Friday, April 4, 2008

Meriden Firearms Company

A while back I was fortunate enough to get my Great Grandfathers 12 gauge single shot shotgun. My uncle gave it to me as a family treasure. This is something I truely treasure, not because of any perceived value, but instead the fact that it was my Great Grandfather's firearm. I don't know any of the family history behind the gun, but I'm trying to find out more about the manufactures' history. I recently wrote my good friend Bob Rich of The Bob Rich Shooting Journal because he lives in Connecticut and the manufacture of the gun is Meriden Firearms Co. of Meriden, CT. Bob lives near by and I thought he might have some info for me. Here is what I wrote him:
Bob, I have a question that you might be able to help me with. I have an old and I mean old shotgun that was my great grandfathers. It is an old mule kicking 12 gauge single shot. My question is that this gun was made by Meriden Firearms back after the turn of the 20th century (early 1900's), have you ever heard of this company? It was based out of Meriden, CT, thus the name Meriden Firearms Co. All I know is that this company existed and where it was located, and that they made guns and sold them through Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. I thought since you lived there in CT, that maybe you've heard of them or know someone that might have some good info on them. Thanks


Here is his response:

Gee Mike,


I live a stone's throw from Meriden and I've never heard of it. I know of New Britain shotgun but not Medien. I wonder if it's still around? I found the info below and I'll email some of my friends to see if they have anything on the company. I'll let you know. ~Bob



The Meriden Firearms Company of Meriden, Connecticut, USA manufactured small arms from 1895 to 1918. Meridan made both sidelock double-barrel shotguns and single barrel shotguns, as well as small revolvers.

The Meriden Firearms Company was formed when Sears Roebuck purchased the Andrew Fryberg & Sons firearms manufacturing plant in 1903 and moved the plant and machinery to Meriden, Connecticut, circa 1904. The company started manufacturing firearms circa early 1905. Around 1906 Sears acquired a Savage-held patent for the Model 15 slide-action .22 rifle that was not introduced until 1913. During 1918 Sears announced that the Meriden Firearms Company would discontinue the manufacture of sporting firearms.

From 1895 to 1915, Meridan manufactured their line of "pocket pistols", which were double-action top-break revolvers chambered in either .32 S&W or .38 S&W. The revolvers came in several barrel lengths and were offered with both exposed and enclosed hammers. Finish was Nickel-plated with rubber handgrips.

Meriden Firearms represented a selection of good quaility, relatively low cost firearms of which many survive in operational condition more than 100 years later.



That is more infomation than I have ever known about the company. Thanks Bob! If anyone else has any information on the company feel free to email us or leave a comment on the blog.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Knowing some of your families history...maybe you should check with the county revenuers office...they might have some documentation on that gun from visiting your great grandpa's ....um....lemmonade stand... Those guns were sold via mail order catalog but from what I can find they sound like well made firearms. Just don't go shooting it.

deerhtn

Mike Adams said...

There is no way I would shoot it. First of all I don't want it to kick my butt, Second I'm afraid it might explode. Now you know that my family wouldn't have done anything illegal now! They just sold lemonade!!!

Zololkis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sedrick Crane said...

Please let me know if you hear anything on this shotgun. I have one just like it with meriden firearms company engraved on it that I got from my grandfather. My email address is tamcrane@bellsouth.net but I will also check back on this site to see if you've found anything. Thanks a lot!

Sam New said...

I to have come across a single barrel shotgun.It was made by Meriden Firearms Co.I found a # stamped on it #38860 also another # S-30.It says choke gauged it also says the barrel was made from armory steel.I don,t know what gauge it is.Its not stamped on it anywhere that I can find.My guess would be 16 but no more than 20 gauge.Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks

sam new said...

Any response,s to sam news post please respond to bunkybug2@aol.com

Anonymous said...

hi,
i also have a 12 gauge meriden side by side shotgun....is there any ammo you could shoot through it? i mean i know u cant with todays but does someone make early type ammo?
thanks

Mr Toolie said...

Have Meriden S/S 12 GA Damascus. Bores like NEW. NO pits OR rust, NONE. Tied to wooden pallet. Tested fired. Black powder ONLY!!!Fires Great!! Luv it.
Trim shotshell back to 2.5 in. Deprime, prime, 2 dr BP, nitro card, .5 in. fiberwad, 1 oz #7.5 shot, overshot card, Elmer's glue, SHOOT! 2 much fun. Squirrels hate it.

Pete said...

The "Meriden Firearms Company" of Meriden, Connecticut, USA manufactured small arms from 1895 to 1918. Meridan made both sidelock double-barrel shotguns and single barrel shotguns, as well as small revolvers.

