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Thompson Gun Spare Parts Kit Container


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#1 Murray

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 07:31 PM

Not wishing to start another controversial thread about "tins" and "boxs" I shall refer to the said item of recent interest by it's correct name,
"The Thompson Gun Spare parts Kit container"
I thought some of you might be interested in this little piece of Thompson Trivia:

While "fitting out" my new spare parts kit container I have been studying the various "Thompson price lists and manuals" I have and have found some interesting things.

My original1936 Auto-Ordnance catalogue shows the "Spare parts kit container" on page 27 and list the parts contained exactly as most of us understand them to be. and are described as follows.

List price
Spare parts kit container......................................$3.50
Brush and thong...................................................$0.50
Short handle breech cleaning brush.....................$0.50
Extractor...............................................................$3.75
Firing pin...............................................................$2.50
Firing pin spring.....................................................$0.50
Hammer pin...........................................................$0.75
Sear spring............................................................$0.50
Sear Lever spring..................................................$0.50
Trigger spring........................................................$0.50

Total price complete with parts..................................................$13.50

However my original 1929 "Thompson Guns" Catalogue first lists the Spare parts kit container, which is on page 13, and interestingly lists many more components in the complete container with spare parts at a total price $32.50.

Extra parts in addition to those listed above include an additional firing pin and additional extractor
Disconnector
Disconnector spring
Ejector
Frame latch
Frame latch spring
Hammer
Magazine catch spring
Rocker
Fire control lever.

Clearly AO offered two Spare parts kit containers with different parts at different times.

My original 1921/23 catalogue does not list the Parts Kit Container at all.


Kind regards
Murray.

PS: Love those prices, dont you all? rolleyes.gif
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#2 Zamm

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 08:26 PM

Ahhhh Murray,
That's what we are talking about!
This is the type of info I don't have and love to digest!
Glad your here.
Best Z
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#3 LIONHART

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 08:38 PM

Since the Spare Parts Container wasn't shown in the 1921/23 Auto-Ordnance Catalogue, I'm just wondering if this is because AO was utilizing the Mills/Rusco and the unmarked canvas pouches? It just might be worth further investigation. I firmly believe someone, somewhere must have further information...But whom? Until we get a definite answer, these pouches will remain an unsolved mystery.
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#4 The Moor

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 08:39 PM

Murray,
I love those prices but that was a considerable sum of money in 1929 or 1936.
You have probably noticed the Spare Parts Kit Container in the 1929 and 1936 handbooks as well. The parts listed for the Kit appear to be the same as those listed in the catalogs. (more parts in the 1929 version than the 1936 version).
What continues to perplex me is the lack of information about the canvas spare parts kits and what parts would have been sold with those. Or, who actually sold the canvas spare parts kits, as they are not listed in any catalog or handbook to my knowledge.
I recently purchased an original canvas spare parts kit that contains the brass breech cleaning brush, brush + thong, Colt firing pin, spring, hammer pin (this appears to be nickeled - 1st one I have seen bright like this), ejector, sear spring, trigger spring and sear lever spring. The parts are wrapped in a wax type paper but does not appear to be saturated with grease. The canvas case is dirty but is clearly the yellowish color and clearly marked FEB 1921 with MILLS in the bullet logo. This must have been a predecessor to the metal Spare Parts Kit?
Then there is the other canvas spare parts kit (I've had this one for about 5 years or so) with just the MILLS in bullet logo. A slightly different shade of yellow and a different type of cloth thong to secure the pouch flap. It has the identical parts (hammer pin is blued) and the paper that contains the parts is very greasy. I have heard of and seen pictures of a RUSCO marked canvas spare parts kit but have never actually seen one to examine.
These canvas kits had to be cheaper than the metal kits, don't you think?
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#5 LIONHART

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 08:50 PM

Moor, I had at one time, all three in my possession. The Mills/Rusco and the unmarked. They were all complete, and all contained a nickeled firing pin. Two, except for the unmarked, matched closely in color. All parts from each canvas pouch were wrapped up in green, greasy, gum type paper. It would be my assumption that these were far less expensive than the $3.50 spare parts box.
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#6 Murray

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 09:58 PM

Yes Phil,
I sort of came to the same conclusion that many of the parts in the earlier container would have never have broken.
But is'nt this interesting stuff.

I don't know what the average wage was in the US in 1930, but with the Great depression it would not have been great.
The comments about the Rusco and Mills pouches are also interesting.
On page 356 of Tracie Hills book, "Thompson, The American Legend" there is an excellent photo of many of the Spare Parts Kits.

