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November 2007 Newsletter!
Autumn in Brighton, Michigan:
And no cracks about it looking like the "rust belt" from you, please!
Missing Money for a Cannon Report:
Chuck Wright of The Antique Cannon SuperStore wrote to tell us that he is having trouble with an Argentinean agent. The dispute involves a Ricardo Birsa of US Exports and the cannon pictured here. Chuck tells us the cannon was bought and paid for by his customer but Mr. Birsa is claiming the gun was not paid for and is offering it for sale. I guess this tells us to be careful before you buy a cannon from Argentina... (If you are using Firefox as a web browser, the link to the Cannon Superstore may not work).
New Books and Special thanks (see the bottom of this letter for the complete list without accompanying text):
The Abercrombie & Fitch 1941 is the last issued before the US entered the war. The date is printed in small letters in the lower left of the face page. It is interesting to note that I bought a duplicate copy of the A&F 1941 catalog, represented as a '43, that was carefully marked in pencil in the upper right corner 1943. Usually dates are written by the original owner when they get a catalog in the mail so I wonder if A&F continued to use their '41 catalog during the war.
Jerry Mouer sent us a package bristling with interesting old catalogs. Included was the colorful Akah 1964 Die Jagdwaffen. Jerry also sent us a copy of the Stoeger Guns & Ammunition 1929 #9 catalog. These old Stoegers are pretty rare and, of course, the '29 was issued at a time of rare optimism and prosperity.
Next is the Blake Revolving Clip Rifles 1910 catalog from Peter Zinsser. I was unfamiliar with John Henry Blake until I opened this treasure chest. The introduction gives the historical background of the test in 1893 that selected the Krag-Jorgensen rifle for the army. In all 55 rifles were scrutinized by the army and the Blake was among them. The circular magazine, or packet as it was called, was replaceable and the user could carry several of them in his vest pocket. Of course this was a time when many of the powers that were felt that a single shot rifle was preferable to multi-shots to make certain the troops were economical with their ammunition. Anyway, the dialog is quite persuasive about the advantages of the "packet" system. The Blake was available in wide variety of calibers and there is extensive discussion about the right cartridge to the intended purpose. In all there are 70 pages of tests, applications and descriptions, all very thorough. In the back is a comprehensive table of infantry hunting rifles from around the world in 1904. Then there are pages of other makes of weapons for sale, Colt, Mauser, Stevens etc. and then an extensive history of weapons and the illustrated evolution of firearms. All together this is a remarkable old catalog. Parts of it were evidently copyrighted ion 1903, then used in this much bigger catalog dated 1912. You would not be sorry to add this book to your collection.
Peter Zinsser also shared the New Newton Rifle Co 1919 "stopgap" catalog with us. Another high velocity rifle, this is a pretty rare catalog which was Charles Newton's first catalog with his new company... read on (much of what follows is paraphrased from Bruce Jennings, Jr. book CHARLES NEWTON, Father of High Velocity, 1985).
The old Newton company ran out of cartridge shells in December 1917 (because of the US entry into WWI) and about January 1 the company got new machinery and began tooling. Around April of that year there was no more borrowed money and it went into receivership in April 1918.
The receiver, Bert Holmes, attempted to run the plant and build rifles but gave it up as a bad job and closed the plant in January 1919. He had finished about 1200 rifles and before he took over Newton had made 2,400. Of the rifles made under Holmes, only about 400 passed his own inspector. This left 1000 rejected rifles which he sold for $5 apiece when he sold the plant.
The Newton Arms Corporation was incorporated about April 1919 in NYC. They bought secondhand machinery for the purpose of marketing the defective rifles bought from the receiver. The plant moved to 34 35th street in Brooklyn where Newton Rifles, Accessories and Ammunition were manufactured. The office was listed as the Woolworth Building, NYC.
Newton bought 3 lawsuits against them – represented by himself and August Becker (son of the receiver) to restrain The Newton Arms Corporation from using his name and from using his patented method of ammunition.
The cases were finished in 1920 and Charles Newtown had won. In the sale of the effects of the Newton Arms Corporation there were 250 condemned rifles. They were bid opon and won by Kirtland Brothers of New York City who sold them as rifles made by the receiver of Newton Arms Company.
Meanwhile, Charles Newton formed the Chas. Newton Rifle Corporation in Buffalo, NY. This is his first catalog with the new company.
KIRTLAND and Davis Arms
Kirtland, located in Assonet, MA from 1853 until at least 1917, operated under the following names:
1853 to 1883‑ N.R. DAVIS ARMS COMPANY‑ Freetown section of Assonet, MA
1883 to 1917‑ N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO.‑ Water St., Assonet, MA
1917 to 1930‑ DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP.‑ Brooklyn, NY and Norwich, CT (There is some evidence that the Assonet factory remained in use until 1925.)
