Orders dwindled to such an extent that they were forced to a decision; they must either buy machinery or go out of business. It was a valuable order, being worth £98,750, but like so many in the future it was only inspired by alarm. was asked as a matter of extreme urgency to state the number of Snider rifles it could turn out by the end of the following March. With no Government work on hand or likely, almost all the machinery had been adapted to fulfil a Russian contract for rifles.
Finally, at a meeting of members of the Birmingham Small Arms Trade in June, 1861, it was resolved to form a company, "The Birmingham Small Arms Company", to manufacture euns by machinery. The Cabinet, suddenly fearful lest Britain become involved in the Austro-Prussian war, decided that the whole army must be equipped with breech-loading weapons. muzzle-loading rifle had triumphed in the Queen's prize at the National Rifle Association meeting, then held at Wimbledon. Work on this order had not begun because of last minute alterations to the design. could supply 20,000 in the stipulated period and a further 48,000 in the following year.
Another arms boom followed the French Revolution of 1848, orders flowing in from Sardinia, Sicily and Denmark, and not only did the Birmingham makers fulfil big contracts for new weapons but, what was more, they were able to dispose of large quantities of old stock at enhanced prices. By the end of the year preliminary work was begun on the company's first big order—20,000 Enfield rifles for the Turkish Government. Goodman, who remained chairman until his death in 1900 at the age of 83, might well be described as the company's guardian angel. would have survived some of the crises through which it passed in the latter part of the 19th Century.In the summer of 1855 Enfield had started to produce weapons by machinery, and by the time peace was declared in April, 1856, it had attained output of more than 2,000 rifles and carbines a week; thenceforward its activities had a progressively adverse effect on the trade of Birmingham. It was in the summer of 1866, just five years after its formation, the company received its first British Government contract.The city's gunsmiths continued to preach the gospel of the hand-made weapon, but inevitably it was a losing struggle. It was not for new rifles but for the conversion within 20 months of 100,000 muzzle-loaders into breech- loading weapons on the principle evolved by Snider, a Dutch-American wine merchant.By 1909 they were offering a number of motorcycles for sale and in 1910 BSA purchased the British Daimler Company for its automobile engines.During World War I, the company returned to arms manufacture and greatly expanded its operations.BSA produced rifles and Lewis guns, but also shells, motorcycles and other vehicles for the struggle.