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John Boy
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Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Apr 1st, 2019 at 1:06pm
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Ordered the Savage & Stevens Arms book and started reading, like the book... all Stevens firearms had a unique model number in their catalogs including the name of the model.  Examples: all the Favorites were identified as #17 - #27 and #20 with details for each

Of interest:  have 3 Tip UP's.
* 1898 Catalog: Stevens No 2 - Stevens No 7 (Premier) and Stevens No 11 and 13. (Ladies Model) stamped on the left side of the Actions 
* Then in another 1898 catalog listed as Stevens No 5 and No's 11 & 13
Then in the 1935 catalog, the Favorites became the No 27 and 20 (smooth bore for 22 & 32 shot shells)
So I have a No 2 Tip Up in 25RF but also have 2 Tip Up shotguns (16 & 12's) that are not listed
Now the mystery Q' ... What was a Stevens No 1?  Roll Eyes It was a Tip Up made between 1872 and 1897 called the 'Sporting Rifle No 1' in 32-38-44 Long Rim Fires's or center fire

Now another bit of information in the book: in May 1915 Stevens management sold all their production facilities to the New England Westinghouse Winchester  Embarrassed Company because Stevens did not want to manufacture military firearms for the war effort. After WWI, the government issued a subpoena to Winchester deeming that they overpriced prices for the 1,500,000 Nagants made for Russia.  So Westinghouse BURNED ALL THE STEVENS RECORDS.  So now we know the rest of the story
« Last Edit: Apr 1st, 2019 at 1:56pm by John Boy »  

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frnkeore
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #1 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 1:19pm
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John Boy wrote on Apr 1st, 2019 at 1:06pm:
Now another bit of information in the book: in May 1915 Stevens management sold all their production facilities to the New England Winchester Company because Stevens did not want to manufacture military firearms for the war effort. After WWI, the government issued a subpoena to Winchester deeming that they overpriced prices for the 1,500,000 Nagants made for Russia.  So Winchester BURNED ALL THE STEVENS RECORDS.  So now we know the rest of the story


Is the book saying that Westinghouse, did not buy or own Stevens?

Frank
  

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John Boy
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #2 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 1:52pm
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Frank - my typo error ... was New England Westinghouse Company not Winchester  Embarrassed
  

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Redsetter
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #3 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 2:07pm
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John Boy wrote on Apr 1st, 2019 at 1:06pm:
Now another bit of information in the book: in May 1915 Stevens management sold all their production facilities to the New England Winchester Company because Stevens did not want to manufacture military firearms for the war effort. After WWI, the government issued a subpoena to Winchester deeming that they overpriced prices for the 1,500,000 Nagants made for Russia.  So Winchester BURNED ALL THE STEVENS RECORDS.  So now we know the rest of the story


It's a false story, or rather your interpretation of it is.  The author merely says on p. 128 that a "Congressional inquiry" prompted the records destruction, which occurred long after Savage bought the company in 1920.

This author says on p. 12 that Westinghouse "purchased" Stevens, while others say merely that Westinghouse "acquired control," which implies a lease arrangement, as does the fact that the company was reorganized in 1916.  Because almost NOBODY writing about guns thinks they're obliged to conform with the recognized protocol in historical research of IDENTIFYING THEIR SOURCES, the truth of the matter is still unverified.

He also says that "limited production" of Stevens products continued while the plant was still engaged in completing the Russian contract, which would be quite interesting if true, but once again, not one iota of evidence is presented to support this contention; it came by divine revelation, we must assume.


  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #4 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 2:44pm
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With respect to the ownership of Stevens during WWI, it stands to reason that somewhere in Mass. state tax or other records, changes in ownership of Mass.-based companies would be recorded.  I have no idea how to go about investigating this, & I suspect it would require legal assistance to do it properly.

But I did find this record, which raises more questions than it answers: (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links)

