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Alexander Henry, Edinburgh, Scotland

Alexander HenryAlexander Henry (1818-1894) was an Edinburgh gunmaker of muzzle and breech loading rifles including the Henry Fraser two position rifle. Henry's rifling was famously used on the Martini-Henry rifle, adopted by the British Army.

Picture right from - Edinburgh Museums & Galleries: The Museum of Edinburgh (courtesy Richard Brown)

Henry Rifles

  • Rifle No. 824 - Cased match rifle complete with original accessories
  • Henry-Fraser Two Position Rifle - A.Henry & D.Fraser: Improvement in Fire-Arm. United States Patent Office. Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 201,524, dated 19 March 1878. (nb. the British Patent was applied for on 21 April 1877 and granted on 6 July 1877, under Patent No. 1559). Muzzle and breech loading versions of this rifle are known.

The Henry Rifle

Alexander Henry's Patent for barrels is number 2802, dated 15 November 1860. In brief the patent abridgement reads: "The rifled bore is of polygonal cross-section, and is provided, in addition, with curved, square, or angular spiral projections or grooves, so as to increase the bearing points of the projectile."

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The Henry Rifle

At the latter end of 1860, a short paragraph "went the round of the papers," to the effect that a new rifle had been patented by an Edinburgh gunmaker. It was further stated that the inventor had, in a recent trial of his rifle, scored as many as eight points out of six shots at 1100 yards, the first shot being a miss, and the remaining five being made, up of three centres and two outers. To say that this statement took the whole rifle world – makers and marksmen, by surprise, would give but a faint idea of the effect produced.

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Obituary: Alexander Henry (1818-1894)

In the death of Mr Alexander Henry, a well known Edinburgh volunteer and gunmaker has been removed. About the year 1859 Mr Henry took steps, along with other Edinburgh citizens, to bring the formation of volunteer corps in Edinburgh. Although the gun barrel which made Mr Henry's name known was invented in 1859, it was not till 1871 when it had stood the test of exhaustive trials that it was adopted by the Government, when it superseded the Snider breechloader.

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