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The Frank A. Hoppe Company was founded in 1903 by Frank August Hoppe. Born in 1875, Mr. Hoppe early on developed an interest in three specialties: sports, chemistry and soldiering. He successfully followed all three throughout his life, and by the time of his death in 1921, the Hoppe name had become known worldwide.
As a young man, he developed an interest in sports, especially target shooting and hunting. He was a pioneer member of the National Rifle Association, becoming a Life Member in 1912. Mr. Hoppe studied chemistry in school, and pursued a career in the field upon his graduation. His career was interrupted in 1895 at age 19, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
His interest in the military continued after the War's end, and while he resumed his career as an industrial chemist, he also served in the Pennsylvania National Guard with the rank of Captain.
During the early years of the twentieth century, smokeless powder began to replace the old black powder; and all ammunition was so extremely corrosive that the cleaning of a firearm was a long, tedious task. Mr. Hoppe began to explore combinations of chemicals to simplify the dirty job of cleaning rifle bores. His aim was to develop a product that would remove all primer, powder, lead and metal fouling from the rifle bore; while at the same time protecting it from rust.
His experiments eventually led him to perfect the combination of nine chemicals that was to become known as Hoppe's Nitro Powder Solvent No. 9. Mr. Hoppe began to manufacture No. 9 in the shed behind his home, and in no time at all, the shooting world was beating a path to his door. The formula has remained unchanged (and a closely guarded secret) to this day, no small tribute to the thoroughness of Mr. Hoppe's work.
Mr. Hoppe's achievement was recognized with a signal honor in 1982, when he was elected to the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame. There, he is joined by two other Brunswick legends: Company founder John Brunswick and R.D. Hull, whose invention of the spincast reel revolutionized the fishing industry.
Building upon the foundation provided by No. 9, Hoppe's has over the years expanded its reach into a wide range of shooting accessories. Some of its principal products today are gun cleaning kits; which typically include such items as rifle or pistol rods, No. 9 solvent, lubricating oil, patches and brushes.
Other well accepted products that have been added to the Hoppe's line over the past several decades are Protecto cases, shooting glasses, sound mufflers, clay target throwers and black powder products. (Black powder products are favored by history buffs and hobbyists who own muzzle loading rifles of the type that were used centuries ago, and who frequently employ them in re-enactments of Civil War battles and other military encounters.)