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He came from a family of sword-makers dating back over 250 years.Tom, a father of 23, had been making swords for Wilkinson Sword since he was 8 years old, and had also forged swords for Kings and Queens across the world.As a result of Henry Nock's experimentation, a sword testing machine was developed in 1844.It is still used in the Wilkinson sword manufacturing process nearly 160 years later.* James Wilkinson continued making guns for the Board of Ordnance as well as the leading gentry of the day as the Wilkinson Sword record books reveal – but he did not possess the innovative spirit of his forebear.Indeed it was his son Henry who took the company to even greater heights, extending the tradition of excellence into sword manufacture.Each sword was individually numbered and recorded so that owners, and their weapons, could be traced.As well as becoming Queen Victoria's appointed Sword and Gun Maker, Henry Wilkinson's list of customers grew rapidly to include HRH the Prince of Wales, the King of Naples, the King of Prussia, and numerous members of the House of Lords.
When the British Government placed an order for 10,000 flintlock muskets and bayonets – then by far the largest contract ever – Wilkinson Sword became universally known as the supreme gun maker of the age.
In 1804, James Nock was appointed Gun Maker to George III, thus beginning a relationship between Wilkinson Sword and the British monarchy, which has lasted to the present day.
On his death, that same year, Nock passed on the business to his apprentice and son-in-law, James Wilkinson, who had worked for the last ten years as Nock’s foreman and general manager.
Like Henry Nock, Henry Wilkinson worked very closely with the Master General of the Ordnance.
He carried out much experimental work with guns, and began developing many new patents.
Henry Wilkinson benefited from a good education, excelling in the sciences, and counted among his friends the discoverer of electricity, Michael Faraday.