1930 to 1932‑ CRESCENT‑DAVIS ARMS CORP. (Stevens bought the Crescent-Davis Company in 1932- the first catalog we have mentioning Crescent is 1938)
The company was owned and operated by the Davis family until 1917 when N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO. was merged with WARNER ARMS CORP. to form DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP.
Davis‑Warner seems to have made both Davis shotguns and Warner pistols in small quantities with the guns being made at the Warner plant in Norwich, CT from parts made in the Assonet plant until about 1925.
Beginning in 1925, Davis‑Warner seems to have regained its ability to make and sell firearms in quantity, perhaps because the Assonet plant was closed and production consolidated in Norwich. It also appears that the Warner automatic pistols were dropped from production in 1925.
When the Assonet plant actually closed is speculative, some sources use the 1917 date, while others use 1925; unfortunately the Assonet Town Records do not reflect the year of its closing. It was definitely closed and not in use when it burned in 1928 and newspaper articles about the fire indicate that it had been closed for some time.
DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP. became a part of CRESCENT DAVIS ARMS CORP. in 1930.
N.R. DAVIS shotguns were marked, in addition to the names above, with at least the following trade names:
E.C. MEACHAM ARMS CO. PAT'D AUG. 3, 1886
ASSONET GUN WORKS (probably) no specimens seen (home town of Davis Guns)
RIVAL (hammerless double made in the 1880's)
N.R. DAVIS & SONS may also have made some shotguns for Sears, Roebuck, but this has not been confirmed by observation of any actual specimens.
In 1921 the Officers of DAVIS‑WARNER were, Franklin E. Warner‑ President & Treasurer, C. Chester Warner‑ Vice‑President, I.M. Janowsky‑ Secretary
It should be noted that both the Warners were incorporators of KIRTLAND BROS. CO. the sporting goods retailer in New York City that bought the Newton rifles. There will be a quiz next period! (Warner Shotguns were sold by Kirkland in 1924)
Another Zinsser treasure is the Sedgley Custom Guns 1937 catalog. We have quite a few Sedgleys now and anyone who wants a progression of the company can find it here.
Jean Marcel Jeanot from France was very kind to send us the Braekers (French) 1926 (w/ '29 prices) catalog and a Lebeau-Courally which we will process next month. Charles Braekers & Cie was founded in the 1880s and according to The Greenhill book says he was gone by WWI but this catalog certainly proves that wrong. Anyone who can shed more light on the question is welcome to some space here. Jeanot also promised several other very nice European catalogs that are very rare this side of the pond including a '23 Darne.
We processed a Christy Gun Works 1958 for those of you trying to chase down 1950s smithing tools and the like and a nice Daisy 1964. Our Remington 1934 is a real little beaut. George Roghaar loaned us a massive c1970 Remington Field Service Manual that took forever to scan and process. I think they cover most weapons produced by Remington in this tome. Check out the index.
We spent a lot of money to buy a Smith & Wesson c1912 catalog. It has some super illustrations inside with its "history of firearms" and the then current firearms are described in the sometimes flowery language of the times. Stevens Arms Guns & Gunning 1908 was a hardbound book that leads the reader through all the different aspects of hunting and shooting. Come to think of it, what I just said doesn't do justice to this wonderful book. One of the reasons for the popularity of my old gun catalogs is they give us a hint of the flavor of the times when our old guns were made and first used. This book really fills in the background. It makes you feel as if you are reading it by gaslight in preparation for you first duck hunt or beach shoot or trip to the wilderness and you need some concrete information about how to do it. Gunning prepares you much the same way the Shikar (Indian Hunting) Field Guide 1920 prepares you for a trip to India or the Purdey Shotgun Manual 1929 (UK) tells you about a proper English "shoot".
John Campbell set us up with a hardbound set of Winchester catalogs covering the first 50 years of the company starting with the Henry Rifle. While we had already made reprints of many of these old catalogs and have others in-house, but we now have access to all the rest. So far we added Winchester 1871, Winchester 1873, Winchester 1879 May, Winchester 1880 May, Winchester 1881 Jan, Winchester 1881 May.
HELP PLEASE :
My apologies. The idea of cheering a wounded soldier by sending a card was a hoax email. Apparently authorities throw away all email not addressed to a specific individual. 12/23/07 :-( Abby
HELP PLEASE :
Joe Dykie is looking for more (excuse the pun) information on his Moore gun. Anyone?
The following represents additional information on my " Moore " shotgun:
1. W. Moore & Co. is engraved on the left and right side plates of the piece.
2. London Fine Twist is engraved in the center of the two barrels.
3. It is a double barrel shotgun, with 30" barrels.
4. It is a 12 gauge shotgun.
5. It has double triggers.
6. It has a side lever on the left side, to unlock and open the breech.
7. It has external hammers, with firing pins.
8. I do not believe it has much collector value, as it is not a ' brand name ' shotgun.
9. I believe it is of European design and manufactured possibly in Belgium.
Dino Anastasia is looking for information on the Hawes gun company - I cannot find any either - dates, etc.
