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#597641 06/02/21 11:46 AM
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ed good Offline OP
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Confirming, side lock guns stamped Lefever Arms Co, but not Syracuse, NY were assembled by Ithaca?

Last edited by ed good; 06/02/21 11:47 AM.

the selling season is here...selective consignments accepted...pm for terms...
ed good #597650 06/02/21 06:34 PM
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Not that simple.

ed good #597693 06/03/21 03:21 PM
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as in?


the selling season is here...selective consignments accepted...pm for terms...
ed good #597735 06/04/21 02:47 PM
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Ithaca bought the Lefever name, parts and work in process c. 1916. Scattered through the later Lefever serial number ranges are guns that were finished and sold by Lefever Arms before the sale, as well as others assembled by Ithaca from the parts and work in process it acquired in 2016. Lefever Arms Co. was a Syracuse, NY company. After the purchase Ithaca moved the acquired work in process to its facility in Ithaca, NY. Some of the Ithaca finished Lefever guns are marked Lefever Arms Co., Inc., Ithaca, NY. The Ithaca-produced guns have a different look and generally lower quality engraving. Eventually, in the 1920s, Ithaca recycled the Lefever name on an Ithaca gun called a 'Nitro Lefever', a good serviceable gun having nothing to do with the guns made by Lefever Arms Co.. Others will chime in if they have more to add or want to correct anything incorrect in what I say.


Rich
ed good #597738 06/04/21 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ed good
as in?

As in, the original factory records are lost to time, so a lot of what is written about the history of sideplate Syracuse Lefevers, and especially the guns finished by Ithaca after the sale of the Lefever name, parts, etc., is sheer conjecture. And a lot of that conjecture makes no sense from the standpoint of Lefever Arms Co. being in frequent financial difficulty.

Much of this has been discussed at length in the past here Ed. I myself have spent hundreds of hours researching it and attempting to figure out the puzzle, even to the extent of studying the actual state of the U.S. and New York State economic conditions during those years, and correlating that to estimated production and sales. Remember, the serial number and dates of production lists found here and in Robert Elliot's books involve a lot of extrapolation based upon surviving hang tags, correspondence, and original sales invoices.

The website of the Lefever Arms Collectors Association continues to state that "up to 1/3 of LAC guns were produced out of sequence." But there is absolutely no evidence to back up that statement. Too much about this company has been stated as fact when there just is little or no real evidence to prove it. That was one factor that led me to drop out of that organization. Everything Richard Brewster posted above seems accurate. And there is nothing to be gained by repetition of some things as Gospel, that are not based upon facts.

Here are a few old threads that include past discussions on this subject. I haven't seen anything new in recent years that could absolutely answer all of our questions about Syracuse and Ithaca assembled Lefever sideplate guns. People continue to state that any gun with unusual features MUST have been assembled by Ithaca Gun Co. A number of years ago, there were some hot leads concerning the whereabouts of the lost factory records. But even those stories never panned out, so the questions remain.

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=363807&page=1

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=477432&page=1

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=500343&page=4


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

ed good #597740 06/04/21 05:27 PM
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thanks for info...it sounds doubtful that ithaca would have assembled guns with lock plates stamped syracuse, ny?


the selling season is here...selective consignments accepted...pm for terms...
ed good #597798 06/05/21 02:26 PM
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Keith's comments are well founded. And while I am a member of the LACA, I agree with his skepticism about the suppossed number of Ithaca assembled guns. 1/3 is ridiculous...defies both evidence and logic.

All the same, Ithaca did indeed produce some which had Syracuse plates, as well as an even tinier number of Ithaca stamped plates. There are some generally accepted hallmarks of Ithaca assembly, and of the thousands of guns we have noted, about 2% bear these marks. There are threads out there on this topic where were broke it down and exained why they indicated Ithaca assembly. And im talking about Syracuse plates.
As Richard explained above, the Ithaca plated guns (which also had "Inc" on them) are much, MUCH rarer.

But as Keith suggested, we BELIEVE this...we cant prove it with paper.

NDG

ed good #597803 06/05/21 03:30 PM
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I'm not sure why you would say that Ed. I think it would make perfect sense to stamp the info on the sideplates at some point before case hardening. And engraving is also done when the surface is in an unhardened state.

So if there were sideplates in process at the time of the sale to Ithaca, then those partially finished parts would likely have been transported to Ithaca, N.Y. for final finishing. It was known and publicized that they were assembling and selling sideplates Lefevers from the inventory of remaining parts, so it would not make sense to simply scrap sideplates that had already been stamped with the Syracuse address. And it appears that the number of sideplates stamped Ithaca, N.Y. is pretty small, including guns acknowledged to have features pointing to Ithaca assembly.

