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About William Tranter

William Tranter born 1816 at Oldbury nr Birmingham and was the eldest son of Thomas and Mary Tranter. Thomas' occupation was a blacksmith. William had four brothers and four sisters and in 1830 at the age of 14 was apprenticed to the gunsmithing firm of Hollis Bros & Birmingham. He left Hollis Bros in 1839 and bought out the business of Robert Dugard at 29.5 Whittall Street, Birmingham with a small legacy left to him by an uncle. An advertisement in 1841 read
"William Tranter (successor to R. Dugard), Gun and Pistol maker, for home and exportation, No.29.5 Whittall Street, Birmingham. Percussion caps, waddings, implements, barrels, locks, and furniture of every description."
He stayed at the Whittall Sreet address until 1849. In 1846 he took on his younger brother David as an apprentice.
He was also in partnership with John and Isaac Hollis in Hollis Brothers and Co. at 10-11 Weaman Row between 1844 and 1849, and also with Isaac Brentnall Sheath from 1845. Tranter had shops, sheds and steam machinery, yard and premises at 50 Loveday Street between 1854 and 1860. By 1851 Tranter's factory was at 13 St Mary's Row in the heart of Birmingham's Gun Quarter.
Up until, and possibly after 1853 he manufactured over 8000 1851 Adams revolvers under license. About 1853 he started making the first of his double trigger, double action revolvers. This model was built on the Adams frame and had a detachable rammer which fitted onto a peg attached to the frame. Circa 1854/5 production began on a new model, the rammer being secured by a keyed peg on the frame and a hook on the barrel. This rammer could still be removed by turning it around to the appropriate position.He also manufactured his own version of the Beaumont Adams revolver, known as the Tranter/Adams/Kerr.

Modern Times:


In the 1990s, Gary Clark of ProGun services acquired the rights, books and records to William Tranter. Gary  (pictured right) has a worldwide reputation as a craftsman of competition pistols delivering several thousand.

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