Light dragoons flintlock by William Ketland & Co, London. Circa 1802-1810 with the Tower Private Proof marks
[the crossed sceptres and crown stamped twice.] visible on the barrel. Mint condition with an excellent working action.
Thomas Ketland & Co. was a well-regarded gun manufacturing firm, established in Birmingham, England, around 1760 by Thomas Ketland Sr. Widely recognized for his entrepreneurial prowess, Thomas Sr. managed to swiftly elevate his business, which initially started in 1760, to a new level of success. His diligent efforts paid off around 1790 when the company began its expansion into the lucrative export market.
Despite the founder's death in 1816, the business persevered, continuing to manufacture high-quality flintlock pistols and hand guns, thereby fortifying its esteemed reputation within the field of gun manufacture. However, the firm eventually succumbed to bankruptcy, ceasing operations in 1821.
Thomas Ketland Sr's eldest son, W. Ketland, was not just a mere successor, but an active partner in his father's business alongside William Walker. However, his partnership ended when he decided to liquidate his share of the firm in 1800, leading to the partnership's dissolution a year later in 1801. W. Ketland passed away in 1804, yet his namesake business managed to persevere until at least 1831. The narrative of an earlier W. Ketland gunmaker dating back to the 1740s, as suggested by Gardner, remains unverified.
The records indicate W. Ketland began trading under his name by mid-1801, possibly even as early as the end of 1800, although the directory dates only span from 1808 to 1831.
The Philadelphia-based Ketlands were Thomas Ketland Sr's other two sons, Thomas Jr. and John. Unlike their father and older brother, Thomas Jr. and John didn't craft guns. Instead, they were merchant princes residing in Philadelphia from 1789 to 1815 and 1800 respectively. Arms were only a minor aspect of their expansive business.
The Ketland Co. undertook another significant milestone around 1801 when it started trading overseas. However, despite all its achievements and expansion efforts, the company eventually closed its operations around 1831.