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Flour Sack Pistol

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Schutzen, Feb 2, 2016.

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  1. Schutzen

    Schutzen Member

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    Has anyone heard of an Iver Johnson Break Action .38 being given as promotion with the purchase of a 50-100 sack of flour during the 1920's - 1930's? I was told this was done, but I can find not references to it.

    Thanks
     
  2. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    Any thing is possible, I've never heard of it but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. If it was done it would have been a local thing, not official Iver Johnson policy. All sorts of things were tried to encourage business during the Great Depression. I do know Hamilton boys Rifles were used to sell cattle feed, but they were a lot cheaper than Iver Johnson revolvers.
     
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    I didn't know about the cattle feed, but I did know that boys' rifles were given away as prizes to boys who sole a certain amount of Cloverleaf Salve, to the extent that those little guns were often called "cloverleaf guns", a term puzzling to modern researchers.

    As far as IJ revolvers go, though, I think what you describe would have been a local thing, maybe with a prize of the customer's choice. Since a general store would have sold both guns and flour, the prize could well have been a revolver if that is what the customer wanted.

    Jim
     
  4. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    My grandfather worked as a commercial grocer after the war.. I never heard of a promotion quite like that but I have no doubt it's possible. He got all sorts of oddball premiums for selling bulk items.
     
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    In those days, flour was sold in cloth bags, not paper bags as it is today. During the depression, flour companies used sacks that had a printed pattern and with the trademark and other information on paper that was glued on. That way, the flour sack could be opened up and the cloth used to make a dress or a shirt. Many little (and not so little) girls wore flour sack dresses, and many boys had flour sack shirts.

    (And there is a gun tie-in. Home sewing became common, even for families who in the prosperous 1920's had bought clothes or even had them tailor made. And Singer Sewing Machine became a huge company, so big that the Army didn't want their massive production capacity for high precision products wasted on making M1911A1 pistols, so Singer made only 500 pistols, rare collectors' items today.)

    Jim
     
  6. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Why not...There's a car dealer here in the Ozarks that has the slogan "Buy a pickup. Get a shotgun"...
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    That'd likely be a flour mill company promotion vs an IJ promotion. I've heard of a Colorado, I think it was, bank giving Weatherby rifles away to new depositors about 20 years ago. So a flour mill doing something similar wouldn't be terribly odd.
     
  8. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    When I hear "flour sack" and pistol in the same sentence...

    I naturally go to a very common carrying practice of toting a hog-leg in a flour sack attached to one's belt, britches or kit.

    I've seen the practice used in books colloquially to indicate someone without means but armed none the less.


    Todd.
     
  9. Schutzen

    Schutzen Member

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    More Information

    I have been researching this as much as time allows. What little information I have found comes from "older gentlemen" who are relaying information they heard from their parents and others of the generation before. Before I post this, please be aware this is anecdotal information based solely on the stories told to me by others and I have not been able to verify anything.

    These pistols were brake action .32 and .38 caliber made under the US Revolver Company paten by Iver-Johnson for a company in Chicago IL. The dates of manufacture were from 1917 until 1928. When a grocery made a large order of flour they were provided a corresponding number of revolvers. When an individual made a large purchase that included 50 or more pounds of flour, they received a revolver as a promotional gift. I have found this information in more than one location, but still have been unable to verify it as fact. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.
     
  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    The bank promotion was you took the gun in lieu of interest on a large CD for several years. I think it was longer than 20 years ago also.
     
  11. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    I immediately thought of Mattie Ross in True Grit, with that Colt's Dragoon she kept in a flour sack.

    Using guns as a sales incentive isn't new. I've seen car dealerships, and even jewelry stores giving away rifles and shotguns with *qualifying purchases*.
     
  12. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    I'm trying to imagine who would give you a new $10 gun for buying a 100# bag of flour for $5. Anything's possible I suppose, but I've never heard of a deal that good.

    My grandparents were farmers and all born in the 1890s. My father was born in 1922, etc. They bought flour 100 pounds at a time a few times a year. Both grandmothers baked loaf bread a couple of times a week - plus daily spoon bread, batter bread, drop biscuits,etc. and cooked three meals a day - one of them on a big wood stove even though she had a new electric range. (Money just doesn't change some people. They had plenty of free stove wood from 1500 apple trees.)

