Mississippi Arms Co.


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thmartin
April 30, 2005, 12:20 PM
I have recently acquired a shotgun that is part of my Mom's estate. She doesn't remember where or how she got it. The stamp states: Mississippi Arms Co., St Louis and it has what appears to be a serial number of: X24740. I am trying to get a date on this shotgun. It's in great shape and I'd like to get some history on it if possible. Can anyone help track down information on the manufacturer? - no one seems to have ever heard of the Mississippi Arms Co. Also, any suggestions on where I might be able to search for information would be appreciated.
Thanks
Tim

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Jagermeister
April 30, 2005, 04:55 PM
Missippi arms was a registered trade name for the Shapleigh Hardware Co of St Louis MO on guns made by Crescent, H&D Folsom, and J Stevens Co. It is termed, by the industry as a Hardware gun. Made by a major mfg for just about anyone who wanted their name on a gun.

Monkeyleg
May 1, 2005, 01:30 AM
If the Mod's don't mind, I'd like to bump this thread. I told Tim he would find some sage advice here. He's already received some, thanks to Jagermeister.

Maybe there's more to come.

JohnBT
May 1, 2005, 04:11 PM
I don't know of a source to date serial numbers on hardware (store) guns, but I'd guess 1893 to 1930 or so. Looking at a history of Shapleigh Hardware...I didn't learn much. Interesting though.

"Shapleigh celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 1943. In 1955, the directors sold the company to Curtis Mfg. Co. He continued to operate the business under the Shapleigh Hardware name until closing in the early 1960's."

www.thckk.org/shapleigh-history.html

From the '99 Standard Catalog of Firearms:

From the Crescent section, they list the gun and store names: "Mississippi Arms Co., St. Louis (some models) made for Shepleigh [that how it's spelled in the book] Hardware Co. of St. Louis MO"

"H&D Folsom Arms Co. - Double Barrel Shotguns Large distributor of double and single barrel shotguns produced by the Crescent Firearms Co., Norwich CT. Folsom owned and later sold to Savage Arms Co.(Savage/Stevens) the Crescent Firearms Co., Davis Warner Co., and Baker Gun Co. around 1930."

Still from the Standard Catalog...

"Crescent F.A. Co. - This company manufactured good quality, inexpensive side-by-side and single barrel shotguns and was founded in 1893. They were bought by H & D Folsom Arms Co. of NY , importers and distributors of firearms and sporting goods.

After the purchase of Crescent, the Folsom Co. was able to offer a complete range of shotguns, imported English, French, Belgium, and American made Crescents.

By the late 1890s Crescent was producing basically five grades of double-barreled shotguns offering a model for most tastes."

"In 1904 Crescent added hammerless models with fluid steel barrels, but they still offered the same line with a choice of hammers or not." They were able to mix and match barrel steels (Damascus twist vs. modern steel), engraving, checkering, wood and finish to provide a model for most tastes.

They merged in 1930 with Davis-Warner to become Crescent-Davis and in 1932 were bought by Stevens Arms.

My father's first shotgun back in the early '30s was an Essex, made by Crescent for Belknap Hardware of Louisville. How it got to Charlottesville, Virginia is another mystery we'll probably never solve.

Enjoy your shotgun. Due to the age, I'd have it checked out before I shot it.

John

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