Jump to content

Thompson Canvas Items

Recommended Posts

These materials are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws.

Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 © David Albert


Throughout the service life of the Thompson Submachine Gun, a variety of canvas utility

items supported the weapon, including some pictured in the WWII web gear setup below.



TAS1921AC Collection


Thompson canvas items are very collectible, and almost every collector has a piece or two to accompany their Thompson. Many canvas items exist that I want to document here, and while this initial post has significant content, there are many other existing canvas items, produced by different manufacturers that I want to add to this online reference guide. If you would like to contribute content, please contact David Albert at dalbert@sturmgewehr.com, and I will consider your photos and descriptions for inclusion. I would like this guide to be a collaborative effort of the Thompson collector community, and for it to serve as sort of a "virtual gun show" of Thompson canvas items. If you have any items with unique variations or markings, please submit them, as I'm certain they will gain interest here.


Chronology of Updates to This Pinned Post

12/27/08: This is a work in progress. I'm literally overwhelmed with the number of photos that have been sent by board members for this new pinned post. (SIG, GIJive, and Arch Stanton - I'm not done with all your pictures yet, so if you don't see them, I'll get them uploaded as soon as I can...Thanks for your participation!) I'm posting it now, even though all the new content is not yet posted, so that everyone can see the progress.

12/28/08-12/30/08: Continuing to organize, crop, size, upload, and post the significant number of canvas item images and details that have been sent to me. Many thanks to all who have contributed so far. I still have a bunch of items to post.

1/1/09: Posted several more items that were submitted by board members, and still have more to post ASAP...

1/17/09: Added HT&C reproduction 503rd P.I.R. Rigger pouch, and Rusco Model of 1921A Thompson Case with Buttstock Pouch.

1/18/09: Added American Fabrics Co. 1943 Magazine Bag.

1/27/09: Added canvas reproduction item identification verbiage.

2/1/09: Added more information about reproduction canvas items.

2/7/09: Added more verbiage regarding reproduction items.

2/10/09: Modified reproduction manufacturer information, and added a new vendor.

2/21/09: Added info about B.B., Inc. 5-Cell 1943 dated XX Magazine Pouch., also added Burkart 1942 Magazine Bag and Mills C-Drum Pouch.

2/22/09: Added Pacific Canvas & Leather to list of reproduction Thompson item manufacturers, added one reproduction maker's mark, and also G.B. Mfg. Co., Inc. 1943 Magazine Bag information.

3/1/09: Added Epic Militaria to the list of reproduction Thompson item manufacturers, added one reproduction maker's mark

3/7/09: Added Royal Thai Navy L-Drum Pouch

4/4/09: Added information about additional Magazine Bag manufacturers

4/11/09: Finally have time to post several new items that Robert McGhee submitted to me 5 weeks ago, also posted information on additional 5-Cell WWII XX Magazine Pouch manufacturer

4/18/09 - 4/19/09: Added 2 more reproduction manufacturers/retailers, added pictures of 3 IMA reproduction items

5/19/09: Posted info about Avery 1943 Magazine Bag

5/23/09: Added Reproduction maker's mark (WPG Canvas Co.)

6/1/09: Posted information about G.B. Manufacturing 1942 Thompson Magazine Bag

7/3/09: Added statement about reproduction canvas mag pouches causing magazines to rapidly rust when stored within

7/14/09: Added info about Johansen 1942 Thompson Magazine Bag

10/17/09: Added Early WWII Unmarked L-Drum Pouch, example of Crawford Mfg. Co., Inc. WWII marking, and picture of Hoosier 1942 Magazine Bag

11/1/09: Added photo of G.B. Manufacturing Co., Inc. 1942 Magazine Bag

11/8/09: Added information about Independent Awnings 1942 Thompson Magazine Bag, and Case, Ammunition, 7052438

12/20/09: Added information regarding John B. Rogers Producing Co. 1943 Thompson Magazine Bag

12/21/09: Added photos of Boyt 1942 Magazine Bag, John B. Rogers Producing Co. 1943 Magazine Bag, and R.M. Co. 1942, USMC Marked L-Drum Pouch

