William was an inventor and during his lifetime he invented; the expansive bullet (1835), an electric light (1846 - long before the modern ‘Ediswan’ lamp was patented in 1879), a device to open the four gates of the railway level crossing simultaneously, a self-righting lifeboat (1851) and modifications to the Miner’s Safety Lamp. But first and foremost he was a gunmaker and the quality of his guns soon attracted the rich and famous, among these Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. At The Great Exhibition of 1851 he won two gold medals and a diploma. He went on to win medals at the New York exhibition of 1853 and Paris Exposition of 1855. William wrote three books, The Gun in 1834, The Science of Gunnery in 1842 and Gunnery in 1858. He also wrote a pamphlet - The Proof House - The bane of trade - which was instrumental in reforming the Gun Barrel Proof House in the act of 1855.