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Thompson History


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#1 sten guy

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 04:53 PM

I am just curious if any of the board members have documentation about the history surrounding their guns... Would anyone share it if you do?

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#2 john

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 05:23 PM

I own a US1928A1 Bridgeport. Serial number range is A.O. 51xxx. Early Bridgeport.

About a month ago I requested from the Arsenals Archives at Redstone Alabama (under the freedom of information act) any records pertaining to this gun in hopes of finding out when it was ordered, who it was shipped to and what unit it was issued to in hopes of gleaning a bit of history from it....I wanted an idea of where this gun has been and what it's seen.

I struck out, Total zilch. Zip. Nada. I Got the letter back yesterday saying that if the gun was not in the possession of the U.S. Government as of XX date 1975, then records no longer exist.

So I guess our government tossed out all the historical records as of 1975 and there is no other way I know of (except some books, like Frank's, for example) to find out any info on this gun.

I do know who I purchased it from, have spoken to the dealer he bought from and, to his recollection, my gun went from the Government to a police Department somewhere in Ohio. Then to the former owner, then me.

I really wish I could find out more, but don't know where to look next.

Anyone help me out?? huh.gif

john sad.gif
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#3 gijive

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:03 PM

John,

Sorry you were disappointed, but I would think that very few records exist as to the distribution of weapons from the Second World War. No government agency, that I am aware of, would have kept the records of firearm distribution down to the unit level in the miltary during WWII. The best you could hope for would be the Auto-Ordnance shipping records indicating what military order the gun was from and when it was shipped, but Frank Iannamico, in his many searches of the National Archives, couldn't locate such records.

Auto-Ordnance started producing Thompsons at their Bridgeport, CT plant in 1941 and production of the 1928 Model ceased in 1942, so you have a time frame of a year and several months during which it could have been produced. Auto-Ordnance production guns were never made anywhere else but at the Bridgeport, CT plant so referring to them as Bridgeports is (as I frequently point out) redundant.

I'm sure that somewhere, when the guns were sold as surplus in the post-war period, someone recorded the numbers, but as the Arsenals Archives pointed out, records going back that far weren't kept. Maybe the police agency that owned it could provide some history if you can determine which agency it was.

Good luck.
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#4 JimFromFL

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 07:11 PM

QUOTE (sten guy @ May 5 2004, 04:53 PM)
I am just curious if any of the board members have documentation about the history surrounding their guns... Would anyone share it if you do?

The Colt Thompson I owned (then sold) was documented as being used in a riot or two at a New Jersey prison.

Now the Drum that I purchased with the item was "supposed" to be used too and the one or two small rough spots on the drum were from where the blood was left and caused some pitting. Not too sure about the drum story but the riot was documented and the serial number listed did indeed match the item I owned.
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#5 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 08:13 PM

Hardrede,
Wow! That tale should be told on the history channel. Not much room for embellishment.

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#6 full auto 45

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 08:26 PM

the M1 I have was a WWII gun. Reworked at the Mount Rainer(sp) aresenal. After WWII, sold to the B & O railroad police and used on the railway until 1965 or 1966. The chief took it with him to a police department in West Virginia. It was registered in 1968 to the PD and stayed there until Feb of 2003. The it became property of one Michael Hensley. It still resides in my little old safe in the basement of the bunker today. I was lucky on this one. The PD sent me a paper with all this listed on it so I can keep it with the gun.
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#7 craig101

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 09:47 PM

Mike- thats an M1 i would like to own.
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#8 CapeCodder

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 02:17 PM

The Colt Navy I recently had to sell was originally a Massachusetts PD gun. I managed to get a list of all subsequent owners, but they were all private parties - so no special history there. I bought it from a lawyer - won't mention his name so I don't get sued, but his name comes to mind whenever I hear "bad" lawyer jokes.
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#9 SecondAmend

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:49 PM

CapeCodder,

99% of the lawyers give the rest of them a bad name.

Oh yeah, '28 came from dealer who bought it from the widow of the original owner.

Edited by SecondAmend, 06 May 2004 - 03:53 PM.

