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I am going to save you a lot of frustration; read pages 453 through 469 in The Ultimate Thompson Book (TUTB). It will tell you everything there is to know about the successive owners of the Thompson gun.



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You obviously have not fully considered the information presented in the thread.


It only took just short of 6 years for someone to notice this thread was still open.


David Albert




Actually David, I read through this entire thread over the period of time. I cannot say I memorized it but I certainly absorbed enough of it to understand what it's about.


I'm in the "WH are not original" camp. I don't think of them as original production and I don't think they will ever be considered as such by the vast bulk of gun collectors.



My opinion is that the legal succession of the AO company is irrelevant. The succession appears to be a complete mess, but even if it was crystal pure, even if there was a film of Maguire shaking Numrich's hand and smashing a bottle of champagne on a crate of westies, I still think it is irrelevant.


No gun collector is ever going to say, "Gee, I wish I had a real true original Thompson, you know, something like a badly made 1970's knock off that was cobbled together by tiny local machine shops and purchased from a gun part company and then driven home in a brown metal-flake 280Z by a guy in a leisure suit and disco chains."



I don't hate west hurleys, I'm glad they made them. But they are what they are. I would not mind having one to burn ammo with.



As far as the phantom manufacture of 1960's Numrich Thompsons goes, I'll believe it when I see reasonable proof.


"I'll believe it when I see reasonable proof" would actually make a very beneficial personal motto for gun collectors.

Edited by buzz
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I think this contribution from reconbob nails the subject right on the head:

reconbob, on 11 Sept 2008 - 18:26, said:

Ok, I think I've got it now. Unbroken line of succession vs.

broken line of succesion. And from following this thread the

two sides are not going to make the other side see it their


If ACME Machine & Mfg. of Topeka Kansas, back in the 1950's

or 1960's started making copies of the Thompson, but

called them The ACME Submachine gun, made a few dozen

or hundred of them, and then went out of business, nobody

would even think of including them in any line of succession.

Even if they were called and marked Thompson nobody

would seriously consider them to have anything to do with

the original "line".

Would this all change if the ACME Machine & Mfg Co.

called themselves Auto-Ordnance and applied for and got

a trademark for the already trademarked bullet logo and

put it on their guns? I guess the answer is yes?

Or is the key difference that Numrich or Trast (I forgot who)

bought the residue of the Bridgeport CT Auto-Ordnance and

25-30 years later started making guns?

Its certainly interesting to follow the saga of the manufacture

of the Thompson - I thought TD's article in SAR was very interesting -

but to say there is some type of unbroken line makes no sense to


Anyway, I like reading all these posts, I have learned alot, and

this thread relentlessly heads for the 20,000 mark...



Edited by buzz
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"My opinion is that the legal succession of the AO company is irrelevant. The succession appears to be a complete mess, but even if it was crystal pure, even if there was a film of Maguire shaking Numrich's hand and smashing a bottle of champagne on a crate of westies, I still think it is irrelevant"


That would be a crate of Future NACs - NOt Westies!


And I would like to see that pic!

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Thanks for keeping this thread active. Unlike the Global Warmer contingent, this board allows for dissenting views that challenges the conclusions of the unbroken chain claimers. That Kahr actually manufactured two (?) select fire MODEL 1928 Thompsons (have you ever seen these examples?) from scratch puts them two ahead of Kilgore, Willis and George Numrich during their respective periods of being associated with the TSMG. The definition of manufacture ( i.e., to produce new components and not assemble from existing parts) is not my personal definition as it is the definition used by...............Tom Davis, Jr.


In TD's TUTB chapter on "Kilgore and the Thompson", there is a sub heading entitled:


Some Assembly , but no Thompson Manufactured by Kilgore


Yet the question of whether Kilgore actually even assembled any TSMGs is undermined in the same chapter by former Kilgore employee John Ruyan. TD quotes Henry B. Watkins (another former Kilgore employee) stating Kilgore did sell a half dozen existing TSMGs enclosed in the 20 crates purchased from Maguire, but Ruyan said the "Thompson parts grew dust" and he could not confirm that any of the crated parts were used to assemble a TSMG.


You stated that Cary Maguire expressed "reservations" about how his father was portrayed in TGTMTTR. Is Cary referring to Helmer covering the Kane-Thompson suit, the Cutts-Hoover suit, the Army investigation, Maguire's anti-semetic editorials in "Mercury" Magazine?


What is the status of your collaboration with WJH to revise TGTMTTR project from six years ago? Going back to the thread title, after WJH reviewed TD"S SAR article that is included in TUTB, did Helmer change his view that the post 1944 Thompson guns were not replicas? How did WJH react to Cary Maguire's criticisms of how his father was characterized in TGTMTTR?


