Born in the late 1700s the first John Dickson was apprenticed as a gunmaker in Edinburgh in 1806, founding his own company in 1820 - a company which continued to be family run until 1936. In the late 1960s, Dicksons acquired control of many other famous Scottish gunmakers including Mortimer (founded in 1740) and the Henry Rifle Company. Angling interests were extended too with the acquisition of Alex Martin.
In 1999 the owners of James MacNaughton bought the shareholding of John Dickson & Son Ltd and formed the company trading under the name of Dickson & MacNaughton. In so doing many of the most famous names in Scottish Gunmaking were brought together under one roof, these are:
John Dickson & Son was established in Edinburgh in 1820. The company gained fame through its round action shotgun, for which a patent was taken out in 1882. Its distinguished customers included Lord Byron, who bought his duelling pistols here.
James MacNaughton set up business in Edinburgh in 1864 and won acclaim for the 'Lock Fast Breechloader' and the 'Edinburgh Patent Hammerless Ejector', patented in 1879. This trigger plate action shotgun was similar to that of John Dickson's. Both companies went to court to claim design rights for the 'Round Action'.
A name long associated with high quality sporting single and double rifles. The firm was established in Edinburgh in 1873. In 1916 it closed down, with some of the stock and equipment being taken over by John Dickson.
Established in Paisley in 1837, this distinguished firm recently became incorporated with John Dickson. Its most famous speciality was the ribless shotgun and the regulation of .303 Lee Enfields and other rifles.
Alex Henry set up his business in 1853 in Edinburgh. He developed the rifling for the Martini-Henry rifle, first used by the British Army in 1871, and was acclaimed for the high quality of his single and double rifles.
Thomas Mortimer was the scion of a famed London gun-making family, H & T Mortimer, established in 1755 in Fleet Street. In 1835 Thomas came to Edinburgh to set up in Princes Street. In 1938 the business merged with John Dickson.