Why no record of Westinghouse, Savage, or any other changes since the original incorporation date?
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #5 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 4:20pm
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Date of Involuntary Dissolution:   12-31-1990
One really has to scratch their head about the dissolution date with all the name changes and Westinghouse sale
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #6 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 4:34pm
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New England Westinghouse was formed with the sole purpose of buying Stevens Arms Co. and taking over production of Nagant rifles for sale to Russia. They also got Stevens-Duryea, and the Stevens Tool Co., but sold off the tool division and shut down the automobile manufacturing division.
New England Westinghouse was part of Westinghouse Electric, and the purchase of all Stevens assets was completed in 1916. Westinghouse's efforts to stall government investigators by destroying all their firearms records did not work. The US Supreme court eventually closed down New England Westinghouse in 1926. The Savage Arms. Co. bought Stevens after WWI in 1920. Somehow Westinghouse was able to sell Stevens to Savage Arms Co. without even owning it? Amazing! Pretty sure Savage wouldn't have given them any money if they didn't own the company.
Take a look at Savage Arms Co.'s own web site history timeline. Even they think they bought Stevens.
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #7 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 6:29pm
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marlinguy wrote on Apr 1st, 2019 at 4:34pm:
The Savage Arms. Co. bought Stevens after WWI in 1920. Somehow Westinghouse was able to sell Stevens to Savage Arms Co. without even owning it?


The Savage website states merely the well-known fact that Stevens (presumably the "J. Stevens" reorganization of 1916) was purchased in 1920.  How does that clarify the nature of Westinghouse's involvement?

Any change in ownership of real property would have to be recorded in the local county Real Property Dept.  This should be fairly simple to investigate in person, or a records search could be hired out to a title company, but has anyone done it?   
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #8 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 6:34pm
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Is that what it will take for you to believe Savage bought it from Westinghouse? Or will you need another reason once this question is answered?
Why the big resistance to accepting Westinghouse owned Stevens at that time?
  

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marlinguy
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #9 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 7:34pm
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Just for fun. Here's the old Stevens Arms Co. factory. It's still there, and abandoned.

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And another site that shows the old Stevens factory, and many others as they were, and are today.

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #10 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 7:57pm
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marlinguy wrote on Apr 1st, 2019 at 6:34pm:
Why the big resistance to accepting Westinghouse owned Stevens at that time?


I have none at all.  What is your resistance to obtaining firm documentation that that's what occurred?  Seems interesting to me even if it merely confirms what has been assumed to be true.
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #11 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 8:13pm
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What is your resistance to obtaining firm documentation that that's what occurred?

Mr. Redsetter,
You sound like Pelosi.
You can read the whole Mueller report, but the POTUS is still innocent. Grin

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #12 - Apr 1st, 2019 at 9:14pm
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This may be throwing the proverbial skunk into the tent, but here goes:  On a parallel note, Hopkins and Allen made a bid for making Belgian M-1889 Mauser rifles with a too low bid, and lost their shirt on the deal, they shut down their bread and butter products and were in bankruptcy by 1917, and some sort of a war production board took over.  The same Westinghouse branch managed the financial affairs, and production was turned over to Marlin which had ties to the Westinghouse people.  One story was that the plant made M-1917 BARs, which I have never seen, but the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin has a Colt "potato digger" machine gun with a Marlin roll stamp that looks bad, but shoots good.  Marlin bought the H&A machinery in 1921.

Both Stevens and H&A made good barrels, so the government could not let that pass when we needed good rifled products.  I was not aware until today that the same Westinghouse division was involved in Stevens also.  The Stevens name survived, and the Hopkins & Allen name re-emerged when George Numrich bought it from Marlin, for a few under-hammer rifles.

James Hays
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #13 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 1:38am
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I've seen Stevens accused of burning the records too much and the timing makes it seem more related to the Westinghouse ownership (shall we say stewardship to calm the waters?) Wink.

Got the bright idea to try to research the date of any big fires in Chicopee Falls around 19teens to 1920's and nothing. I would think that this would be a headline with some historical legs. Might need to be a local to dig in the newspaper morgue? Wayne
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #14 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 9:45am
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LarryLee wrote on Apr 2nd, 2019 at 1:38am:
Got the bright idea to try to research the date of any big fires in Chicopee Falls around 19teens to 1920's and nothing. I would think that this would be a headline with some historical legs.


It is a bright idea, but it might be more productive to concentrate your search on  the years 1934-5, which was the period that the Nye Committee in Congress was investigating war-profiteering during WWI. 

However, you still may find nothing, because a fire only large enough to destroy these records wouldn't necessarily have been front-page news; although, to serve as an alibi for the missing records, management of the factory (then owned by Savage) would have had to report the fire to the local fire dept. or other authority.  Don't you think it's interesting that so many "know" all about this fire, but none can report when it occurred?

If this destruction occurred during the Nye hearings, so long after the war, seems to me that (had those records actually been subpoenaed) Savage/Stevens could very plausibly have alleged that they had been discarded soon after the war because there appeared no good reason to preserve such outdated & unneeded "rubbish."
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #15 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 10:44am
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The Savage website states merely the well-known fact that Stevens (presumably the "J. Stevens" reorganization of 1916) was purchased in 1920.  How does that clarify the nature of Westinghouse's involvement?