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#10 Balder

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:37 AM

My Savage M1928 S-245XX was purchased by the UK in 1940. It served with British or Norwegian forces for the duration of the war, then it was used on Norwegian Navy fast patrol vessels until the early '70s. Almost all the Thompsons here were destroyed at that time, but a fore-sighted naval officer managed to save a handful. These were sold to collectors around 1990 to help finance the Naval museum; I bought mine from the museum in 1991.
I'm trying to find more details of its wartime service but no luck so far.

Balder
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#11 Jay Baker

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 06:12 AM

My 1928A1 came to me via LMO and Bob Bowman from Stembridge who probably bought it as surplus after the war. Its likely it never saw overseas action so mine's not really a Thompson either, but it played one on TV. I would be the only individual to ever own this 28 and also have documentation from Stembridge, confirmed by Dan Shea of LMO, that it was used in Dick Tracy along with many others, I'm sure. I understand that someone is attempting to research the history of Stembridge guns and could learn more of its Hollywood history, but the more important WWII history will never be known.
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#12 Tman

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 09:12 AM

My WH 28 was made in 1980 and all the previous owners put their F4's in the buttstock oiler compartment. Now I have a complete history. I'm the 3rd owner.
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#13 sten guy

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 10:39 AM

My overstamp came from an Ill. P.D. I don't have any documented history, but it is part of the fun, finding out where the gun has been. I am a history nut and grew up listening to my grandfather talk about the teens, twenty's and thirties. It is only natural that I had to have a Thompson.

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#14 21 smoker

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:03 AM

Well,... my 21 was sold to N.Y. Daily News in Nov. 1921....don`t where its been til late eighties when it wound up in the hands of shady dealer who misrepresented it in a sale...ATF prosecuted for many,many violations...he went bye,bye. Colt ended up in `private` auction,then traded to Wm. Douglas...in NASLEEM Museum..finally to me. WH28 was initially bought right at `86 deadline by a deputy from Tennessee...I bought from his widow...it is at PK`s for work...and the Savage 28 will be rewatted when PK says to send it...it also came from NASLEEM Museum...was dewatted during amnesty...dummy!..and that`s the story to date. wink.gif
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#15 Waffen Und Bier

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 11:21 AM

None on my Savage M1A1. It came from a company that bought a lot of police trade ins in the late 1980's. Haven't bothered with a FOI on any of my guns.

My 1921AC came from San Francisco PD according to the books per the serial number and the S.F.P.D. stamped in the side of the receiver. The dealer I purchased it from said he had copies of the original invoices, but he could never produce them. I'll do a FOI one of these days.


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#16 Chopper28

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 01:15 PM

Bought my WH 28 in 1977 NIB from a dealer who got it from Numrich. I am the first and only owner, paid $650.00 for it. Those were the days.
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#17 LIONHART

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE
Oh, wait, I am mistaken!!. It isn't really a Thompson, it is a replica/frankenstein gun, according to Gordon Her..., um, Art F.

Forget I brought it up, I am undeserving and unclean.


laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif


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#18 SecondAmend

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 04:31 PM

Waffen,

Street talk is that you can not do a FOI to "back trail" ownership - the NFA transfer is a tax issue, private stuff, not under FOIA umbrella as far as the gov is concerned.

Those with actual knowledge, please confirm/deny.
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#19 Waffen Und Bier

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 09:58 PM

ATF deletes names, addresses, etc, but leaves the dates. I personally want to know, how a company that is no longer in business (and had been out for 50 + years) is priviledged tax payer info. Or the businesses that are government contractors. How is that priviledged tax payer info? I called the ever helpful NFA branch to get the address of a government contractor company that may have out of business for an ATF form. I was told, "their address is priviledged tax payer information and I cannot release it." Go figure.
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#20 Sgt

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 07:02 AM

I recently posted this information, but for those who may not have seen it, I will repeat the history. I have a 1928 a-1 that was amnesty registered on Dec 2 1968 by Dr. Keaton Keller, scientist on Manhattan Project. Dr. Keller acquired it in 1964, but don't know any details before then. It was transferred to Frank Galati, of Galati International, in 1989. I purchased it from Mr. Galati last year.
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