12/27/09: Added Unmarked 4-Cell XX Magazine pouch

1/3/10: Added warning about maker marking and other military ink stamps offered on Ebay

1/10/10: Added photo of Case, Ammunition, 7052438 and Independent Awnings 1942 Magazine Bag

1/30/10: Added info regarding HT&C 1942 marked reproduction L-Drum pouch

2/21/10: Added WWII Rusco L-Drum Pouch with Strap

7/3/10: Added RMT Co. 1942 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch

8/21/10: Added 2 Mills Web Belts with different stampings

1/21/11: Added BB Inc. 1943 5-Cell Magazine Pouch

8/26/11: Added photo of G.B. Manufacturing Co., Inc. 1943 Magazine Bag

6/8/12: Added photo of J.S. & S. Co. 5-Cell Magazine Pouch


A Few Words About Reproduction Canvas Items:


1/03/10 - Please note! If you are considering the purchase of a WWII era "original" article of web gear, including Thompson items, please be aware of a seller on Ebay who is marketing ink stamps that duplicate some original manufacturer marks, and also original government marks such as "USMC." I can see no reason other than intended deception for the existence and dissemination of these new stamps, and I want to alert as many colllectors as possible to their existence. Examples of the stamps include "USMC," "US," "Boyt 42," "1942," and various others. A reproduction stamping of "B.B. Inc" from a different seller has also been observed in combination with a WWII date, applied to some of the Russian Lend-Lease Thompson 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouches.


Several vendors reproduce and/or sell selected Thompson canvas items, mostly for the WWII reenacting market. While useful and authentic in appearance, they can add confusion to the collector. Some are marked similarly to original WWII products, and without knowing which marks belong to reproductions, the collector could end up buying a reproduction represented, or mistaken for, an original. For a collector to understand the scope of reproduction canvas items currently marketed, they should familiarize themselves with the following vendors, all of whom have an online presence.


All Made Ups

At The Front

Bayonet Inc.

Epic Militaria

HT&C (In their eBay store)

I.M.A. (International Military Antiques)

Pacific Canvas & Leather (They make reproductions of the "COVER THOMPSON SUB-MACHINE GUN CAL. .45 D50268" for full and semi-auto Thompsons, which they call "Contour Cases.")

The Sportsman's Guide

Sunshine Exports (India Manufacturer, makes 5-cell XX Thompson Magazine Pouches and 3-Cell Reising Pouches)

What Price Glory

WWII Impressions


Here is a list of known reproduction maker's marks:


A.P.Co. 1943 (Observed on a Thompson Magazine Pouch, and a canteen cover, both marketed as repros)

Bayonet Canvas Co.

E.M. Saddlery Co. 1942

Hoff Mfg. Co. 1942 (Observed on reproduction M1911 Magazine Pouch)


K&S Co. 1942 (Chinese Manufacturer, observed on 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch - They also make a 5-Cell XXX Magazine Pouch)

Medcorp Saddle Co.

Medcorp Saddlery Co.

Wharton Mfg, Co.


WPG Canvas Co. (What Price Glory maker's mark)


A company called "At The Front" markets many high quality, general WWII reproduction web accessories which the collector should remain keenly aware of, including one Thompson Magazine Bag. Here are some of the At The Front reproduction maker markings:


Crawford Canvas Co. 1942 (This marking appears on their reproduction Thompson Magazine Bag)

Crawford Tent & Awning Co., Manufactured in 1942

Crawford Tent Co. 1942


(The above marks should not be confused with "Crawford Mfg. Co., Inc.," who manufactured some canvas products during WWII. The picture below shows an original marking on a musette bag manufactured by that company in 1941.)


Image Courtesy Roscoe Turner


Harian 1944 (Harian may have been an OEM, but At The Front markets a reproduction U.S. Assault Vest with their name as the maker's mark, so exercise caution with determination of originality of items encountered bearing this name.)

Kirkman Mfg. 1941, 1942

Langdon Tent & Awning Co. 1942 (Langdon was an OEM, but At The Front markets a reproduction M1928 Haversack with their name as the maker's mark, so exercise caution with determination of originality of items encountered bearing this name.)