Any change in ownership of real property would have to be recorded in the local county Real Property Dept.

There was no recording by deed and transfer of J Stevens Arms Company real property in the early 1920's ... it was done by Savage buying all the outstanding stock of J Stevens... same as if Warren Buffet bought all the stock of Coke a Cola

To wit... Early in 1920 Savage acquired all of the outstanding stock of J Stevens and became sole owners and operators of the Company.  For the next 16 years Stevens operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Savage.  On January 2, 1936, Stevens Arms was wholly absorbed and made a division of Savage Arms Company
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #16 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 11:24am
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coljimmy wrote on Apr 1st, 2019 at 9:14pm:
This may be throwing the proverbial skunk into the tent, but here goes:  On a parallel note, Hopkins and Allen made a bid for making Belgian M-1889 Mauser rifles with a too low bid, and lost their shirt on the deal, they shut down their bread and butter products and were in bankruptcy by 1917, and some sort of a war production board took over.  The same Westinghouse branch managed the financial affairs, and production was turned over to Marlin which had ties to the Westinghouse people.  One story was that the plant made M-1917 BARs, which I have never seen, but the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin has a Colt "potato digger" machine gun with a Marlin roll stamp that looks bad, but shoots good.  Marlin bought the H&A machinery in 1921.

Both Stevens and H&A made good barrels, so the government could not let that pass when we needed good rifled products.  I was not aware until today that the same Westinghouse division was involved in Stevens also.  The Stevens name survived, and the Hopkins & Allen name re-emerged when George Numrich bought it from Marlin, for a few under-hammer rifles.

James Hays


Jimmy,
What ties did Marlin have with Westinghouse? I've been a Marlin collector for 45 years and haven't heard of any ties with Westinghouse? Marlin did have close ties with Rockwell and they owned Marlin during WWI. But never heard mention of Westinghouse?
Knew Bill Brophy (Marlin's historian) and he never mentioned Westinghouse to me, nor did he mention them in his book on Marlin history.

LarryLee,
Since Westinghouse was covering up War profiteering, I'm pretty sure they'd want a fire to be as small as possible, just avoid such attention. They likely tossed those records into one of their heat treating ovens, and the only sign outside the plant would be a little smoke from the stack off the oven.
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #17 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 11:40am
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marlinguy wrote on Apr 2nd, 2019 at 11:24am:
LarryLee,
Since Westinghouse was covering up War profiteering, I'm pretty sure they'd want a fire to be as small as possible, just avoid such attention. They likely tossed those records into one of their heat treating ovens, and the only sign outside the plant would be a little smoke from the stack off the oven.


True, but if they intended to claim "accidental destruction" as the reason these records could not be shown to congressional investigators, it would have been very careless not to make some (phony) report to document the alleged "accident." 

And if this occurred during the Nye investigations, the decision would have been made by the current owner, Savage, not Westinghouse.
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #18 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 12:38pm
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There's no reason they needed to make the fire look like an accident, as in they caught fire in a storeroom, or building. All they had to say was "Oops!" and tell the government committee some lacky was destroying meaningless documents and accidentally burned the records along with all the other records. Which would account for all Stevens records being destroyed.
Had they only destroyed the Wartime records, it would be suspicious. But by destroying everything, it looks less suspicious, and easier to explain as an accidental destruction by an employee who didn't know any better.
I've always wondered if the company had not been covering up their shenanigans, we might have records for Stevens rifles today. Their destruction of everything, to cover up War crimes cost collectors dearly.
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #19 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 12:45pm
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Redsetter wrote on Apr 2nd, 2019 at 11:40am:
And if this occurred during the Nye investigations, the decision would have been made by the current owner, Savage, not Westinghouse.


What you missed was the fact that the people in management were the same people who were in charge during Westinghouse's period. So it isn't relevant to whether Stevens, Westinghouse, or Savage was in ownership when the records were destroyed. The same people were there, and still could be subject to government charges if the records were found.
The only thing that changed from various periods was ownership. So I doubt Savage was going to be charged, but Savage management at Stevens held over form the Westinghouse years was certainly going to be charged.
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #20 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 1:25pm
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It seems to me that a search of government records of the Nye commission, might answer some questions. I don't know where or how to look or, even if it would take FOI request to do it. There might even be some verbiage about ownership.

I'm sure some money flowed from Westinghouse, around congress, at the time and even the report might be tainted around wrong doing, regarding what actually happen but, it might supply some clues.

