Our Rich Heritage

The Eley family has an impressive history of talent and innovation resulting in the continued evolution of the cartridge industry, aiding sportsmen worldwide and the military along the way.

The Eley family name can originally be traced back to their agricultural roots in Derbyshire. However, the Eley family is much better known for their dealings during the mid 18th century as London silversmiths.

Unfortunately, at the age of 47, William Eley inadvertently blew himself up whilst trying to experiment with a new percussion cap.

Despite this terrible tragedy, the Eley Cartridge Company was eventually led by William Thomas Eley (son of William), and his two brothers Charles and Henry. But it was William who became the driving force of the business, growing it into one of the largest ammunition-producing factories in the world. William was an inventive genious in terms of cartridge improvements, but he also masterminded a revolutionary new way of producing percussion caps.

To this day all Eley Hawk shotgun ammunition is manufactured in England to the exacting qualities demanded by shooters worldwide. Maxam have invested heavily in the Eley Hawk manufacturing processes, moving to a state of the art factory based in Sutton Coldfield.

Take a Journey Through Our History


In 1828 the first historic record of Eley's existence as a cartridge manufacturer; Charles Eley appears on an advertisement launching Eley Patent Cartridges as "the greatest improvement ever produced in gunnery". The two brothers, William and Charles, worked together to acquire the rights to produce the Jenour cartridge, jointly founding the Eley Cartridge Company which opened a factory in Old Bond Street in 1828.


William Thomas Eley takes out the patent 2487 for combustable paper cartridges


During the early 1870s ammunitions suppliers worldwide were in huge demand. New types of ammunition were required by the military, thus creating a need for new machinery capable of manufacturing these new products. In order to finance this demand, the Eley Brothers decided in 1874 to become a limited company.


In 1898 and again in 1900, Eley won awards for their products at the two Paris Exhibitions. The Grand Prix award, was one in a list of many the company had gained during its existence. However, it was this latter award which led the company to introduce a shotgun cartridge in March 1903 which was to bear its name.


In 1924 Eley introduce the first special Trap shooting cartridge to respond to the rise of clay trap shooting (this naturally arose as a sport, due to the decline of wild bird game shooting post World War I, as bird numbers dropped).


In 1933 Eley pioneers the first plastic shotgun cartridge.


The Eley Kleena fibre based wad started its life in 1959, and was a unique development in cartridges as it cleaned out the shotgun barrels when fired.


The Eley name lives on through the formation fo the Imperial Chemicals Industry Ltd. As part of ICI gorup Eley continues to thrive as a brand.


1989 Eley Hawk company formed and production returns to Witton site.


In 2002 Eley shotgun ammunition was bought by the Maxam group, Europe's largest manufacturer of explosives and shotgun ammunition. The intention of Maxam is to continue growing and develop Britain's oldest shotgun ammunition manufacturer into a world leader building on it's longstanding reputation for excellence.


Eley Hawk wins the coveted Shooting Industry awards prize for the Superb Cartridge


Yet again in 2012 Eley Hawk win the shooting industry award for the best clay cartdidge with Eley Trap .410

  • 1828
  • 1854
  • 1874
  • 1898
  • 1924
  • 1933
  • 1959
  • 1962
  • 1989
  • 2002
  • 2004
  • 2012

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