Here at Pensbury Place, we have a large number of Rigby’s historical records, transactions and accounts, some of which go back to 1780.

They are housed in Accounts Ledgers, Day Books and Serial Number books.

To research a gun or rifle for a Rigby owner, we rely on the searchable records in five surviving Serial Number books.

Serial number records pre-dating 1871 are very brittle and dis-ordered. These are currently undergoing restoration and cannot currently be accessed.

The books we do have are:

Book 1  

Date: 1871 to 1883.

Serial Nos.13700 – 15463 (Dublin)

Book 2  

Date: 1872-1895.

Serial Nos.13793 – 16298 (London)

Book 3  

Date: 1883 to1897.

Serial Nos.15464 – 16554

This book also contains Rigby-Mauser records from Serial No.1000-1999

Book 4  

Date: 1892 to 1912.

Serial Nos.16299 – 17765

Book 5  

Dates: 1905 to 1906.

Serial Nos. 2400 – 5028.

Content is mostly additional production details on revolvers and Mauser rifles.

Mauser Book

Dates: 1902 to 1986.

Contains Rigby-Mausers from Serial Nos. 2000 – 6848

Details from the late 1960s onwards are not always fully recorded.

We have no records relating to the period during which Rigby was owned and operated from California (1996-2013).

Restoration

In late 2023, the Rigby began the process of investigating the content, condition and date-span of each book. Having produced a document recording all this, it was decided that 25 of the existing ledgers were in dire need of restoration.

All the Serial Number books listed above were included in that project and prioritised for re-binding and re-covering.

To take on the job, we recruited Ludlow Book Binders, who specialise in making limited edition leather bound editions of collector-grade books of all kinds. They also undertake historic book renovation, using traditional methods and materials.

Like our gunmakers, Ludlow Book Binders are still carrying out their trade by hand, with the aid of some impressive looking Victorian hand-powered machines and presses.

We chose a naturally-dyed, dark, Rigby blue leather for the covers and retained as much of each original book as possible. All the books, in fact, had been re-covered decades ago to a standard we would not countenance today, but that had, no doubt, extended their life somewhat.

The fronts are gold-embossed with the Rigby logo and the serial numbers and dates within.

With the first five Serial Number books now restored, we await the return of the earliest one, which was in very poor condition and will require a little more time, as the crumbling paper has to be stabilised, using a special Japanese tissue-paper that binds the old paper and dries transparent.

In addition to the Serial Number books, we have restored a single volume entitled, Actions & Barrels. This spans the period 1886 to 1936 and records details of the barrels and actions that started each Rigby gun and rifle in the workshop

Inside, such details as the source of the barrel tubes, the name of the actioner, the type of barrel (steel or Damascus) and other particulars are recorded.

In time we shall restore and further research the contents of all our books and we have no doubt that as we do so, more secrets from the past will be revealed.


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