Frank
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #21 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 2:39pm
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Wouldn't it be a thrill if an ancestor of one of the Stevens employee's found the records stored in an attic of his house? If so, the finder has something better than cash in the bank for the firearms community Grin
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #22 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 2:56pm
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frnkeore wrote on Apr 2nd, 2019 at 1:25pm:
It seems to me that a search of government records of the Nye commission, might answer some questions. I don't know where or how to look or, even if it would take FOI request to do it.


No FOI request needed--which seldom work anyway unless they're submitted by a lawyer.

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Quite a bit of this was posted here about a yr ago.  What I remember was that the reason given for not halting production of Nagants sooner was that most of the parts needed to assemble complete rifles had already been fabricated, so a sudden halt to production would mean thousands of unfinished, hence useless, rifles on the government's hands.
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #23 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 5:30pm
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The congressional records are available and searchable online for the Nye investigation, I found them the last time this came up and honestly it was pretty boring, without much usable information.

The Chicopee Falls Historical society had better or at last more entertaining information.


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The history of the J. Stevens Arms Co., written in 1942, addressed what happened: "Many of the Russian Nagant rifles were never delivered because of distrust following the assassination of Czar Nicholas and his family, and the fanatical Bolshevik Revolution in 1917."

The history of the Westinghouse Co. claims that the surplus weapons were sold to the British. When the war ended, military arms glutted the world market and manufacturers unloaded surplus into the black market, frequently selling to the highest bidder.

The U.S. Congress launched several inquiries into wartime profiteering as well as an investigation of the companies' close ties to the czarist government.

In Chicopee Falls, a major fire destroyed most of the wartime records of the Stevens company immediately following word that congressional staffers were coming to Western Massachusetts. Several company executives were relocated, and that was just about the time the baron and baroness of Chicopee Falls left for greener pastures.
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #24 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 6:19pm
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Dellet wrote on Apr 2nd, 2019 at 5:30pm:
The congressional records are available and searchable online for the Nye investigation, I found them the last time this came up and honestly it was pretty boring, without much usable information.


That's how I read the part of the report concerned with the Russian contract; there's FAR more to it, of course.  The part that I read, maybe 20 pages, was worth the trouble, I thought.

I see now the previous link I found is just a summary, but here's Part 1 of the whole show, several volumes in total:

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #25 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 9:27pm
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If I had those records, I'd burn 'em myself just keep hearing all these 'facts' stated without much evidence. Especially from the folks that say statements need to have bibliographical backing.
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #26 - Apr 2nd, 2019 at 10:41pm
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lot's of opinions and assumptions, some from one who thinks his are fact.


  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #27 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 11:55am
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Any real estate or commercial sales records of J Stevens Arms wont exist, or be found. In 1896 when Joshua Stevens retired he sold the company to an investment group lead by Page, the company's chief accountant. Page continued to run the company for the investors, but it was a publicly owned company then, and not privately owned as it was under Stevens.
So Westinghouse simply bought a majority of shares from those investors to gain control/ownership of Stevens in 1915/16 time frame. Once they owned the major shares in Stevens, they held them throughout WWI and like other companies sold off the majority interest after the War.
Marlin went through the same thing with Rockwell Corporation buying Marlin shares from John Marlin's two sons. They ran Marlin through the end of WWI and then sold it to the men who ran the company after WWI. They ran Marlin until 1922 when it went into receivership and Frank Kenna bought it out of bankruptcy court. Kenna family ran Marlin until Remington bought it about a decade ago.
These war profiteers saw the money to be made by owning gun companies during WWI, but had no interest in sporting rifle manufacture, as there were no huge profits to be made on sporting rifles like there was with government contracts.
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #28 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 3:20pm
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A very well reasoned and supported reply, Vall.

But it does bring up a question, at least for me.  It's my understanding that most of the buildings for the main Stevens factory still stand.  If so, does Savage own them and, presumably, the property they stand on?

Bill Lawrence
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #29 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 4:30pm
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It's my understanding that most of the buildings for the main Stevens factory still stand.  If so, does Savage own them and, presumably, the property they stand on?
When Savage took Stevens from a Subsidiary to a Division of Savage ... means J Stevens became Stevens Savage - ergo they own the building along with the outstanding shares they bought.  Bill: Add the equipment and who it was sold to or kept by Savage - I don't have  clue
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #30 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 5:07pm
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Bill Lawrence wrote on Apr 3rd, 2019 at 3:20pm:
A very well reasoned and supported reply, Vall.

