History of American Gun and Powder Companies

I. FOUNDING DATES AND LOCATIONS OF THE MAJOR GUN AND POWDER COMPANIES.

1802: DuPont Powder Company (Wilmington, Delaware)
1816: Remington Arms Company (Illion, New York)
1832: Parker Gun Company (Meriden, Connecticut)
1835: Hazard Powder Company (Hazardville, Connecticut)
1837: Colt Firearms Company (Hartford, Connecticut)
1848: Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company (Hartford, Connecticut)
1852: Smith and Wesson (Springfield, Massachusetts)
1855: LeFever Arms Company (Syracuse, New York)
1863: U.S. Cartridge Company (Lowell, Massachusetts)
1864: Stevens Repeating Arms Company (Chicoppe Falls, Massachusetts)
1866: Winchester Arms Company (New Haven, Connecticut)
1867: Union Metallic Cartridge Company (UMC) (Bridgeport, Connecticut)
1869: Laflin and Rand Powder Company (New York, New York)
1870: Marlin Arms Company (New Haven, Connecticut)
1871: Iver Johnson (Johnson, Bye & Company) (Worchester, Massachusetts)
1873: Ithaca Gun Company (Ithaca, New York)
1875: Harrington and Richardson (Worchester, Massachusetts)
1877: L.C. Smith (Syracuse, New York)
1878: Robin Hood Powder Company (Swanton, Vermont)
1878: King Powder Company (Cincinnati, Ohio)
1884: Chamberlin Cartridge Company (Cleveland, Ohio)
1887: Peters Cartridge Company (Cincinnati, Ohio)
1888: Hunter Arms Company (Fulton, New York)
1894: Savage Arms Company (Fulton, New York)
1898: Western Ammunition (East Alton, Illinois)
1912: Hercules Powder Company (Wilmington, Delaware)
1912: Atlas Powder Company (Wilmington, Delaware)
1919: Mossberg Arms Company (New Haven, Connecticut)

II. IMPORTANT MERGER AND PURCHASE DATES WHICH INFLUENCE ADVERTISING.

1888: L.C. Smith is sold to Hunter Arms, but Hunter Arms continues the manufacturing of L.C. Smith shotguns under that name.
1888: UMC purchases Remington Arms Company and both companies catalog separately.
1890: First year that smokeless powder is produced in the United States.
1893: DuPont Powder Company starts to produce smokeless powder,
1902: DuPont purchases the 67 year old Hazard Powder Company of Hazardville, Connecticut.
1902: DuPont buys out Laflin and Rand and the huge powder company continues to buy up all competition.
1903: DuPont continues to purchase competitors with the purchase of American EC and Schultz Powder Companies. These purchases will lead to the federal government to breakup DuPont in 1912.
1903: Winchester becomes the first American arms company to use smokeless powder. (American EC and Schultz).
1904: Deadshot smokeless powder is manufactured for the first time by the American Powder Company, which is a subsidiary of the American Powder Mills. It is manufactured until1932.
1906: Robin Hood Powder Company is changed to Robin Hood Ammunition Company.
1907: Western Cartridge Company buys Austin Cartridge Company.
1909: DuPont Ballisite powder is introduced by the giant powder company of Wilmington.
1910: Remington and UMC operations unite and adapt a combined name using the word Remington and the famous UMC “Red Dot”. The combined name, REM-UMC is to be used until1933.
1911: The U.S. Cartridge Company is purchased by National Lead, which at that time was the leading competitor of Winchester in supplying lead for shot shells.
1912: The DuPont Powder Company trust (monopoly) is broken up in the federal courts under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in the longest anti-trust suit in American history. It lasted five years. Three major companies were formed. DuPont, Hercules and Atlas.
1915: Robin Hood Ammunition Company (formally Robin Hood Powder Company) sells out to Remington-UMC. The manufacturing of powder is discontinued.
1915: Ithaca purchases LeFever Arms Company.
1919: Robin Hood Ammunition Company (owned by REM-UMC) ceases operations.
1920: Savage purchases all stock of Stevens Arms Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. Stevens guns with that name will continue to be sold.
1920: In an attempt to increase sales during the post WWl depression, Winchester opens numerous “franchise stores”, selling flashlights, bicycles, tools, roller skates, ice skates, general hardware, sporting goods, etc. These stores will last to the start of the depression of the 1930’s.
1926: Remington begins to produce their famous “Kleanbore” ammunition.
1930: Savage Arms Company purchases A.H. Fox Company of Philadelphia, the maker of the famous Ansley Fox shotgun
1931: On December 22, 1931, Western buys out the struggling Winchester Arms Company and adapts the name of Winchester-Western in their advertising. Western is a firm controlled by the legendary John Olin. Winchester has gone into receivership in 1931, but their real problems began in the stock market crash of 1929.
1931: Remington Arms sells their cash register business to National Cash Register.
1932: DuPont purchases the struggling Remington-UMC Company. The famous UMC “red dot” is dropped from the name and advertising is now called Remington-DuPont.
1933: Remington-DuPont purchases the Chamberlin Cartridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
1934: Remington-DuPont purchases the Peters Cartridge Company of East Alton, lllinois.
1934: On December 29th, 1934, Winchester management gave authorization to start development work on the replacement of the old Winchester Model 54 rifle. The new gun would be called the legendary Model 70.
1934: Remington-DuPont purchases the Parker Gun Company in June for $100,000.
1935: Winchester-Western takes over control of U.S. Cartridge Company, with the name no longer used.
1937: On January 1st, 1937, Winchester releases their first Model 70 rifles.
1940: Olin Industries is formed, owning Winchester-Western interests. Olin is added to the advertising name of all Winchester products.
1945: Marlin purchases Hunter Arms and continues to make L.C. Smith shotguns until 1971. The Hunter Arms Company had been struggling for decades.
1950: In the early 1950’s wood shotgun shell crates were replaced with cardboard cases.
1960: Remington introduces the plastic shotgun shell.
1963: On October 1st, 1963, Winchester released their first “new” Model 70 rifle. The first rifle had the serial number of 700,000. All model 70’s prior to this date will be forever known as pre-64 Model 70’s.
1971: L.C. Smith shotguns are discontinued by Marlin.
1972: Remington introduces 8 1/2 shot in the shotgun shells.

