Our History

Despite being a progressive, forward-thinking firm, we’re nevertheless proud of our long history.

In 1864, when Queen Victoria was on the throne and Abraham Lincoln was President of the U.S.A., the founder of our firm, John Guy Wilson, opened his office at No. 109 Market Street, Manchester, where he practised as Patent Agent, Practical and Mechanical Engineer, and Draughtsman, under the title of John G. Wilson & Co. John G. Wilson built up the business until his death in the 1890s.

The firm was subsequently taken over by John James Royle, a prolific inventor and the owner of a significant engineering business in Manchester. In fact one of the oldest surviving exhibits of articles patented by our firm is Mr Royle's self-pouring teapot (Patent no. 6327 of 1886). On the retirement of John J. Royle in 1901 Walter Gunn took over the expanding practice and the firm was subsequently renamed Wilson Gunn.

Offices in Birmingham and London were added in 1998 and 2001, respectively. However, these offices have histories of their own. Prior to becoming part of Wilson Gunn the Birmingham office had been owned by three generations of the Skerrett family, since being founded by Henry Skerrett in 1884. The London office was founded by HTP Gee and dates back to the early 1900's. His firm, trading under the name Gee & Co, later moved to Chancery House, Chancery Lane, in the heart of the London legal district, and is overlooked by Wilson Gunn's current London office which is located in the former Patent Office building.

Over the years we have protected a wide variety of ground breaking inventions and have secured protection for numerous household names. Our firm has a long history. Some of our papers sank with the Titanic in 1912. As it so happens we patented the lifeboat-men's whistles used on that ship. Through us, our clients have protected everything from machine gun belts to fire retardant foams and from microprocessors to biochemical inventions involving DNA sequences. Our offices in Manchester were severely bombed in 1996 and yet we are still here today - an indication of the strength of the firm. In fact, as far as we are aware, we have the only modern day bomb tested records system in the UK!

Whilst we are able to draw on 150 years of history, Wilson Gunn has always been, and remains today, a progressive forward thinking firm. We were one of the first firms of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys to establish a presence on the Internet in 1995. This approach has ensured that we have always kept pace with our clients' changing needs.

Although the trading style may have changed over the years, our commitment to the highest professional standards remains the same. We now have over 50 staff across our various offices, linked by the latest technology. As we reflect on our past history, we look forward to our 150th anniversary, and beyond, with confidence in our future.


To the inventor
and man of genius labouring to bring
out some important creation of his own ingenuity there is no more important institution than the Patent Office and Registry of Designs, where he can protect and make secure the results of his labours.

John G. Wilson (1842 - 1892) - Founder

History of Wilson Gunn

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