The Meriden Firearms Company was formed when Sears, Roebuck and Company purchased the Andrew Fyrberg & Sons firearms manufacturing plant in 1903 and moved the plant and machinery to Meriden, Connecticut, circa 1904. The company started manufacturing firearms circa early 1905. They made guns mostly for mail order companies (Montgomery Ward and Sears). Around 1906 Sears acquired a Savage Arms held patent for the Model 15 slide-action .22 Long Rifle rifle that was not introduced until 1913. In 1918 Sears announced that the Meriden Firearms Company would discontinue the manufacture of sporting firearms.

The company also imported Belgian guns and sold them under the Meriden name. These will have Belgian proof marks.

From 1895 to 1915, Meridan manufactured their line of "pocket pistols", which were double-action top-break revolvers chambered in either .32 S&W or .38 S&W. The revolvers came in several barrel lengths and were offered with both exposed and enclosed hammers. Finish was Nickel-plated with rubber handgrips.

Meriden Firearms represented a selection of good quality, relatively low cost firearms of which many survive in operational condition more than 100 years later.

The shotguns were well made and available in several grades. All had automatic safeties and cocking indicators. Barrels could be had in twist, damascus of several grades, armory steel or Krupp steel. Hammerless or hammer shotguns with varying amounts of engraving were available.

Albert James Aubrey was born Feb 23, 1863 to John Aubrey and Mary McKenna.
John Aubrey was born Jan 1, 1826 in Birmingham, Warwickshire.
Mary McKenna was born May 13, 1828 Talywain, Monmouth.

In 1856 John made the crossing alone from Liverpool to New York on the ship Atlantic. He brought over his wife and 2 children the next year.

Altogether John and Mary had 4 children.
Elizabeth Jane Aubrey b 1852, d 1931
Alfred J. Aubrey b 1854, d 1933
William Henry Aubrey b 1857, d 1922
Albert J. Aubrey b 1863, d 1947
Clara May Aubrey b 1868, d 1939

In 1880, John was working as a Silversmith in Meriden. This was most likely at the Britannica Silver works. Also in this year, Alfred is listed as a clergyman, while Albert is working in a factory. No indication is given in the census about what type of factory Albert was employed at, though there is evidence it was the Parker factory.

Eventually, Clara married Arthur Proudman. By 1900 she had her father living with her growing family in Meriden, CT.

In the 1890 Meriden City Directory, William was an engraver.

During the first half of the 1890s Albert was the plant superintendent at Wilkes-Barre Gun Co. in Wilkes-Barre, PA. After that operation folded, Albert was listed in the Wilkes-Barre City Directory as "removed to Elmira, New York."

Albert married Blanche Boomer, known as "Annie" to her friends and family, in Fulton, NY. Blanche had been born in Oswego, NY on Oct 22, 1871. In 1895 Albert J had a daughter, Clara, who was born in Penn.

In 1896 Albert's mother Mary died in Meriden on Nov 20th.
In 1906 Albert is the VP of Meriden Firearms for for Sears.
In 1907 his father, John, died on Nov 14th.
In 1908 Albert is President of Meriden Firearms for Sears.
By 1910 he is no longer working in Meriden. Albert is in Santa Clara, CA employed in Sporting Goods.

At this time, the shotguns labeled AJ Aubrey now used Meriden Arms. There were a few shotguns made using the Berkshire brand name.

During his time at Sears, Albert filed for and received 8 patents related to firearms.

According to the Sears archives, Meriden guns were no longer listed as of the fall 1918 catalog.

In 1920, he is shown in the census as a gunsmith. He is living with his wife Blanche Boomer Aubrey and their daughter Clara. In 1942 Blanche died on Dec 26th in Santa Clara, Ca. Albert died on Feb 3, 1947. He had out lived all his siblings.

William Gough was the engraver for the Aubrey and Meriden shotguns. Gough also engraved for Parker, Remington, Colt and AH Fox.

For images see:
http://damascus-barrels.com/Aubrey.html

If you have questions, you can contact me at aubrey@damascus-barrels.com

I have been researching these guns for some time now.

Pete

Anonymous said...

hey folks, i also just recieved the same Meriden single shot 12 gauge from my grandfather. he has not shot it in probably 20 years but said last he knew it worked fine (ill test for myself thank you grampa). thanks for the info from everyone, and while im not interesting in selling because of its sentimental value, i was wondering if anyone had found a price range for the weapon. Its in fair shape and im wondering if it would be worth the money to have it restored. any info would help. cheers.
-Groog

Anonymous said...

i just picked one up, i payed $40 but it had an ithica stock on it (mixed parts, really sucks)

Anonymous said...

I have the 12 gauge dbl barrel from 1906 love it. It has been used by my family for years and still works great just make sure to use low brass shells in it. I won a turkey shoot with it 2 yrs ago very reliable.