GEORGE KYNOCH MOST PEOPLE know that ‘ICI’ means Imperial Chemical Industries and that this combine embraces many different industries (such as alkalies, explosives, paints, fibres) including a Metals Division at Birmingham. This was founded in 1862 as a small explosives factory at Witton, three miles from Birmingham. It was managed and later owned by George Kynoch (1834–91) and made percussion caps and cartridges. Caps were originally made to ignite the gunpowder in sporting and other guns, later the whole arrangement of explosive cap, gunpowder or other explosive, bullet or pellets was put together in a paper case called a ‘cartridge’. Later the container was stiffened cardboard for sporting guns and brass for rifles. The ‘solid‐drawn’ (i.e. drawn out from a blank by hammering) brass cartridge case was Kynoch's invention in the 1880's. He made cartridges for the British and all other governments, friendly or otherwise, who cared to buy them and pay for them (like Shaw's Andrew Undershaft). Later, Kynoch allowed his ambition to be a public figure (he was M.P. and Chairman of Aston Villa) to interfere with his devotion to his work as managing director. He was forcibly retired from the company he had founded and died in obscurity.
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