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Over 1500 Vintage Gun Catalogs & Manuals from 1850 to 1980... and more each month
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October 2007 Newsletter!

Used Hardcover books

If you are looking for a used book, try ADDALL ( click on the used book link). Addall is a service that searches all the used book sites such as Alibris, Amazon, Bibiotique and scores of independent bookshops from around the world. Give it a try.

Facts about some of my recent reprints:

I often use the The Greenhill Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers by John Walter, Greenhill/Stackpole Books 2001 - ISBN 1-85367-392-7 to answer many of the questions I get each week about the origins of gunmakers. Like many all-encompassing works, some of the information may be inaccurate but over-all it contains a wealth of facts, dates and important history of great old companies such as:

Last Fox Car Pic

 A single shot knuckle Duster derringer with a laterally swinging barrel was patented on February 1861 and was followed in 1863 by a .32 six chamber teat fire cartridge revolver. This had a hinged loading gate ahead of the cylinder but, as Moore had not claimed novelty in the ammunition, he was forced to pay royalties to David Williamson. Most of the revolvers acknowledge patents grated to Williamson in 1864 to protect the combination extractor/Cartridge retainer. Guns of this type were also briefly marked under the National Brand in 1866-1868.

 An 1866 Patent Williamson sliding barrel single shot derringer was made during 1866-1867, capable of handling rimfire cartridges or ball and powder.  The adaptor was an iron tube, not unlike an empty cartridge case, with a nipple to accept a conventional percussion cap. In December 1874, Moore was granted US Patent 157,860 to protect improvements in revolver design. The Patent was assigned to the Merwin Hulbert Company.

Needham was granted protection for a variety of firearms including the British Patent 31/73 of 1873 for a lever action magazine rifle, 1874 for a sported gun with a dropping barrel that also moved laterally, in 1875 for a drop barrel action and in 1879 with J T Atkinson for a magazine rifle with a revolving or hinged changer.  In 1884 with T. Hawker he received a patent for a hinged breech clock. Other patents included 12 Bore Uneedem Shotgun cartridges granted to Needham and Hinton and a special dagger handle. He also received a US patent in 1881 for a Breech Loader. This was assigned to WW Greener.


Gene Bishop has two Savage Model 29As with Serial Numbers 54926L and 54981L. They have checkered stocks and forearms but they have round barrels. I looked through pre-war all my catalogs and all Model 29As seem to have octagonal barrels.  He needs some evidence that they were made prewar as the serial numbers suggest. Can anyone help out there?

Newsletters are available online:

If you missed a newsletter or want to look up an old one, please go to my website www.cornellpubs.com and look on the top of the first page for a link to old newsletters. You may view them online and in color with pictures. Also, on the subject of newsletters, I send out the newsletter in both HTML and plain text format. This means that if your browser is not set up to view pictures and colors, you automatically get the plain text version. I hope this explains why some of you don't see the pictures referred to in the letters- I know it caused some confusion last month.

World Champion Shooter Ross Seyfried wrote a nice piece about us in the Fall issue of Double Gun and Single Shot Journal. Thanks Ross!

A Review

By Ross Seyfried

This is one those things that is simply a delight to be able to share. With once very humble and small beginnings, Cornell Press has expanded their list of old catalogs to an astounding level.

There are more than 1,000 titles, dating from 1850 to 1980, covering virtually every facet of firearms and ammunition. We find a plethora of British gunmakers and retailers. While the expected Westley Richards, Holland, Boss and Purdey are there, we also find impossible rarities like Rodda, Bonehill, and Osborne. These are thick catalogs with emphasis on the Indian Market, which means there is everything imaginable in them.’

Too, there is the vast selection of American makers, L. C. Smith, Winchester, Parker and many others. From the more common and available American maker’s catalogs, they diverge to some Continental makers and retailers. These are often things virtually unknown, because so much of this history was lost in WWII. Along with the arms there are ammunition catalogs, including those from vintage DWM, RWS, British and American ammunition makers. Of course they have many we cannot mention here: Smith & Wesson, Merwin & Hulbert, Colt, Sedgley and all sorts of other things different from the single shots and double barrels!

The “source” of many of these is quite interesting. Most of them come from collectors and historians like myself, who have loaned Abby their originals

New Cross Index for the Website:

I have what, I hope, will be a real help to those of you doing research on certain guns and manufacturers. I spent many hours this month preparing cross indexes for the most popular gun makers on the site. You will see the headings that have been cross indexed when you start to move about the website.

The cross indexes take the form of links to other catalogs that feature the make of gun featured on the page. For example, in addition to the Mauser catalogs listed with links on the Mauser page there are links to over 100 other catalogs we reprint that also feature Mauser products. I entered the links by date so if you are interested in a specific era and don't see a maker catalog for that year, chances are you will be able to reference a merchandise catalog featuring the guns. For instance, we don't have any catalogs issued by the Mauser company for the years 1900-1909, but we do have 15 catalogs by other entities selling Mauser guns and ammunition and you will find the links right on the Mauser page.

