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Thread: Who made this gun???

  1. #1
    Boolit Master idahoron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Who made this gun???

    I have this old pistol I can't find any info for. it is a Warner arms corp, Norwich, CT.
    This pistol is a 38 S&W. Here is what it looks like. I got this pistol from my Grandpa and wanted to find out more about it. Thanks. Ron

  2. #2
    Cast Boolits Founder/B.O.B.

    45nut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    This company. located in Assonet, MA from 1853 until at least 1917, operated under the following names:

    1853 to 1883‑ N.R. DAVIS ARMS COMPANY‑ Freetown section of Assonet, MA

    1883 to 1917‑ N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO.‑ Water St., Assonet, MA

    1917 to 1930‑ DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP.‑ Brooklyn, NY and Norwich, CT (There is some evidence that the Assonet factory remained in use until 1925.)

    1930 to 1935‑ CRESCENT‑DAVIS ARMS CORP.

    The company was owned and operated by the Davis family until 1917 when N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO. was merged with WARNER ARMS CORP. to form DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP.

    Davis‑Warner seems to have made both Davis shotguns and Warner pistols in small quantities with the guns being made at the Warner plant in Norwich, CT from parts made in the Assonet plant until about 1925.

    Beginning in 1925, Davis‑Warner seems to have regained its ability to make and sell firearms in quantity. Perhaps because the Assonet plant was closed and production consolidated in Norwich. It also appears that the Warner automatic pistols were dropped from production in 1925.

    When the Assonet plant actually closed is speculative, some sources use the 1917 date, while others use 1925; unfortunately the Assonet Town Records do not reflect the year of its closing. It was definitely closed and not in use when it burned in 1928 and newspaper articles about the fire indicate that it had been closed for some time.

    DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP. became a part of CRESCENT DAVIS ARMS CORP. in 1930. For further information regarding this merger see CRESCENT FIRE ARMS CO.

    N.R. DAVIS shotguns were marked, in addition to the names above, with at least the following trade names.

    E.C. MEACHAM ARMS CO. PAT'D AUG. 3, 1886
    ASSONET GUN WORKS (probably) no specimens seen
    RIVAL (hammerless double made in the 1880's)

    N.R. DAVIS & SONS may also have made some shotguns for Sears, Roebuck, but this has not been confirmed by observation of any actual specimens.

    Still another possibility has surfaced, namely that N.R. DAVIS may have made some shotguns that were totally unmarked except perhaps for a serial number for a few of the larger hardware wholesalers; but again this has not been confirmed by observation.

    As may be apparent from this rambling discourse, very little hard evidence exists about N.R. DAVIS operations, despite its being a well known and well respected gun maker. One reason for this is that over much of its life it was family owned, and such firms rarely make much information public.

    Even the question of how many shotguns it produced is a mystery. Some shotguns have serial numbers, while others have only a 2 digit assembly number; and there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why some are serial numbered and some are not. Serial numbers of their lack will occur in the same models.

    Much more specific research needs to be done on this company. I can only hope that this material will at least serve as a basis from which to start.

    N.R. DAVIS & SONS made shotguns under at least the following patents:

    66,913, July 16, 1867‑ breechloading firearm
    81,348, August 25, 1868‑ method of attaching gun barrels
    217,001, July 1, 1879‑ firearm
    293,719, February 19, 1884‑ breechloading firearm
    294,772, March 11, 1884‑ breechloading firearm
    346,536, August 3, 1886‑ breechloading firearm

    The principals of N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO. before 1917 were as follows:

    Nathan Russel Davis
    N.W. Davis (son of Nathan R.)
    W.A. Davis (son of Nathan R.)
    David C. Thresher (Thrasher)

    The following is an abstract of the Articles of Incorporation of the Davis‑Warner Arms Corp.


    Incorporated In: New York

    Date of Incorporation: January 4, 1917

    Principal Place of Business: Manhattan, New York City

    Names and residences of Subscribers and Shares Subscribed:

    Franklin B. Warner, 1549 New York Ave., Brooklyn, NY 8 shares

    Frank Harvey Field, 274 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, NY 1 share

    Richard L. Phillips, 2 East 128th St., Manhattan, NYC 1 share


    Franklin B. Warner

    Frank H. Field

    Richard L. Phillips

    Henry B. Moore, 540 W. 113th St., Manhattan, NYC

    Sigmund Faust, 1219 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY

    Capital Stock: $200,000 (2,000 shares at $100 par)

    In 1921 the Officers of DAVIS‑WARNER were

    Franklin E. Warner‑ President & Treasurer

    C. Chester Warner‑ Vice‑President

    I.M. Janowsky‑ Secretary

    It should be noted that both the Warners were incorporators of KIRTLAND BROS. CO. a sporting goods retailer in New York City.

    The serial number ranges of Davis made shotguns may be impossible to recreate with any accuracy until some reason can be found for why some guns were serial numbered and some were not.

    However one item does appear to be fact. That is that all Davis model shotguns made by DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP. or CRESCENT‑DAVIS ARMS CORP. had a letter prefix to the serial number. Whether this prefix denotes the year of manufacture is open to conjecture.

    One clue as to when a Davis‑Warner shotgun was made may be obtained from the very last guns produced in 1929 and 1930. These shotguns are marked on the water table, PAT. NO. 1,692,995. This patent was granted to a J.J. Murphy on November 27, 1928.
    Copyright 2003-2009 Mike Scott | All rights reserved.

    Boolits= as God laid it into the soil,,grand old Galena,the Silver Stream graciously hand poured into molds for our consumption.

    Bullets= Machine made utilizing Full Length Gas Checks as to provide projectiles for the masses.



  3. #3

    Bret4207's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    St Lawrence Valley, NY
    Very similar to the Iver Johnson guns of the day, which is to say they were a workingmans gun. These are the guns you bought at a hardware store or through a discount mail order house. The other guns from that maker I've seen have been adequate in fit and finish and appeared strong enough for shooting. No hot loads mind you, but Granpas gun might well give you some enjoyable shooting.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master idahoron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    I have only found one other picture of this kind of a pistol. It is odd that no gun books say anything about this revolver, No dates or prices, and almost nothing about it on the web.
    While all the info about shotguns is interesting you said " However one item does appear to be fact. That is that all Davis model shotguns made by DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP. or CRESCENT‑DAVIS ARMS CORP. had a letter prefix to the serial number. Whether this prefix denotes the year of manufacture is open to conjecture."
    I wonder if the same would be true for the pistols? Mine has NO model and there is NOT a letter for a prefix in the numbers.
    In the blue book for guns the auto pistol from Warner says something about the former mfg was in Norwich, CT, and the mfg dates were 1914 to 1917. I would assume that this would mean my pistol was made pre 1914? I am thinking this because of the sentace about the former mfg in Norwich.
    Thanks for all the info but most of it is about the Davis arms. I am wondering if mine was made before Davis purchased the warner company? Ron

  5. #5

    Bret4207's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    St Lawrence Valley, NY
    Don't be surprised. I have a 6" IJ 32 Long revolver and I can find ZERO info on that gun, none, nada, zip, and there are a lot more IJ's out there than you'd believe.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check