SEMS Inc. 1942


Please educate yourself as much as possible about available reproductions when considering the purchase of an "original" canvas item. Some reproduction items are already being mistaken for originals, as can be seen on the French website below, which is a guide to U.S. web equipment, and lists Crawford as an OEM. (From the "At The Front" website, Crawford (and Kirkman) are apparently the last names of two of the employees who currently make the reproduction canvas items)




Another online retailer to remain aware of is "What Price Glory." They serve the WWII reenacting hobby with many high quality reproductions, and they are not prone to marking their equipment by an easily identifiable maker's mark. A collector should familiarize themselves with their online inventory, where claims such as "These reproductions are virtually indistinguishable from originals" are made, and are confusingly true. The company markets one reproduction WWII Thompson 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch, for which I do not have an example to compare. If anyone has purchased one, and would like to share pictures, I will post them here. They also market reproduction Kerr slings.


I thought it would be interesting to post a statement that a manufacturer of reproduction canvas items in India features on their website. This is from Sunshine Exports, and gives us a perspective on the ease with which reproduction canvas items can be procured, ending up in the marketplace for collectors to determine originality.


Their website states: "We are manufacturing all kinds of bags, pouches, cases, covers, belts and other accessories used by soldiers, police and other forces to carry their beholdings and equipments. These are made of industrial fabrics such as canvas, duck, belting cloth etc. Special craftsmanship and skill is required for such kind of fabrication and so we have expertese in this. All the articles are very exclusive and can be custom made as per requirement. Our directors are manufacturing of Industrial Fabrics since 1972 and supplying to many buyers in India and Nepal. We fabricate articles made of Industrial Fabrics as per drawings and specification and can also develop sample looking to the buyers requirements from R& D department."


Reproduction Magazine Pouch Warning Message courtesy of Roscoe Turner


This past weekend I removed magazines that had been stored in a reproduction pouch in my safe. After removing that I found that they had rusted in the pouch. Nothing usual about that except it appeared to be more from a reaction to the chemical dye used in the material than from moisture. I can all but rule out moisture due to the fact these pouches were stored in a safe using a Golden Rod that keeps the humidity at a safe level. Magazines that were stored in original pouches did not show any signs of rust including those that had been in the safe a number of years.


Being in the reproduction business after a conversation with the forum owner I had requested these pouches from a supplier in India to judge their authenticity and quality. After determining that these pouches could not be confused with originals I used them to store my range magazines. These magazines had been wiped down with G96 and stored in the pouches only a few weeks. The rust was very deep and in spots on all sides of the magazines. The pouches had remained on a book shelf for a number of months before I used them for the magazine storage and there was no way they could have gotten wet from where they were.


The pouches I have are identical to those sold by IMA and a number of other companies. I would not leave magazines in those pouches without a barrier such as wax paper.


The preceding message courtesy of Roscoe Turner


More information about reproduction Thompson accessories can be seen at the following pinned post:




Thompson Canvas Items


Early Mills Canvas Items


Thompson Buttstock Pouch:


The Feb. 1921 dated, Mills manufactured Thompson buttstock pouch is a separate web accessory manufactured in the very early days of the Thompson. It is undoubtedly the rarest Thompson canvas item in existence, and only one example is known to exist.



Mike Sig Collection


Mills Feb. 1921 L-Drum Pouch:



Marking on Feb 1921 Mills L-Drum Pouch:



Above Images Mike Sig Collection


Undated Mills L-Drum Pouch:



Mike Sig Collection


Mills 4-Cell XX Mag Pouch:



Mike Sig Collection


Mills 2-Cell Shot Magazine Pouch



Mike Sig Collection


Mills Web Belts (Used with Thompson Items Above):




Above Images Robert McGhee Collection


This Mills Web Belt has a "FEB. 1921" marking on it.




Above Images Bill Larson Collection


Mills C-Drum Pouch:


This Mills C-Drum pouch utilizes a carrying strap that pre-dates the TSMG. Mills made canvas items for many applications.






