WW Greener St Marys Works – Brimm & 68 Haymarket London

Provenance: Ex: Ralph Finch collection, American Glass Gallery

This outstanding target ball is from England and was made by the famous gun-making firm of W. W. Greener located on St. Marys Square in London. The building still stands and is around the corner from the Piccadilly Circus. The Greener name and address is embossed on the 2 5/8″, 3-piece mold ball. In a beautiful medium amethyst coloration, there is a raised quilted diamond pattern above and below a centered band that contains the embossed copy reading WW GREENER ST MARYS WORKS – BRIMM & 68 HAYMARKET LONDON. We suspect this inspired Captain Adam Henry Bogardus when he patented his Bogardus ball in America in 1877.

The history of W. W. Greener began in 1829, when William Greener, who had been working in London for Manton, a prominent gun maker, returned to his hometown of Newcastle and founded the W. Greener Company. In November 1844, he determined that most of the materials and components he used for gun-making came from Birmingham, so he moved his business from Newcastle to Birmingham.

During the period of 1845-58, W. Greener was appointed to make guns for Prince Albert. Money obtained from supplying South Africa with two-groove rifles enabled the company to erect a factory on ‘Rifle Hill’, Aston, in 1859. It was around this time that the company began to really prosper. Greener was a firm believer in the concept of muzzleloaders and refused to make any breechloaders. His son, William Wellington Greener, struck out a line of his own and named his company the W.W. Greener Company. They produced his first breechloader in 1864. When William Greener died in 1869, the two companies were amalgamated together as the W.W. Greener Company and carried on by William Wellington Greener. W.W. Greener is still in business.

Primary Museum Image: Lot 558: “WW GREENER ST MARYS WORKS – BIRMM & 68 HAY-MARKET LONDON” Target Ball, England, 1875 – 1900. Medium amethyst, quilted diamond pat-tern above and below center band, 3-piece mold, rough sheared mouth, dia. 2 5/8”, perfect. Beautiful color, nice clarity, outstanding condition, a very attractive and desirable example. Note, the Greener building still stands on Haymarket, around the corner from the Piccadilly Circus. – The Ralph Finch Collection of Target Balls, Traps and Shooting Ephemera, An Absentee Auction in Six Parts – 2017-2019, John Pastor and American Glass Gallery

Secondary Museum Image: Lot 675: “WW GREENER ST MARYS WORKS – BIRMM & 68 HAY-MARKET LONDON” Target Ball, England, 1875 – 1900. Cobalt blue, quilted diamond pattern above and below center band, 3-piece mold, rough sheared mouth, dia. 2 5/8”, perfect. A great example with crisp, very strong embossing, in a beautiful, deep vivid color. – The Ralph Finch Collection of Target Balls, Traps and Shooting Ephemera, An Absentee Auction in Six Parts – 2017-2019, John Pastor and American Glass Gallery

Read: What are target balls? I’m glad you asked! By Ralph Finch

Support: W.W. Greener, Maker of Fine Guns Since 1829

Support Images: Jeff Wichmann and American Bottle Auctions, Alex Kerr Collection.

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