Dom Goffredo is seeking material or manuals on the Winchester- Parker reproductions. If anyone has some I would appreciate being able to share it with other collectors.
Ed Muderlak's new book on Parkers:
Ed Muderlak requested we mention his upcoming book - people may send email me to forward to Ed or post to his PO Box below. Here is his note:
Abby: My new book, PARKER GUNS: SHOOTING FLYING And The AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, will be published next year (before Labor Day) by Collector Books of Paducah KY. This is a conventional publishing contract with an advance against royalties paid up front. While I have my Old Reliable Publishing that has published several titles, my new Parker book with 121,500 words of content, 500+ pictures (200 in color), and in two editions--Special 500 Signed Limited First Edition and Trade Second Edition--will be best served by a publisher large in the business with distribution to big-box stores, the Internet, antique malls, and the usual gun book dealers. What a relief that I don't have to do it myself!
The Special Ltd. Ed. is being sold by subscription through my Old Reliable Publishing Box 4 Davis IL 61019 at $99.95 plus $7.50 Priority Mail S&H ($107.45 for Florida voters). I am going to list the first 100 subscribers as "Patrons" on a front page and name all other subscribers in the appendix. The idea is to memorialize those who are in the inner circle of Parker collectors so that in ten, twenty and thirty years from now the next generation of those who appreciate the "Old Reliable" will know their predecessors.
Collector Books has tentatively priced the Trade Edition at $49.95. The manuscript in final form was at the publishers before Sept. 30th, 2007 and is now "work in process." As I stated above, this is not a self-publishing effort, and thus the subscription format for the Ltd. Ed. is not "Vanity Press" of "Subsidy Publishing" with other people's money. All subscription $$$ go to a sequestered account pending disbursement as books are shipped next Summer. Collector Books, because of its size and distribution network, has never done a Ltd Ed. before, and is relying on me to inform my "true believers" through the Parker Gun Collectors Assn., L. C. Smith Collectors Assn., Order of Edwardian Gunners ("Vintagers"), et al--and, hopefully, your newsletter.
My first book, PARKER GUNS: The "OLD RELIABLE" (Safari Press 1997, 2004 2nd printing, over 8,000 sold) was subscribed prepublication and sold out the 500 Signed Limited Edition coincidental with release in August 1997. I anticipate similar advance interest in this new book, my fourth about Parker Guns and old-time shotguns, trap shooting, and shooting flying. The "Old Reliable" and other rare old guns and associated memorabilia are esoteric subjects well below the world's notice in general, but for those who are specifically interested, their passion runs deep, as you are finding with your reprinting of old catalogs.
Old 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 has caused some confusion.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Von Lengerke & Antoine, Von Lengerke and Detmold.
All these companies were related in some manner. I understand the VonLengerkes were brothers or cousins with the Detmold store in New York and Antoine in Chicago. Abercrombie eventually took over both VonLengerkes, Detmold in 1928 and Antoine a year later, however they seem to be related even before that. If anyone knows the rest of the story, I would be very grateful to learn it, I'll post what I learn with the listings of VonLengerke catalogs I sell and include it in the next newsletter and will give credit. Anyone?
New Cross Index for the Website:
Last month I completed the elaborate cross indexing of dozens of catalogs we reprint and told you about my triumph! Last week I discovered that my universal link to all the catalogs we reprint for the following makers went only to one catalog, not all of them! Mea Culpa. The links to Purdey, Schoverling, Rigby, Ross and Stoeger are now fixed. Sorry about that.
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.
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!)
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.
Abercrombie & Fitch 1941
Akah 1964 Die Jagdwaffen
Blake Revolving Clip Rifles 1910
Braekers (French) 1926 (w/ '29 prices)
Christy Gun Works 1958
New Newton Rifle Co 1919
Remington Field Service Manual c1970
Sedgley Custom Guns 1937
Smith & Wesson 1912
Stevens Arms Guns & Gunning 1908
Stoeger Guns & Ammunition 1929 #9
Winchester 1879 May
Winchester 1880 May
Winchester 1881 Jan
Winchester 1881 May
(Please let me know if you have any problems with the website where I confess to an occasional bug.)
If you have received this mailing in error, or if you no longer wish to receive this newsletter from Cornell Publications, please send an e-mail with "remove" in the subject line to IncomingMailoop@oldguncatalogs.com. (Just hit reply on your browser then add "remove" to the subject line). Make sure you use the word "remove" and NOT unsubscribe or the program will resubscribe you!
I will personally add your name to the blacklist and you will be excluded from any future newsletters. If you would prefer to unsubscribe via postal mail, please contact us at:
Abby Cornell Mouat
P.O. Box 214
Brighton , MI 48116
810-225-3075 (9-5 Eastern Time Zone please)