These links are interesting by themselves because they show the scope of trade for different eras and where guns were being sold and by whom. If you want to know what a gunmaker was selling in any one year this cross index should help a lot. An example would be a recollection I have of John Wayne asking for his "Greener" in a western. Well, sure enough, Greener was sold by JH Johnston's Great Western Gun Company in 1871. Mr. Wayne did his homework. It took a lot of time to make these cross indexes and I really hope you like them. I must confess, however, that they were not made with smoke and mirrors.

The procedure to make the cross indexes was really quite simple, it just took a very long time because there were so many links. All I did was to use the Google search tool and enter the maker name... in the previous example, Mauser. The search gave me all the catalogs that used the name anywhere on the individual web pages within my website. Except for a very few duplicates and the occasional mistake, the searches were remarkable thorough. The key is to not use too many words. In fact, try to use just one word; for example use just "Bowie" to search for "Bowie Knives, Bowie Knife, Bowie Type Blade" etc..

Some guns, like the Parker were sold by quite a few merchants but the company, itself made comparatively few catalogs of its own. Therefore of you want Parker information for specific years the cross index will give it to you- often for free if all you need is the model name or number and the year. Just use the index at the bottom of the page advertising the reprint for a lot of information. But, PU-LEEZE don't call me and ask if the 1898 Artfonz catalog shows a picture of the left safetied Lonzo with a 28.63 inch barrel in bronze or if I have ammo for that elusive "2 guage" that was advertised in the fall 2007 issue of the Double Gun and Single Shot Journal... spend the $10 (and, yes, I do know how to spell "gauge", I was just copying what was advertised)!

The cross index is by no means complete, just the best I could do and I have no idea how I will keep it up to date as I add books (hence the date at the bottom to let you know where to look in the recent additions section of the website for things not in the cross index). I purposely did not list all over-30 Ideal catalogs with each cross index, nor all the ammo catalogs carrying cartridges for each maker, just a few with each.

One more thing. Not surprisingly, catalogs representing single makers outsell general catalogs several times over, however, for those of you who stick to single maker catalogs, you are missing a lot of the texture, atmosphere and history the more general catalogs offer. Please take a look at one or two of them and I am sure you will be pleased. The Homer Fisher 1880, John Bown 1876, Bonehill 1888, John Lovell 1890, Akah 1932, all the BANNERMAN CATALOGS 1889-1966, Alfa 1911, ABERCROMBIE, Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett 1884, and VonLengerke and many others offer some great reading. See all of them at: Mail Order Catalogs

New Books and Special thanks:

For those of you who were too busy to look at my new listings for the last few months, please have a look at the Recent Additions page- I added a lot of new books during the last 90 days or so! I processed a huge Akah Katalog from about 1960 that I recently bought as well as an Anschutz from 1972 from Clem Dodge. Bob Watt loaned us a very nice c1951 Charlin catalog- the first I have ever seen. The Holland & Holland c1931 was from my own files. Joel Black came up with two old Hudson's pre-war catalogs. Hudson's was a wonderful old company from lower Manhattan. I remember the smells and piles of surplus stuff they had for sale. They used to advertise in the NY Times Sunday paper. The Iver Johnson Guns & Sporting Goods Co 1926 catalog from 1926 is interesting because their store in Boston came about when the bought the venerable old John Lovell company.

The 1949 Jeffery company (see above) catalog was just a third of the size of the pre-war catalogs they issued but Britain was still suffering in 1949 from over six years of war. Rudi Prusok is, again, the source of the interesting Kirtland 1924 catalog - almost 200 pages of history. The poor little Meridan Firearms 1908 catalog is readable but not very pretty- read more about it above. I'll try to prepare the 1908 Sears catalog in time to accompany this newsletter. It features the Aubrey guns made by Meridan. Mittermeirer 1957 Gunsmith catalog I did by request from my stock. Moore's was another huge mail order firm based in New York in the 1880s (see above). This edition is 133 pages and feature astonishingly good graphics. Needhan's 1891 catalogs is interesting for it's history (see above).

I also did a 1978 Steyr from Ted Cartler which was Steyr, Daimler, Puch in the US (presciently based in Michigan!) and three pre-war Zeiss catalogs by request.

INDEXES for Every Catalog...

Every catalog we offer has an index at the bottom of the page or in the case of new listings on the right. This is true of listings on our website, Ebay, Gunbroker and Auction Arms as well as our website (we greatly prefer you buy them at the website though, where we don't have to pay listing fees or sales commissions... shipping is cheaper too!)

Must Read:

If you haven't yet done so, please read the About Us link on the website. It explains a lot of things such as why graphics vary in books, why I do this in the first place, errors and mistakes, guarantees, loans and more. Also, if you see something in the Coming Soon page you want, let me know and I'll move it up the list for you.



(Please let me know if you have any problems with the website where I confess to an occasional bug.)


website: www.cornellpubs.com (double click this link)

email: abbybooks@comcast.net


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