But I can't prove that... and neither can anyone else. Unfortunately, a great deal of conjecture stated as facts has misled a couple generations of Syracuse Lefever collectors.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

ed good #597807 06/05/21 06:01 PM
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I've collected Lefever serial numbers for 25 years and have over 5000 numbers. Knowing how Lefevers were truly numbered, I stick with my comment that 1/3 of the guns were built out of sequence. Its not very hard to tell the difference between a gun built while Dan was there, Durston built guns and Ithaca built guns.
Some questions to think about.
Why are there Ithaca built guns in the 30,000 range?
Why are there standard opener guns in the sidecocker range?
With the 8 ga guns mostly being built in 2 groups, why are some thumb push and others are pivot openers? Why are some cocking rod and some are 2 piece cockers?
I can tell you that I don't think there is anyone that has spent more hours studding Lefever numbers and how they relate to design changes in Syracuse Lefever's.

Bob



lefeverarms.com
ed good #597814 06/05/21 07:48 PM
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No records, so no certainty. I for one have never accepted the claim that Ithaca built thousands of LeFevers after the sale. Perhaps a few hundreds from parts on hand and in a cleanup effort to recover investment from the sale. Part of that is that I have always considered LeFever being very much under funded for years. Living hand to mouth as it were, with no great capitol investment, to build up large stockpiles of actions or barreled actions. So how many parts on hand were there at the time of sale? Enough for six month production. Based on estimated serial numbers for production from 1910 to 1914, 5 years production was 8542 guns or about 1,708 guns a year on average. Six months production parts on hand would be less than 1,000 guns in total and I think their owners were not putting anymore money into production than they had to, as they were investing into auto parts production as the same time. By estimated serial number production ran from 71,336 to 73,000plus from 1915-1919 so that brings just a few more guns and Ithaca owned them for most of that time period. But no real facts because no real records exist.

Perhaps those numbers are off but the estimated production for 1905 to 1909 was just under 10,000 so either every estimate is off or production was really about 2000 a gun in" decent" times. The WWI would have made barrels a hard to source items I suspect and by 1919 most double production was in rapid decline across the board, for most makers. Times changed as shooters demanded those new repeaters instead of those lovely doubles we all love.

For that matter many of the out of sequence guns might have been built by LeFever before the sale, as they were being pushed by the owners to use up old parts on hand, instead of investing in more inventory or new raw parts. Or they might have built anything they ever made if a customer requested and paid for it. Often with stuff on hand I am sure. I do not think Uncle Dan like going backwards, to build old designs, but maybe he did so to make ends meet. Or it happened after he left to start up his last company and the owners decided to clean out all the old stuff and get any money out of it that they could. Sadly agian no records to tell us.

Has anyone ever found any records of how small or large an order was required for items like rough receivers? Was it 50, 100 or 500 for rough receivers?. Do we even know who supplied those for them or do we think they made all their own from a block of steel? Has anyone ever seen a rough casting for a LeFever? That would be a cool find. Or perhaps they are so generic that there is no way to tell a LeFever from a Smith or Aubrey. I have seen a few rough casting for British doubles and assume the American started from the same point. I do recall several threads about barrel suppliers but not receivers. I think that was the most likely limiting number, for Ithaca made guns, unless we have some record of Ithaca ordering some after the sale. So any parts cleanup might have been limited to receivers on hand at the time of sale. That should be hundreds not thousands I suspect. But even a full years production, as a parts cleanup, is a couple thousand tops.

Were there any records of LeFever employees moving to Ithaca NY and continuing to build guns? Perhaps a census record could give us a few names. But for that matter how many employees did LeFever have at the time of the sale. The owners were much more interested in making auto part than guns and skilled employees, worth retaining, might all have been offered jobs in that part of the business. If Ithaca built many LeFevers did they just do it in house with their people learning as they went or did they bring a couple people with them to help? Does not seem likely but again no records so no sure answer.

LeFever is the unanswerable quagmire in itself. What did he have like four partners or more? Plus he got wiped out by a fire at one point. I have heard he was constantly seeking infusion of capitol and took on partners when one ran out of money or personalities clashed. I never bought into the latter. It seems he was on good terms with everyone of them we know anything about. The firearms industry in the post civil war time frame was almost a constant series of failures and reinventions of companies. Investors hoped for a fast return and then decided to try something else when profits were less than hoped for. What would we learn if LeFever had records we could find?

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