But it does bring up a question, at least for me.  It's my understanding that most of the buildings for the main Stevens factory still stand.  If so, does Savage own them and, presumably, the property they stand on?

Bill Lawrence


This would be a question for the Chicopee Falls city to answer. But I'd bet that Savage no longer owns the properties. Savage too went through hard times, and bankruptcy and was bought by Ron Coburn in 1995. Ron returned Savage to a privately owned company, and as far as I know doesn't own the old factory buildings and property.
I have a good friend who is a factory sponsored shooter for Savage, and he tells me Ron Coburn is a great guy, and dedicated to making Savage prosper well in the future. If you look at Savage products and support the last two decades it's obvious he's serious about making Savage the top rifle company in the country.
  

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Redsetter
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #31 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 5:37pm
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Cope wrote that Savage "abandoned" (let go for taxes, I assume he means) the original factory complex (called by Stevens the "river plant") in 1960--the sad fate of countless mills & factories in the NE.  But the "hill plant," the former bicycle factory bought by Stevens to manufacture Stevens-Duryea autos, was demolished & a subway-car factory has been built in its place.
  
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marlinguy
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #32 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 6:51pm
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There were two Stevens plants on the Chicopee River. The original plant was the old grist mill they took over when Joshua Stevens started the company. Then as it grew they began a larger building down Main St., which ended up being the buildings we still see there today.
The larger building(s) were continually added to as the company grew, and eventually took over a huge area along the river. The Google Earth link I posted earlier shows the abandoned plant on the corner of Main and Oak.
  

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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #33 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 8:06pm
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According to the Massachusetts interactive property map, the current owner of the River plant with a listed address of 0 grove street, with a lot size of 8.78 acres built in 1900 is under the ownership of the City of Chicopee
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #34 - Apr 3rd, 2019 at 9:09pm
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oodmoff wrote on Apr 3rd, 2019 at 8:06pm:
According to the Massachusetts interactive property map, the current owner of the River plant with a listed address of 0 grove street, with a lot size of 8.78 acres built in 1900 is under the ownership of the City of Chicopee


Cities all over the NE are saddled with these abandoned factories & mills. Rather a hopeless situation, as the cost of demolishing them may exceed the value of the land they sit on, esp. if toxic wastes are deposited on the grounds.   
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #35 - Apr 4th, 2019 at 12:40am
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I agree about the delay not logically running to the mid 30's. Since Stevens had been blamed and Savage blamed I figured around the end of the Great War. I did, however, spend some time just looking for fires in Chicopee in the broader sense and did find a couple but not what I was interested in. Without any frame of reference maybe the fire was in the furnace room?  Grin
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #36 - Apr 4th, 2019 at 12:43am
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I saw on Google Earth Pro that it took almost 6 years to tear down the last of the buildings S of Oak Street along the river (reservoir, 2010 to 2016). I suspect that was due to a combination of lack of funds and an environmental mess to figure out. Wayne
« Last Edit: Apr 4th, 2019 at 12:52am by LarryLee »  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #37 - May 29th, 2019 at 2:08am
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Grant believed that Westinghouse burnt the records.  Page 14 of Still More Single Shot Rifles. 

I have to question Cope, since he published such a plethora of histories of stuff, from steam engines to kitchen tools.

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I just can't buy that his research on Stevens/Westinghouse could have been all that thorough.
  
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Re: Got an Education about Stevens Firearms
Reply #38 - May 29th, 2019 at 10:40am
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uscra112 wrote on May 29th, 2019 at 2:08am:
Grant believed that Westinghouse burnt the records.  Page 14 of Still More Single Shot Rifles. 

I have to question Cope, since he published such a plethora of histories of stuff, from steam engines to kitchen tools.

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I just can't buy that his research on Stevens/Westinghouse could have been all that thorough.


The general consensus has always been that Westinghouse destroyed the Stevens records. It's been repeated numerous times, and the story has always been told that it was done to cover up war profiteering. But since it was done intentionally they sure didn't document what they did.
Anyone who wants concrete evidence of the destruction of the Stevens records wont find it. It's not likely people committing a criminal offense would document the crime for posterity. I chuckle when people demand evidence of the records being destroyed. It's like demanding the Mafia show evidence of the hits they made on people.
The fact is there are no Stevens records, so it's pretty obvious the records were destroyed. I doubt they built their guns without documentation. It would be tough to believe that every other maker in the USA kept records, except Stevens. But since the later management was covering up war profiteering they somehow failed to document their destruction of the old records. What were they thinking?
  

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