Above Images Ron and Kelly Brock Collection


Mills Canvas Carrying Case for Model of 1921A Thompson (WITHOUT Attached Buttstock Pouch):



Mike Sig Collection


Mills and Rusco Spare Parts Bag:


If you are contemplating purchasing a Mills marked spare parts bag, please remain extremely cautious as to its provenance. Some recollections have been discussed on this board of an individual in Pennsylvania who reproduced a Mills spare parts bag in the past that looked very authentic. The Mills parts bag pictured here is most likely original, and there are no known reproductions of the RUSCO spare parts bag. If anyone has a picture of a known reproduction Mills spare parts bag, I would like to feature it here.




Above Images Brian Marvin Collection


Early Rusco Canvas Items

(Will also include some advertising content in this section)


Rusco L-Drum Pouch:


This is an early Rusco L-Drum pouch, and the "RUSCO" marking can be seen faintly on the inside flap. It has a belt loop on the back, in addition to a carrying strap.





Above Images GIJive Collection


Rusco C-Drum Pouch:




The Rusco markings can be found inside the C-Drum flap, and also on the carrying strap, as seen in the picture below.



Above Images Mike Sig Collection


Unmarked Rusco? Commercial 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


This is a commercial type tan canvas XX magazine pouch. Speculation on the board several years ago concluded these were probably made by RUSCO as opposed to Mills, since the early Mills canvas items all seem to be





Above Images GIJive Collection


Rusco Model of 1921A Thompson Case with Buttstock Pouch:



full auto 45 Collection


Unmarked Rusco? Model of 1921A Thompson Case with Buttstock Pouch:


This carrying case is unmarked, but is possibly of Rusco manufacture.



GIJive Collection


Web Slings


(Comparison of 3 types of original slings to be added ASAP)


The pictures below illustrate differences between original and reproduction slings. Some reproduction slings exist that are very convincing at a glance, sold by several vendors. The key point in identifying a reproduction sling appears to be the presence of split rivets. Out of 8 original slings observed, none demonstrated split rivets, and all rivets covered the holes completely and neatly. Reproductions observed all had split rivets, and some did not completely cover the holes. It is uncertain whether the split rivet characteristic is a metallurgical difference, or perhaps a better rivet swage die was used on the originals. Originals did not have gold colored hardware, such as the reproduction sling shown on the right.





Above Images Bridgeport28A1 Collection


U.S. WWII Era Canvas Items and Their Manufacturers:


Many different manufacturers contributed to demand for war products, including canvas items to support the Thompson Submachine Gun in the field during WWII. I want to document as many manufacturers as possible in this section. I also want to document reproductions. An industry has developed around the very popular WWII reenacting hobby, and some manufacturers produce items that are very difficult to distinguish from originals.


4-Cell XX Mag Pouches


Unmarked 4-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:





Above Images Courtesy billie32


5-Cell XX Mag Pouches


So far, 6 different original manufacturers of WWII 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouches have been identified. The 5-cell pouch is apparently the most common Thompson canvas item.


American Leather Products Co. 1942 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:





Above Images Bridgeport28A1 Collection


B.B., Inc. 1943 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:




Above Images John Ferguson Collection


Boyt 1943 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


This pouch is maker marked on the reverse side, along with the "US" marking. It does not feature the maker mark inside the belt loop.




Above Images David Albert Collection


General Shoe Corp. 1943 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:





Above Images GIJive Collection


Hoosier T. & C.G. Co. 1942 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


This Hoosier T.& C.G. Co. 1942 pouch is a good example of variations in material color that are often encountered on WWII canvas items, and are particularly apparent on many Thompson 5-Cell XX magazine pouches. This pouch appears to be 2-tone in color.





Above Images GIJive Collection


J.S. & S. Co. 1943 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:




Above Images Z3BigDaddy Collection


R.M.T. Co. 1942 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:




Above Images James M Collection


RUSCO WWII 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


RUSCO produced a 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch that was marked "U.S." on the middle magazine flap, and marked "RUSCO" inside the left hand magazine flap. It is unmarked on the back of the pouch. This pouch is less frequently encountered than most.





Above Images Robert McGhee Collection


Unmarked WWII 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


It has been observed that many of these unmarked pouches originated as accessories included with Russian Lend-Lease parts kits, which could explain why they are unmarked.





