Birmingham Small Arms; More than small arms…

Martini-Henry rifle, Snider-Enfield, Sten submachine gun

Some of the greatest legends of firearms production have emerged from the shops of Birmingham Small Arms, which was located to the Northwest of London, in Birmingham’s famous “Gun Quarter”.  Some of the work in these shops was farmed out from the government-run armory of the RSAF (Royal Small Arms Factory) at Enfield, a suburb of London.  These include mainstays such as the snider-Enfield, the Martini-Henry, the Lee-Metford, the legendary Lee-Enfield, the .303 RAF Browning, the Sten submachine gun and the modern LRL1A.  They also produced some heavier armaments such as cannon and anti-tank rifles.


Besides those legendary firearms, there were some other rather thrilling products that any gun or history enthusiast can also easily appreciate.  Birmingham Small Arms, also known as BSA also produced a very popular line of bicycles, cars and motorcycles.  At one point, BSA was the worlds largest and most popular motorcycle manufacturer.

BSA Bantam Mototrcycle, produced by Birmingham Small Arms, UK.

Like any old and venerated company, Birmingham Small Arms went through a large number of shifts and changes, and dealings with other very well-known companies like Daimler, Norton, Triumph, Raleigh, and others.  There were financial problems and successes along the way.  For awhile, the Royal Post Office used the BSA’s Bantam motorcycles to deliver telegrams.  They were also used by the Automobile Association for roadside services.


In 1930, BSA purchased the car manufacturer, Lanchester Motor Company Ltd. in Sparkbrook, Birmingham.  Lanchester operated from 1895 to 1955.  The Lanchester company had once been a part of BSA’s Armourers Mills small arms production facility.  The BSA line of cars, some still wearing the badge of Lanchester later changed hands to Daimler, Jaguar,  and most recently, Jaguar/rover which as of 2008 was owned by the Ford Motor Company.


BSA Motorcycles Ltd was in business from 1919 to 1972.  During that time, they produced some fine examples of what is now motorcycle history.  For a very short time in 1979, there were a few BSA motorcycles produced by BSA Regal.

1933 Lanchester / BSA 10

As can be easily expected, these wheeled gems of the 20th century continue to gleam in flawless glory in the hands of private collectors around the world.  While the BSA name has changed hands and undergone numerous changes, the name still endures.  2011 is the 150th anniversary of the BSA brand.  Today, only air and spring sporting guns are made in Birmingham at BSA Guns UK.  BSA bicycles are still made and sold by TI Cycles of India.  But the base of the marque’s history still shines as brightly as the chrome on the products of its past glory.


For a more heavily illustrated version of this article, please visit

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn Colors

Autumn Colors

No matter where you are, what you are doing on this Thanksgiving holiday, and no matter how much you have or do not have, this is a time to be thankful for what you do have.  This tradition, as most of you know was started in November of 1621, when the very first settlers to America sat down with the natives and commenced to have a feast and to give thanks for surviving that first brutally difficult and trying year in the New World.  This makes Thanksgiving one of America’s oldest holidays, though it did not officially become a national holiday until 1941.  No matter what your political views, this is meant to be a good time, to be had by all.  The tradition is beautiful and noble, and should always be held in that regard.

Whether or not you are of any religious faith, it is not necessarily required to be thankful.  As you have no doubt heard, things can always be worse.  In these difficult and bitter trying times for our nation, being thankful is more important than ever.  In spite of how things may be going at present, we still have so much for which to be thankful.  Please don’t allow malcontent moods and strife to overshadow the one day of the year where we should all be thankful for what we have.  Feel free to give thanks in your own peaceful and happy way.

From, and 4G Company, we wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and a safe and happy holiday season, which kicks off today!