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  1. #1
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    Finally.. I have a Gibbons patent 23 Mk II

    Got a Gibbons patent no 23 MK 2 at Militaria fair yesterday, for a 2 figure sum too.
    There’s not really much about them on the net, anyone know any history?
    The spring is quite readable, better than it looks in pic, says “ Gibbons Patent Applied For 15094/16”
    there is plenty of dark paint on body, and remains of white paint on body and lever.
    There is no centre tube, however I noticed that the filler screw hole has a thread in it, so I assume these bodies, plugs, levers and pins were pulled off production to be made up into Gibbons trainers?
    So who was Mr Gibbon? I wonder what Mr Mills thought about him altering his design and applying a new patent to it!! ?
    Oh, I do a lot of car booting, and at them over last 2 years or so I’ve picked up a Mills Golf Putter marked W Mills, Sunderland, and a W Mills shooting stick, I believe it’s the same person?

  2. #2
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    Added pics.

    Seems this forum doesn’t like my iPad or vice verse, couldn’t edit pics into 1st post.

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  4. #3
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    Interesting! I would have thought that the patent only applies to the spring, not the grenade, as it is still a No.23 MkII?
    As the grenade has dark paint and white, it seems likely that it started life as a live grenade and has been converted to a practice?
    According to Tranter's "British hand and rifle grenades" these practice grenades had a Detonator, No.23 Grenade, MkI (dummy) and were filled with sand, so the centre tube has been mislaid at some time in it's lengthy life.

    W.M.Gibbons was a Sheffield cutler turned arms manufacturer and served on the 'Sheffield Committee on munitions of war' as Secretary.

    The Sheffield Committee on Munitions of War, a body which existed during the First World War, consisting of correspondence with the Ministry of Munitions relating to contracts for armaments, together with copies of contracts placed, stock records, minutes, and various ledgers relating to output, materials and accounts.
    Shamelessly copied and pasted from;
    https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/library/special/shefmun

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  6. #4
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    mvc-062s.jpgmvc-064s.jpg
    Nice find , they are not that common . Here's 3 I have being examples of the 23 1 . 2 & 3 . There are also No 5's & 36's . Ideally , your one should have a JGW base plug . I'll leave it to others to describe the importance of James Gibbons to the development of the Mills grenade but suffice it to say it was essential . They don't have centre tubes by the way . Hope this helps . Mike .

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  8. #5
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    Nice grenade. The patent applied for on the spring is quite rare. In my experience maybe 1 in 10 have it. Most of these springs are plain.

    Francis Joseph James Gibbons was a lockmaker and gunsmith in Wolverhampton. His company started making the Mills No 5 and the No 23 Mk I and II in 1916.

    He patented his practice grenade with patent number 123, 028.

    In 1917 he patented the locking safety pin for the Mills which was adopted by the Belgian Army but rejected by the British Army. This was patent 111,949.

    However his biggest contribution was the design of the lever / striker for the No 23 Mk III and the No 36. This was patent 110,068 of December 1916. This was his key invention and made the Mills grenade much safer. His patent was built around the No 5 but the lever design was simplified and used from the No 23 Mk III.

    Post war his factories started making metal window frames, some of which are still in Fort Dunlop in Birmingham today.
    William Mills - Thank you!

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nismosonic View Post
    Oh, I do a lot of car booting, and at them over last 2 years or so I’ve picked up a Mills Golf Putter marked W Mills, Sunderland, and a W Mills shooting stick, I believe it’s the same person?
    Yes it's the same person. Mills started making golf clubs in Sunderland, but the shooting sticks were made there and in Birmingham. Oddly some of the shooting sticks are marked Mills Munitions! I assume these were made in WW1. Mills even had a patend for these 'folding sticks'.
    William Mills - Thank you!

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  12. #7
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    Thankyou all for info. Appears I have a baseplug to find, will straight swap for one on it, if one available, but not that fussed, the one on it hasn’t been used and a part of its own history now.

  13. #8
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    Apologies gents, it would appear that my sources had the wrong Gibbons!

    Grenades are not my forte, as you may have gathered.....

  14. #9
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    Here's a photo of the plug you need. Sorry, no longer have this one.

    RSCN5632.jpg

    John
    William Mills - Thank you!

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  16. #10
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    Last edited by ludokhan; 14th November 2017 at 08:46 PM.

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