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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here able to give a brief synopsis of what happened after the Gov't...pulled out of S&W's factories at the end of the war?

Urban legends or truth?....Did the gov't haul out much of the tooling not needed for wartime production and leave out in the open yards? What tooling was lost? When the factory retooled, did it move locations?
When were the first of the PostWar transitional guns rolling off the assembly line versus when they were shipped. Was there a significant lag time?


giz
 

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I don't know the answer to your question, but what is meant by tooling ? Post war M&P's only differed from Victories in finish lanyard ring and stocks. I would expect the machinery that produced the revolvers stayed in place and continued unchanged for a very long time.

I would guess S&W did other government work, in addition to production of revolvers. Perhaps the "urban legend" refers to tooling used for that work.

Would be interested in the definitive answer.

Boats
 

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Can't coment on the tooling other than the military machine does strange things. If they purchased any equipment or tools, afterwards they want it back, even if they don't come and pick it up. I have seen this happen for years in the ammunition manufacturing process. I've seen millions upon millions of dollars worth of equipment, machines, and toolings just left outside in the elements.
 

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Giz,
A neat topic for discussion hpzl;n;
First off, the production of non-military-spec weapons was almost nonexistent during WW II.
Every so often a commercial model shows up, or a Registered Magnum is verified as rebuilt or modified, but for the most part, America needed guns for the war, and Smith & Wesson made 'em.
Next, an abbreviated timeline:
In 1939, C. R. Hellstrom, a former plant manager for S&W, was made President.
Hellstrom was the first non-family member to hold the post of president at Smith & Wesson.
He did a magnificent job of ramping up production for WW II, and he also spearheaded the development of postwar designs and manufacturing. His efforts actually started prior to the end of the war.
Faced with an obsolete plant and lots of old equipment, C. R. presided over the move to the new plant in December of 1949.
The stories about old machinery being scrapped out were, in fact, the usual procedure for moving from a 19th Century, belt-driven environment, to a 20th Century facilty.
The 'transitional' models (very evident among the N-Frames) were simply S&W's accepted practice of using up all the 'pieces-parts' that remained fron prewar parts-bins. The actual use of prewar parts was generally exhausted by 1949.
The 'satin blue' finishes that came out after WW II were pretty smart marketing, as far fewer polishing steps were required for their production.
S & W actually put a survey postcard in the boxes of the early satin-finished guns, asking the customers for their opinion about the new finish (!).
C. R. Hellstrom was probably the best thing that happened to Smith & Wesson since the invention of the metallic cartridge.
The 'takeover' deal occurred during WW I, when the family operation of S&W wasn't up to the production needs of the U.S. military.
There are several good books about the history of Smith & Wesson, and if any members are interested I'll be glad to email or post the titles and authors.
Thanks for raising an interesting topic that helps to explain how we got to where we are!
;)
Don
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Don, Great Post.... :)

I've read that when the Gov't stepped in to ramp up War Production that they installed folks from the military accounting and inspection officed at the factory. The military proof marks (flaming bombs) etc. would have been done by a military inspector..What do the reference books say of this?


giz
 

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My books don't address that specific issue, Giz.
This much I do know, however...
During WW II, most production industries had people from the War Department's inspection boards on their premises.
They were there for all kinds of reasons, from sabotage control to production and specification guidelines.
My guess is that the flaming bombs and other such stampings were overseen and proscribed by the
inspector(s), but factory-stamped by Smith & Wesson.
The regularity of the stampings indicates that they were set up on a 'production' basis.
Don
kljng; kljng;
 

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Gizamo said:
Don, Great Post.... :)

I've read that when the Gov't stepped in to ramp up War Production that they installed folks from the military accounting and inspection officed at the factory. The military proof marks (flaming bombs) etc. would have been done by a military inspector..What do the reference books say of this?


giz
It is standard practice to have inspectors officed in the factory that provides the US Government with material. I spent 40 years in a factory that provided communications equipment to the Navy. All the time I was there there was a Government Quality Assurance Representative that checked or inspected all government orders and he had an office in the plant. By that time they were not Metal stamping Inspector stamps on the government equipment. I do know that our equipment shipped to the Navy at least at times during WW2 was stamped with Metal stamps by the QAR.
 
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