

  5. Raphael,
    I am not offended at all. Some of the pictures were not my choice; neither, as you say, was the book's title. The better pictures should have appeared in plates (they will in Books II and III) as they were all, as it happens,of a high resolution and there was some waste. I do think that the Spy cartoons are a rich resource and the photo of Duff Cooper was from a private collection. Reproduction of coloured photos is something that publishers are wary of because of the cost and authors have no control over this. The review, overall, seemed well balanced to me and any author should be grateful to be recognized.