III. HISTORY OF DEADSHOT POWDER

1868: Massachusetts Powder Company changes its name to the American Powder Company.
1883: The American Powder Company is sold to the American Powder Mills, who make a black powder called “Deadshot”. This trademark (Deadshot) is inherited from the old Massachusetts Powder Company.
1904: A subsidiary of American Powder Mills, the American Smokeless Powder Company, continues to manufacture Deadshot Powder.
1922: American Smokeless Powder Company is dissolved and American Powder Mills continues to make Deadshot Powder until 1931.
1932: Final year of production and advertising for Deadshot Smokeless Powder.

IV. LESSER KNOWN GUN AND POWDER COMPANIES.

A. Sharps:

  1. Robins & Lawrence (Windsor, Vermont). They did special contract work for Sharps.
  2. Massachusetts Arms Company (Chicopee, Massachusetts). They also did special contract work for Sharps.
  3. Maynard Gun Company (Chicopee, Massachusetts). They also did special contract work for Sharps.

B. Winchester:

  1. Volcanic Arms Company (New Haven, Connecticut). Early Winchester.
  2. New Haven Arms Company (New Haven, Connecticut). Early Winchester, 1857-1866.
  3. Fogerty Rifle Company (Boston, Massachusetts). Became American Repeating Arms Company.
  4. American Repeating Rifle Company, (Boston, Massachusetts). Winchester purchased this firm in 1869.
  5. Spencer Repeating Arms Company, purchased by Winchester in 1870.
  6. Adirondack Arms Company, purchased by Winchester in 1874.
  7. Whitney Arms Company, purchased by Winchester in 1888.

C. Western:

  1. Equitable Powder Manufacturing Company, (East Alton, Illinois). Purchased by Western in 1893.
  2. Egyptian Powder Company, (Herrin, Illinois).
  3. Austin Cartridge Company, (Cleveland. Ohio). Purchased by Western in 1907.
  4. National Cartridge Company, (Belleville, Illinois). Purchased by Western in 1908.

D. Savage:

  1. Driggs-Seabury Ordinance Company, (Sharon, Pennsylvania). Purchased by Savage in 1915.
  2. Page-Lewis Company, (Chicoppe, Massachusetts). Purchased by Savage in 1926.
  3. Davis-Wagner Corporation, (Norwich, Connecticut). Purchased by Savage in 1930.
  4. Crescent Firearms Company, (Norwich, Connecticut). Purchased by Savage in 1931.

E. Iver Johnson:

  1. United States Revolver Company, a low price trade name for Iver Johnson revolvers.

ADDENDA: Review

    1. Hunter Arms purchases L.C. Smith in 1888.
    2. UMC purchases Remington in 1888.
    3. DuPont purchases Hazard Powder Company in 1902.
    4. DuPont purchases Laflin and Rand Powder Company in 1902.
    5. DuPont purchases E. C. Schultz Powder Company in 1903.
    6. Western Cartridge Company purchases Austin Cartridge Company in 1907.
    7. Remington and UMC operations unite under one catalog and name in 1910.
    8. National Lead purchases U.S. Cartridge Company in 1911.
    9. DuPont broken up by government in 1912 into DuPont, Hercules and Atlas.
    10. Remington-UMC purchases Robin Hood Powder Company in 1915.
    11. Ithaca purchases LeFever Arms Company in 1915.
    12. Savage purchases Stevens Arms Company in 1920.
    13. Winchester purchases assets of National Lead and along with it came the assets of the US. Cartridge Company in 1921.
    14. Savage purchases A.H. Fox of Philadelphia in 1930.
    15. Western purchases Winchester in 1931.
    16. DuPont purchases Remington-UMC in 1931.
    17. Remington-Dupont purchases Chamberlin Cartridge Company in 1933.
    18. Remington-DuPont purchases Peters in 1934.
    19. Olin Industries formed (Winchester) in 1940.
    20. Marlin purchases Hunter Arms Company in 1945.
    21. L.C. Smith discontinued by Marlin in 1971.

Recent Content