Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gardner, William (1844-1887)

GARDNER, WILLIAM (1844–1887), inventor of the Gardner gun, a native of Ohio, U.S.A., afterwards resided in England, where most of his inventions were developed. Possessing a strong mechanical bent he early abandoned the study of the law to carry out certain improvements in firearms. About 1870 he submitted to the British military authorities a magazine pistol, which was not approved. In 1876 he perfected the machine gun which bears his name, and which after long competitive trials was introduced into the British service five years later. Various improvements in firearms, &c., patented by him in the United Kingdom appear in the Patent Lists for 1882–4. Shortly before his death ‘Captain’ Gardner, as he was called, had perfected an improved quick-firing cannon. He died suddenly at Henley Lodge, St. Leonards-on-Sea, 20 Jan. 1887, aged 43.

[Information furnished by the general agent, Gardner Gun Co. (Lim.), London.]

H. M. C.