Your contention is that Kahr is within its rights to use the AOC name, but do you believe that the Kahr AOC is the same 1916 AOC as they unabashedly claim?


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I have not read this material in a long time. It is old news to me. However, I do agree that dissenting opinions are always welcome on this Board. What I don't see is you providing any new information to this now moot question or to the history of the Thompson gun. I know it is impossible for some people to believe a product's history does not end when sold off by a corporation that is changing direction. The argument (which I disagree) I see today is because Kilgore, Willis and Numrich did not make or manufacture Thompson guns from steel stock, they could not be successive owners of the one successful product developed by General Thompson and the original Auto-Ordnance Corporation. Apparently, the original Auto-Ordnance Corporation could not change its name, abandon the corporate name Auto-Ordnance, and later sell this obsolete product and everything associated with it to another corporation. Who later sold it to an investment group, who later sold it to George Numrich. Who later put the Thompson gun back in production along with a newly developed semi-automatic rifle - and later sold everything to another corporation.

I realize this is just too much for some people to digest. They have bought into all the misinformation published about the Thompson gun for many years and lived through the poor quality of the NAC and AOC West Hurley guns. So be it. I take pride in providing much more information about the history of the Thompson gun than was available when my journey began. And making this information readily available to all that wish to study this fabulous American product.

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I wasn't going to chime in on this subjects that a lot of people have strong feeling one way or other, and you can't change their minds even if General Thompson said one way or other.


I do agree with TD. as to the succession of the AOC from General Thompson to Kahr . All the transactions were put together by lawyers and in the sale they would have included names , logos as well as parts or anything else that went with the company. You have to remember other than the sale to Maguire these guns were as hot as buggy whips.


Each of the new companies had a legal right to produce Thompsons has nothing to do with quality.


That's my 2 cents.



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I've enjoyed reading this research on Thompsons a great deal and I appreciate the time and effort that you guys have put into sharing all your knowledge with other collectors.

Can you guys think of any similarity between the original pre-1945 production and the 1970's WH production?


The only thing I can think of is that they used some leftover parts on some of the WH guns that they scrounged up.


There is basically nothing else that connects the two bloodlines of Thompsons.


The WH makers didn't even use the original blueprints.

The original Thompsons were manufactured as a weapon for army and police use.

The replica Thompsons were manufactured decades later, as collector items for hobby gun collectors who liked the iconic historical status of the Thompson.


How on earth could something manufactured as a collector item, as a homage to a historical artifact, be considered an "original".

Added to that is the lowly status of the WH due to the shabby, low-volume, part-jobber manufacture of the WH.

But some guys are insisting that a tissue-paper-thin legal status, consisting of a name and logo applied to a shoddy replica, is enough to make the WH guns into "original" Thompsons.

I just cannot agree with that idea, right on the face of it makes no sense to me.


That would be exactly the same if you bought the ownership rights to the original 1950s Barbie Dolls and started making new 1950's dolls in China.

No Barbie doll collectors would have a 27 page thread arguing if the new dolls were "original" or not. They would just be considered a re-pop and that would be the end of it.

They would be purchased by doll collectors who couldn't afford a "real" 1950's doll, for $10 each.

It wouldn't be a bad product, it just wouldn't be considered an "original".

I don't think you can dismiss the above as misinformation or a lack of brainpower.

Edited by buzz
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Using you theory your Thompson is a replica. The original AOC that General Thompson's partners sold to McGuire was a different AOC.


Their is no difference in the sale to George Numrich a different AOC.


I disagree with your theory but you are entitled to your opinion even if it's wrong.



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I disagree with your theory but you are entitled to your opinion even if it's wrong.



Just a touch of arrogance in that reply.


Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and in Buzz's case and since I work in the business of reproductions I firmly believe he is absolutely correct. If I buy the rights to the name of Studebaker and start building cars, using your logic they would be original Studebakers but there would not be a car collector in their right mind that would consider them original Studebakers. Same goes for Thompsons as far as I am concerned.



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No matter how this thread comes out,


WHs are not ever going to be considered original by the gun collecting community at large and there will never be any typical historical type collector interest in WHs.


I'm new to Thompsons but I've been around gun collecting my entire life.


There's nothing about WHs to make gun collectors associate them with the original pre-45 production. Some theoretical legal connection is not enough.


It's been 40 years and it hasn't happened yet, collector interest in WHs is right at zero point zero.



If I offered you to take your pick between two Thompsons of equal value, say a mint unfired 1928 WH and a beat up 1928A1, every single guy reading this thread would take the 1928A1.



