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Interesting "l" Drum Number


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#1 gijive

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:23 PM

Hi all,

I was fortunate to locate a new Colt era "L" drum for my collection today. The drum is in good condition with a couple of issues (dents) that will be addressed in the future. The finish is fair to good and the rotor is in good to excellent condition.

The really interesting part to me is the number 2122. Anyone care to guess the significance of that number in relation to Chicago crime history? No guesses.....okay, I'll tell you. 2122 was the address on North Clark St. of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929. The SMC Cartage Company was located at 2122 N. Clark St.

The drum was formerly the property of the Chicago Police Department and was part of the Chicago Police Crime Laboratory collection, the Lab having been formed as a result of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Calvin Goddard, the ballistics expert who was brought in to conduct the firearms examination after the Massacre and matched the shell casings and bullets to Fred "Killer" Burke's Thompsons, was the first Director of the Chicago Police Crime Lab. The drum ended up in the collection of a retired employee of the Crime Lab and I was fortunate to have been able to obtain it for my collection.

How ironic that "L" drum No. 2122 ended up in the possession of the Chicago Police Department sometime in the 1920's considering all the drums sold by Auto-Ordnance during that period; and then the ganglland slaying that put the Tommy Gun on the map, so to speak, occurs at 2122 N. Clark St. in the very city where No. 2122 was also shipped. It sure makes you stop and think about fate.

Amazingly, the drum has surfaced after all the principles in the Massacre have long since faded into history. Being a gangster buff myself, I think this one is a keeper.

Enjoy the photos!

* Just for clarification I should add that this drum has no connection to the Massacre itself and was not part of the firearms cache located in Fred "Killer" Burke's hideout in Stevensville, MI. The drum was either purchased by the Chicago Police Department, along with the several Thompsons they purchased in the mid 1920's or was recovered/ confiscated in connection with some criminal activity during the 1920's. How it ended up in the Crime Lab Section is anyone's guess. It could have been involved in criminal activity with the gangster element or maybe was just transferred to the Crime Lab for display when the Chicago Police Thompsons were no longer used sometime in the late 1960's or 1970's. I can't trace the drum any farther than that. The retired employees no longer remember how it got to the Crime Lab.

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#2 TD.

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:44 PM

gijive,
The story of Colt drum NO 2122 is simply amazing. WOW. A great piece of history and great find. Thank-you for sharing. I look forward to seeing it at the next TCA Show.
TD.

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#3 Ron Mills

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 08:55 AM

You've certainly unearthed a beauty. That serial number is right out of the Twilight Zone for sure! Thanks for sharing all the great pics.
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#4 aut-ord-co

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 10:30 AM


gijive,

Great find! A perfect display for next summer's TCA show.
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#5 gijive

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 11:44 AM

QUOTE (PhilOhio @ Nov 11 2005, 10:18 AM)
You should print the story, pretty much as you have posted it, frame it under glass, and keep it with the drum, for display beside it at places like the TCA show, etc.  It would be a shame if the story should get separated from the drum some day.

Phil,

Yes, excellent thought. I agree that the provenance of this drum should be preserved. The drum has some significance to students of Auto-Ordnance Thompson history and to the legacy of Chicago criminal activity in the "Roaring Twenties." Having formerly been a police officer, I am particularly interested in it's connection to the police department's Crime Laboratory and Calvin Goddard's contributions to forensic science as a result of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
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