Above Images GIJive Collection


Comparison of Reising 5-Cell, 20-round Magazine Pouch to Thompson 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


A 5-cell, USMC marked Reising 20-round magazine pouch was issued that, at a glance, appears very similar to a Thompson 5-cell XX magazine pouch. Reising magazines fit in Thompson pouches, however the flaps will not close. Thompson XX magazines will fit in Reising magazine pouches. All examples observed of Reising 5-cell, USMC marked magazine pouches bear the date of 1942. Note the subtle differences between the Reising pouch, and the Thompson pouch. The male portion of the Reising pouch snaps are located on a webbing strip that is higher in comparison to the same feature on a Thompson pouch.




Above Images David Albert Collection


(If you have any interest in the Reising Submachine Gun, please visit the Reising FAQ page on this website at the link below:

Machinegunboards.com Reising SMG FAQ Page


Reproduction IMA 5-Cell XX Magazine Pouch:


This is a reproduction item currently sold by International Military Antiques. (IMA) The snaps are extremely difficult to use, and the quality is not as good as an original.




Above Images David Albert Collection


3-Cell XXX Mag Pouches


U.S.M.C. Marked, R.M. Co. 1944 3-Cell XXX Magazine Pouch:




Above Images Bridgeport28A1 Collection


Reproduction IMA 3-Cell XXX Magazine Pouch:


This is a reproduction item currently sold by International Military Antiques. (IMA) The snaps are extremely difficult to use, and the quality is not as good as an original. The stamping has a slightly different look than originals with the same markings.




Above Images David Albert Collection


Reproduction Medcorp Saddlery Co. 3-Cell XXX Magazine Pouch:


This is a reproduction item that was previously sold by The Sportsman's Guide.




Above Images Mike Hammer Collection


(More content to be added)


Magazine Bags


American Fabrics Co. 1943 Magazine Bag:






Avery 1943 Magazine Bag:


Two Thompson Magazine Bags manufactured by Avery with 1943 dates have been observed, and a picture will be posted ASAP.


Boyt 1942 Magazine Bag:





Boyt 1943 Magazine Bag:




Above Images Mike Hammer Collection


Burkart 1942 Magazine Bag:


Burkart Manufacturing Co. was apparently a small manufacturer in St. Louis, MO that made automobile seat cushioning, and was acquired by Textron in 1953. The magazine bag of their manufacture pictured below is in unissued condition.




Above Images David Albert Collection


G.B. Mfg. Co., Inc. 1942 Magazine Bag:





Above Images David Albert Collection


G.B. Mfg. Co., Inc. 1943 Magazine Bag:




Above Images ThompsonSavage Collection


H & T Co. 1942 Magazine Bag:





Above Images Robert McGhee Collection


Hoosier 1942 Magazine Bag:




Above Images Courtesy Roscoe Turner


Independent Awnings 1942 Magazine Bag:





Johansen 1942 Magazine Bag:


A Thompson Magazine Bag manufactured by Johansen with a 1942 date has been observed, and a picture will be posted ASAP.


John B. Rogers Producing Co. 1943 Magazine Bag:





J.Q.M.D. 1942 Magazine Bag:


A Thompson Magazine Bag manufactured by J.Q.M.D. with a 1942 date has been observed, and a picture will be posted ASAP. This magazine bag apparently holds 6 XXX magazines, while most others hold 8.


W. L. Dumas Mfg. Co. 1943 Magazine Bag:


A Thompson Magazine Bag manufactured by W. L. Dumas Mfg. Co. with a 1943 date has been observed, and a picture will be posted ASAP.


Case, Cal. .45 Sub M.G. Clip D90242:


I'm putting this up because it was more than likely used for Thompson magazines, but was probably produced for the M3 Submachine Gun. Any comments regarding origin and use are appreciated.




Above Images David Albert Collection


Case, Ammunition, 7052438:


This is another item that was designated for the M3 Greasegun, but was more than likely also used for Thompson magazines.