Edited by buzz
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Ok..26 pages. Lots of good reference material. Learned a lot.

To condense:

Colt= original

WWII mfg.= replica, unless you own one.

WH= replica period.


Marketplace prices reflect the above tiers.


I own a WH Thompson. A replica thompson. No it's not an original Colt but it's still a Thompson.

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I think anyone would be hard pressed to define a WHurley as an original Thompson.

Original in my mind denoted the "first of",,,,,which in this case would be the Colt guns.


A better more apt description of the WHurley's would be a "genuine" AOC Thompson,

not an original or replica. All of Thompsons after the Colt guns were built in an ever lowering

linage of quality due to the war effort and profit motives after WWII.


I own two WHurley shooters that have been PK'd, they shoot as well as any Thompson out there.

You just need to add 2K to 4K to the purchase price and be willing to wait 4 to 5 years to

get his service. If I could do it again, I'd buy the WWII vintage guns instead.


My 2 cents,


Edited by darrylta
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A marine landing on the beach of Iwo Jima in 1944 with a Savage 1928a1 was holding a replica?


A 1944 M1A1 is a replica of what gun?


Nice try


I've never heard anyone ever refer to any WWII production of any gun as a "replica". Have you?


What military contract production of any gun of any nation of any time period is referred to as "replicas"?


Like I said, no matter how this thread turns out, these words "original and "replica" have a common, widespread usage among collectors and nobody is going to go along with some random re-assignment of the words.

Edited by buzz
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Perhaps Thompson production should be referred to in the manner of Colt Single Action Army's.


1st generation = 1920's production

2nd generation = WW2 production

3rd generation = WH production


Maybe another generation for Nac.


Whether WH's are replicas or not, there is no denying they are a variation.

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You're wrong about that, I'd love to have a WH to use as a shooter.


I'm not going to get one though, because the price on them is so high now that by the time I done replacing parts and getting the receiver fixed up, I'm within a stone's throw of a pre-45 Thompson shooter price tag.


I bought a NIB Vector UZI two years ago. It's a great gun and it runs like a top, but it's not an "original" UZI.


According to this thread, if Vector had bought the rights to the name UZI and the UZI logo, then it would suddenly be original.


That idea just doesn't compute to me.


Nor would it compute to the collector community at large.


It's no big deal, people are just not going to agree on the point.


I'm not a snobby guy, I certainly don't look down my nose at people who own a $17,000 firearm.

Edited by buzz
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The Lancer Colt SAA generation application would be appropriate if the TSMG company that manufactured (or contracted the manufacturing of) the TSMG 31 years after 1944 was the exact same company like Colt which never went out of business during the periods the SAA were in production. The Ira Trast and Kahr examples of the Thompson are of a heritage that dates back to 1975 when the homage to the TSMG went into production in West Hurley, New York. This would be referred to as the Me Generation Thompson with the Kahr version being the Me 2 Generation Thompson.

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Interesting. First it was the manufacturing or the lack thereof, now it is "the exact same company..." Of course The Thompson Automatic Arms Company and later Maguire Industries, Inc. seem to upset this theory. Follow the product from Cleveland, Ohio to West Hurley, New York (and then on to Kahr Arms) and you will clearly see the documented succession of owners (corporations, partnerships sole-proprietors) of this now iconic firearm. Or not. It is old news. I believe Darryl and Lancer have figured it out.

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Multiple reasons why Kahr AOC has no connection to the 1916 AOC makes your unbroken chain claim more compelling? That is indeed a novel perspective. Let's enumerate some of the arguments against the chainers that have been proffered since the genesis of this thread.


1) No manufacturing of a TSMG since 1944 by the various purchasers of the 20 crates of Thompson components until 1975

2) Kahr is claiming their AOC is indeed the exact same AOC of 1916. Previously on this board you have stated that you do not endorse Kahr's position. What influenced your decision to now include Kahr? What TSMG did Maguire manufacture under any other name when AOC went out of business in 1944?

3) The quality and craftsmanship of the current manifestation of a firearm is indeed relevant in the chain discussion ( despite cries of foul from the chainers) when the company producing the firearm is adamant they are the exact same company that commissioned Cleveland Warner & Ambrose Swasey to build the prototype Thompson Autorifle. Colt/Savage/AOC perfected the weapon decades before Trast and Kahr manufacture their version of the Thompson. How did they manage to blow it if they were the original AOC relying on decades of experience with the Thompson?

4) Neither Kilgore or Willis used the name Auto-Ordnance Corporation during their tenures with the Thompson crates.

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