I understand the metal container was later for"commerical" sale (including the FBI) as the FBI case has a place for it, and it did in fact replace the canvas issue that was already in use by the Military which may also explain the reason why the original "first issue" metal container had the additional parts.

The 1921 Handbook and 1921/23 handbook make no reference to spareparts whatsoever. The first reference I can find where it is for sale is in my 1929 Auto-Ordnance Catalouge so it must have originated about 1928 which is in line with the order issued by general Thompson in that year.

On April 25th 1928 he wrote to Oscar Payne suggesting the metal box. This action, which I understand came about due to the US Marines in Nicaragua and China having trouble with the canvas pouches.

There is an excellent artical in the TCA news late last year about the spare parts container.

Trust you find this of some interest.

Kind wishes
Murray rolleyes.gif
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#7 Grey Crow

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 10:20 PM

Those prices do make for a lump in the throat.

I just placed a copy of an ad on-line that lists the 28 and 27 for $175.00.

Hmm, I wonder if PK can build a time machine?? biggrin.gif
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#8 Murray

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 10:28 PM

Moor,
If you have an original 1921 Canvas kit, it surely must be worth heaps! especially in the condition you describe. Hang onto it my friend.
I have no idea why it would be worth less that the metal one, but thats Thompson collecting isn't it! rolleyes.gif

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#9 colt21a

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 12:20 AM

murray i have pics of both since i owned the ones you speak of and one had two ejectors in it wrapped in kraft type wax paper.one was still sealed in the gummy type wrap that early patent date mags came in.i will bring the pics to s.a.r.and show you.
the material ones never did anything for me,had a few of those and sold them years ago.........
it seems every time i wanted to sell them,a thompson guy would say to me oh!! i thought you meant the metal one,thats the one i want not the pouch type. go figure!!

but you are 100% correct in the two offering,out of six i had only one was the extra parts model.......it came out of a cook county.dept. in illinois.

must have been the bootlegger fund.............wink!!
take care,ron
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#10 Sig

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 04:00 PM

Murray

OK I will add to this my research just now after returning home.

Murray your observations from the 1929 catalog tell me that at some point AO gave up trying to sell spare parts kits at $32.50 each just as PhilOhio says, I agree.

I looked around some more on my Handbooks.
Here is what I noted
1921 Handbook 2nd edition (Hills book pg. 369 item 435) makes no mention.

1921/1928/1927 Handbook 4th edition (Hills book pg. 370 item 438) mentions the small parts version (lower parts count) and is specifically mentioning it to be carried "in a single cell of the four cell Type XX magazine web carrier case." I thought that was interesting and I checked more.

More interesting
1928 (Hills book pg. 374 item 449) Edition of 1940 mentions the small part version (lower parts count) and is specific that it can be carried "either in an XX magazine pocket on the GUNCASE or in either of the XX Box Magazine web carrier case". That is the only mention of a "GUNCASE" or hardcase as we call it I have ever seen in my short life as a Thompson collector in AO material. I also note it mentions in the XX pocket NOT a separate strap as we commonly see attached to the lid.

So more food for thought!

michael
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#11 gijive

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 07:04 PM

Sig,

I think the Auto-Ordnance catalogue is referring to the canvas guncase not the hardcase. The canvas case has provisions for the twenty round magazines and that is why the spare parts box was made to the same size, so it could fit in the XX pouches.
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#12 Sig

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 07:14 PM

GI Jive
I think most of us wouldl agree the metal kits were made the same size as XX mags to fit originally the canvas mag pouches.
And you do bring an interesting point but those CANVAS "GUNCASES" were available from nearly day one.
So one has to ask why they would finally mention it 19 years later, GUNCASES.
I still believe we are talking hardcases when they mention GUNCASES.
If you think about the era they are just leaving in 1940 it makes sense.
I took another look through the handbook to see if any other mention was made and I did not see any.
And hence if we did not have a forum like this any possible way to dig this out one way or another would be lost.
michael
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#13 21 smoker

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 08:53 PM

Well I received 2 sets from Gordon today and they are beautiful!!!...now I just have to fill them...and those cleaning rods are something else...what a job Gordon does!...Thompson accessories collecting...what a blast,it`s like Chrismas in June!
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#14 The Moor

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Posted 14 June 2004 - 09:06 PM

Shucks, the 18 Shot mag fits in the lid straps of an original FBI hardcase better than the metal parts kit.
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