    John

    edited to add:

    http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2014/ar...dex-and-the-american-inflation-experience.pdf

    Prices of selected items, 1934:
    • Potatoes, 1.7 cents/pound
    • Flour, 5.1 cents/pound
    • Rice, 8.1 cents/pound
    • White bread, 8.3 cents/pound
    • Round steak, 27.4 cents/pound
    • Butter, 35.4 cents/pound
    • Bituminous coal, $8.36/ton
     
  13. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Speedo66

    I remember seeing ads in gun magazines back in the mid 1970s for that bank in Colorado (Bank of Boulder); they use to give depositors a Weatherby rifle or shotgun in lieu of receiving any interest on their deposit. I think after 10 or 12 years they got their deposit back.
     
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Perhaps the grocer / merchant got the free gun for buying 1,000 pounds of flower?

    I have heard of this for a long time, but have never been able to pin it down conclusively.



    Over Johnson did have some strange advertising ideas though!!

    image.jpg

    They had another add showing a little hand pulling an I-J barrel first out of a Xmas stocking along the same lines.

    (Must have been idiots back then too?
    Who else would put a loaded revolver in a kids Xmas Stocking, butt down???) :what:


    rc
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  15. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Yup, they had some doozies!

    OD1_324.jpg

    6587504013_69f029f1d5_o.jpg

    Todd.
     
  16. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

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    Unsafe Commercials

    :what: What!!!

    We "HAVE" come a long way !
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  17. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

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    Progress ?

    That said, how about a return to "The Good Old Days" ?:D
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Pretty sure you wouldn't want too!!

    People only lived to 55-65 then.

    And died of a heart attack chopping firewood or shoveling coal to keep from freezing to death sooner. :D

    rc
     
  19. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

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    Return to The "Good Old Days" ?

    Well, except for : poor healthcare, unhealthy diets, and certain commercials.
    A little exercise doesn't hurt.

    Remember, guns and biscuits don't mix !
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  20. Schutzen

    Schutzen Member

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    rice of Revolvers in 1920's

    I to have been checking on the price of revolvers in the 1920's. The revolvers in question were second or third line revolvers. Iver-Johnson sold their IV branded revolver for $4.50 and their second line revolver the US Revolver Co. models for less. I have not found a pricing, but I am guessing it would be in the $3.00 range. The revolvers I suspect were give as promotional items were unbranded copies of these revolvers. I suspect that the cost to the distributor was in the $1.50-$2.00 range, possible even less.

    I too come from a rural background and remember my Grandparents telling of buying limited grocery supplies (flour, sugar, coffee, not local food stuffs) on credit and then paying off the annual grocery bill when the crops sold. Here in Kentucky and I suspect also in Virginia, that cash crop was tobacco. when the tobacco crop sold, bills were paid in full. I suspect these revolvers were given to those customers that purchased 50-100 pounds of flour and paid off their store account at the same time, but that is just a guess as I can find no definitive proof.
     
  21. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    This is a bit off topic except as it relates to the changes in gun ads, gun handling, and gun safety in the last 75 years.

    I recently acquired a reissued copy of Ed McGivern's Book of Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting wherein he provides detailed instructions on how to make a device that will allow attaching targets to a person's head so Ed can shoot them off. Also shows how one should hold a target in one's hand if it is to be shot by another. Pictures show a person swinging targets on a string while Ed shoots them.

    Times change.
     
  22. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    Darwinism has been regulated out of existence. Good or bad? Your call.
     
  23. Hairy Clipper

    Hairy Clipper Member

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    That Weatherby rifle in lieu of interest on your money was an idea that a dear friend that was a former Browning Arms Co. Sales Rep. put together after he left Browning and moved back home to Montana after living in Minnesota and covering the five state area for Browning back in the 1970s. Sadly, Buzz passed away a short time ago.

    Historically, the gun as a sales tool has been around for a while. The Daisy BB gun was invented as I recall to be a purchase bonus if you bought a windmill.

    http://www.daisyking.com/history/daisy.htm

    Also, some of you may remember the Hamilton Boys Rifle,

    http://www.nrvoutdoors.com/HAMILTON/HAMILTON 27.htm

    I seem to remember it was given away in animal feed sacks. This story is well documented on many shooting forums and google searching proves fruitful.
     
  24. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    There was this guy, William Tell was his name.........
     
  25. Gun Master

    Gun Master Member

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    No Flour Sack - Just BB Gun

    In the early 1950's a Daisy BB Gun (Red Ryder) cost about $5.00
    I couldn't afford it, so I bought a (nameless) single shot BB gun, that cocked at the breach, for under $2.00. Call it cheap, but I enjoyed it.:)
     
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