Design Of The Police Case
Posted 16 July 2004 - 09:34 AM
Posted 16 July 2004 - 11:47 AM
There is some evidence that the FBI/Police type cases evolved from a modified musical instrument case of the period. Chicago Luggage and Swetnam both made music cases. Somewhere in my collection of TSMG stuff I have an advertisement from the late 1920s or early 1930s showing a case that looks exactly like the thompson case on the outside. Inside is a musical instrument - some type of horn. The case appears to have a velvet interior.
Who ever came up with the idea for a hard case would logically have sought the assistance of companies that produce that type of item. In this case Swetnam, Books, Chicago Luggage, etc.
From a manufacturing standpoint, it makes sense to use something you already make. The horn case probably closely matched the gun's dimensions and it was a simple matter to design an interior layout suited to the TSMG and accessories. The resulting product was compact, inconspicuous and easy to store in a vehicle, file cabinet or gun locker.
Both FBI and Police cases tip backwards when empty and the FBI model also tips heavily to the magazine end when carried. It appears that the Police case was redesigned to correct one of the problems, but there is some evidence that it might actually predate the FBI model. The poor balance when empty is probably additional evidence that the Thompson case was adapted from another product. Little, if anything, was done to solve the tipping problem - probably because it just wasn't important. However, there is a variation of the Swetnam case with hinges that do not allow the lid to tip all the way back. This case does not tip over when empty. It's unknown if this was an attempt to correct a problem or just coincidence.
The Indiana and Alabama cases are flat designs. The Alabama case works well and resembles the design of current plastic gun cases. The Indiana case is another matter. It was designed by a salesman to carry his sample gun. When you open one the case lid lays out flat and takes up considerable space. It kind of looks like a brief case on steroids. In my opinion, it's an example of poor design and wasted space, but it was beautifully made and served it's purpose.
Posted 16 July 2004 - 02:59 PM
Posted 16 July 2004 - 03:18 PM
BTW, anybody ever hear the story of some enterprising FBI agents who went bin diving to save some of the TSMG cases and accessories when they were thrown out by the bureau? I have seen a couple of cases in Virginia, reputed to be ex FBI cases, with accessories. And Remington Mod. 10 Shotgun cases of similar construction too reputed to be ex-FBI.
Posted 16 July 2004 - 03:46 PM
That may hold true for the violin/viola type case associated with the mob, but the FBI/PD folks were not concerned with disguising what they were carrying. Who knew the difference between a saxaphone case amd a tool box or gun case back in the 1920's & 30's anyway?
Posted 16 July 2004 - 03:50 PM
Posted 16 July 2004 - 03:51 PM
Posted 16 July 2004 - 04:44 PM
Funny you should mention "bin diving" for cases. Three of the original FBI cases I acquired years ago came from retired agents. One from Miami and two from Jacksonville. That's sort of how they got them. When the Bureau called in the Thompsons in the 1970's all they requested were the guns. Cases and accessories were sometimes kept for other uses. One of mine became a gun cleaning kit complete with long model Thompson rod and a complete spare parts kit.
I personally like the FBI/Police type cases. They served their purpose and I doubt any agents lost sleep
because their empty gun case tipped over.
Posted 16 July 2004 - 08:16 PM
I’m sure you appreciate the design, considering you turn out your very own repro cases. However, as far as FBI agents not losing any sleep over their TSMG cases falling over backward, you are quit correct; they probably spent more sleepless nights worrying about the fact Hoover never recognized organized crime, how he claimed credit for capturing Nazi spies when they had surrendered, and the fact that the whole G-Man myth was predicated on the Bureau’s own screw up at the Union Station Massacre. And since the FBI agent’s window of opportunity to actually brandish a TSMG with any regularity in the pursuit of a criminal was between 1935 and 1938, when the last of the Midwest bandits was dead, in prison, or writing their memoirs, it is doubtful that the agents transported the cases to any great degree, much less opened them.
Posted 17 July 2004 - 11:03 AM
I was planning on having these made but due to the manufactures being out of state, I needed an exact model of the thompson to send for fitting. A redesign of the front fold down area has a piece that holds the thompson in place even if the case is upside down.
The case is based upon the Louis Vuttion travel case which do not tip when open or empty-
Posted 17 July 2004 - 11:36 AM
Posted 17 July 2004 - 02:09 PM
There is a local company to me that could build that case, and I have a Thompson they could use as a model. What did you think you were going to use for material on the outside and inside of the case? Did you have an estimated retail on the case? I know I would like something like that. I love that you thought to put a paperwork spot. I always slide mine behind the stock.
Looks like a well thought out design.
Posted 17 July 2004 - 02:10 PM
Posted 17 July 2004 - 03:59 PM
I have also run across retired agents once in a while who have the cases. One sold in Va about 2 years ago. So it seems that a lot of them made it out into priviate hands.
Posted 17 July 2004 - 04:30 PM
Well, that is certainly fascinating story about a LEO stumbling across "50" FBI cases. If Auto-Ord shipped a case with each of the 110 Colt TSMG's the Bureau ordered between 1935 and 1939, and acting Bureau Chief Gray supposedly destroyed most of the 110 Colt TSMG's, in favor of keeping the parked WWII TSMG's, and he destroyed "most" of the cases as he could get a hold of, it sure seems providence that someone would mange to find intact nearly half of the total cases the Bureau ever received.
And if you say that many agents also managed to also appropriate a case from their local office, then Gray could only have destroyed a token amount of the 110 cases. So there are either a great number of 30 year-old repro FBI cases about, or just about every one of the 110 cases survived and perhaps even doubled in number over the years. It would seem almost a mathematical certainty that any original FBI case that is on the market today would have come from that California Sheriff's stash.
Posted 17 July 2004 - 04:50 PM
|Bureau Chief Gray supposedly destroyed most of the 110 Colt TSMG's, in favor of keeping the parked WWII TSMG's|
That sucks! He clobbered almost 110 Colt Thompsons. That REALLY sucks!
Posted 18 July 2004 - 10:04 AM
What you say is true.....but it still sucks!