Image credit to www.hayesotoupalik.com


Canvas Parts Bags



TAS1921AC Collection




Above Images David Albert Collection (Former)


Carrying Cases and Covers




Above Images Bridgeport28A1 Collection


Pictured below is a cover (Ordnance Number D50268) for the TSMG, which was used in Half Track vehicles.





Above Images Bridgeport28A1 Collection


L-Drum Pouches


Reproduction and Original L-Drum Pouch Comparison:



Bridgeport28A1 Collection


Avery 1942 L-Drum Pouch with Strap:





Above Images TAS1921AC Collection


Boyle L-Drum Pouch with Strap:





Above Images GIJive Collection


G.B. Manufacturing Co. Inc. 1942 L-Drum Pouch with Strap:





Above Images David Albert Collection


Reproduction HT&C 1942, L-Drum Pouch with Strap:


A reproduction Thompson L-Drum pouch has been introduced recently (January 2010) that is marked HT&C 1942. A picture will be posted ASAP.


R.M. Co. 1942, USMC Marked L-Drum Pouch with Strap:


This is a scarce, original "USMC" marked L-drum pouch made by R.M. Co. in 1942.






Rusco L-Drum Pouch with Strap:





Above Images Roscoe Turner Collection


Early WWII, Unmarked L-Drum Belt Pouch (No Strap):






Rigger Thompson Pouches


HT&C Reproduction 503rd P.I.R. Rigger 5-Cell XXX Magazine Pouch:


Members of the U.S. 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment in WWII apparently field designed and produced a pouch to hold 5 Thompson XXX magazines together. These pouches hold the magazines facing forward, instead of sideways, like most other pouches. The pouch fits on a web belt, and two of these on a belt provided the paratrooper with 300 rounds at quick service. HT&C is a reproduction manufacturer in the United Kingdom that produces many reproduction WWII canvas products. All their products are marked, and easy to identify with their distinctive "HT&C" marking. This reproduction "Rigger" pouch is marked "HT&C 1944," which can be seen in the pictures below.





Above Images David Albert Collection


British Thompson Canvas Items:


Home Guard Pouches


(Content to be added)


British Pattern 37 XXX Thompson Magazine Pouch:





Above Images Joe Gould Collection


L-Drum Pouches


British Manufactured B. H. & G. 1944 L-Drum Pouch with Carrying Strap:


B H & G (Barrow, Hepburn & Gale) are well-known manufacturers of canvas and leather items for the British military. (Many thanks to Mk VII for this information)




Above Images Mike Hammer Collection


Action Covers


Original Action Covers for the M1928A1 and M1 Thompsons can be found for sale, and most are very stiff and brittle.




Above Images Bridgeport28A1 Collection


I.M.A. markets a reproduction action cover that is marked "A.V.S. 1943," of which the collector should remain aware. It is pictured below.




Above Images David Albert Collection


British Snow Camouflage Bags and Markings


According to an article by Richard Karlsson in the August 2000 TCA Newslettter, there were at least 3 manufacturers of British Snow Camouflage Bags for the Thompson, which were intended for use in a planned invasion of Norway. Since the Germans surrended prior to the planned invasion, the cases were never issued. The cases feature 2 tie down points for use with or without the buttstock attached. Many thanks to full auto 45 for forwarding the information, and the first set of images below.


The Northern Proofing Co was based in Huddersfield, England. They also made Bergen rucksacks. (Information courtesy Mk VII)


Northern Proofing Co. Ltd. 1944 Snow Camouflage Bag:









Above Images full auto 45 Collection


H. & S. 1944 Snow Camouflage Bag:





Other Thompson Canvas Items:


Royal Thai Navy L-Drum Pouch:




Above Images David Albert Collection


Berrien County 6-Cell XXX Mag Pouch:


The Berrien County Michigan Sheriff's Department is the owner of both the Colt Thompsons documented to have been used in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929. (Serial numbers 2347 and 7580) The department also owns an M1 Thompson. This unique carrying case was made by the seamstress who repairs uniforms, and was fashioned out of old Berrien County uniform jacket material. It holds 6 XXX Thompson magazines, and is a very comfortable and efficient carrying pouch.





Berrien County Michigan Sheriff's Department Collection, Photos by David Albert


These materials are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws.

Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 © David Albert

  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...