The London Armoury Company was a short lived arms manufacturer based in London, England. It was founded in 1856 by renowned gun designer Robert Adams, before becoming a crucial supplier to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The L.A.C. closed in 1866, having lost it's largest customer when the CSA was defeated a year earlier (with many of its employees switching to the London Small Arms Company Ltd. in the same year).
The London Armoury Company was founded when Robert Adams left Deane, Adams and Deane (where he'd been a manager) left the group following a dispute. Adams, with money from his cousin James Kerr, founded the L.A.C. on the 9th of February 1856 on the former site of the South-Eastern Railway Company in Bermondsey, London and began to produce the Beaumont-Adams Revolver and the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled musket (following a contract negotiation with the British Government).
However, by 1859 the L.A.C. became divided. The shareholders of the Company voted to increase rifle production at the cost of reducing revolver production. Adams, whose main interest laid in the design and production of revolvers, fundamentaly disagreed with this decision and decided to sell his stock and leave the group. Although the L.A.C. had lost (arguably) its best designer (and his patents), the company lived on, with James Kerr taking over the running of the L.A.C.
The American Civil War and AfterEditThe early 1860s were the most valuable years for the L.A.C. as the American Civil War engulfed America. The L.A.C. negotiated a contract with Major Caleb Huse and Captain James D. Bulloch of the Confederate States of America to supply the Confederacy with rifles and revolvers. This resulted in 70,000 Pattern 1853 Enfields and between 7,000 - 11,000 Kerr Percussion Revolvers being shipped to America (although how many actually arrived is unclear due to the Union's Blockade). The CSA often recognised L.A.C.'s firearms as the best from Britain.
However the L.A.C. became too entwined with the CSA (even being loosely associated as it's British base) and the defeat of the CSA hit the group hard. The L.A.C. struggled on for a year before closing in 1866, with the majority of its work force heading to the new London Small Arms Company Ltd.
ProductsEditThe L.A.C. was one of the principle producers for the Confederate States of America, producing revolvers and rifles for the Confederates. Below is a list of the products that L.A.C. produced for both the CSA and the Civilian Market:
- Pattern 1853 Enfield (on behalf of the British Government and the CSA)
- Kerr Percussion Revolver
- Beaumont-Adams Revolver (pre-Adams departure)
- Deane and Adams Revolver (pre-Adams departure)
The L.A.C. had a considerable list of associated companies, which varied from contracted arms manufacturers to transport companies and blockade runners. Below is a list of known associated groups and companies that worked alongside (or indeed against) the L.A.C.:
- Deane, Adams and Deane (Robert Adams' former company and main rivals in London).
- Colt London (Samuel Colt closed the Colt factory in London in the wake of the success of the Beaumont-Adams Revolver).
- Birmingham Small Arms Co. (Major supplier to the British Army).
- RSAF Enfield (Major supplier to the British Army).
- London Small Arms Company Ltd (Effectively replaced the L.A.C. in 1866).
- Willoughbe, Willoughbe & Ponsonby (ran L.A.C. guns through Union Blockades).
- Massachusettes Arms Company (Contracted to produce Adams' revolvers).
http://bermondseyboy.net/2010/08/16/bermondsey-yesterday-and-today/page90/ - LAC Stamp Image.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kerr_revolver.jpg - Kerr Percussion Revolver Image