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3x5 record cards
June 5, 2014
8:55 am
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I have read that Winchester kept 3" x 5" cards for R&R records for the 1873 model in the early 1900's. Is this true or myth ? If so, were they kept for other models and where are they kept now, if anywhere ?

June 5, 2014
10:10 am
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Bill,

What you read is not quite accurate. Starting in the year 1907, Winchester began replacing the old style (large) ledger record books (separate books for each model) with individual 3x5 cards for each serial number versus a page with (50) serial numbers on it.

For the Model 1873 and Model 1886 only, most of the 3x5 cards survived being destroyed. For all of the other models, the 3x5 cards were destroyed (intentionally) by burning them.

For the Model 1873, the ledger books end in the low 600,000 serial range (I do not remember the exact serial number range, but I believe that it is somewhere in the 615K - 620K range). For all Model 1873 serial numbers recorded on a 3x5 card, a subsequent R&R would have been recorded on a second card. For all Model 1873 records that were entered in the old style ledger records, any R&R entry would have been recorded in the "Remarks" column of the ledger book, regardless of when it occurred.

The switch to using 3x5 record cards was not simultaneous for all models. Specifically, for the Model 1885, the old style ledger record books were used through serial number 109,999 in July of 1910. For the Model 1894, the switch occurred at serial number 354,000 (May/June 1907).

Bert

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June 5, 2014
11:54 am
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Why were the 3 x 5 cards intentionally destroyed?

June 5, 2014
1:30 pm
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Bert,

Thanks for the historical background.

So if I understand this correctly, those cards would be used today by CFM for letters ? Microfiched too ?

Bill

June 5, 2014
1:55 pm
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mrcvs said
Why were the 3 x 5 cards intentionally destroyed?

There is no one left alive that can answer that question with 100% surety. There are several reasonable theories though. What can be stated with a high level of surety, is that the records were not accidentally destroyed in a factory fire. I have spent many hours researching historical records for both the Winchester factory, and New Haven, and as of yet, I have not ever found anything about a significant fire at the factory.

The most likely theory on why the 3x5 records were burned was simple space conservation, but it could easily have been that they were used as a source of furnace fuel. Keep in mind, that there was no federal requirement to maintain serial number records until the GCA of 1968.

Bert

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June 5, 2014
2:00 pm
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Blueliner said
Bert,

Thanks for the historical background.

So if I understand this correctly, those cards would be used today by CFM for letters ? Microfiched too ?

Bill

The CFM does not use the original cards. The cards were microfilmed along with the ledger books back in the 1970s, and then shipped to Cody. The CFM had all of the microfilmed records converted to .jpg files, and that is what they use to create the research sheets or factory letters.

Bert

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June 6, 2014
7:25 am
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mrcvs said
Why were the 3 x 5 cards intentionally destroyed?

The most likely theory on why the 3x5 records were burned was simple space conservation, but it could easily have been that they were used as a source of furnace fuel. Keep in mind, that there was no federal requirement to maintain serial number records until the GCA of 1968.

Bert

Hi Bert,

I think you are absolutely correct, I have an original Winchester register and article describing how the older "records" were burned in the furnace for heating during the late 1950's. Winchester was proud of the fact they were creating storage space and reducing their heating cost at the same time. If I recall correctly Winchester even mentions how many file boxes per day were burned.

I will try to find the page again in my files and post it here this weekend, it is interesting (and sad) reading.

Best Regards,

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June 6, 2014
3:20 pm
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I guess it seemed like a bright idea at the time. 🙄

June 6, 2014
10:29 pm
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Hello JWA,

I would truly appreciate anything you can find.

Bert

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June 7, 2014
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Bert H. said
Hello JWA,

I would truly appreciate anything you can find.

Bert

Hi Bert,

I have all of the bound copies of The Winchester News from 1957-1965 which came from the Olin Research Library. They are filled with day-to-day operations at Winchester and include many articles on Winchester history as written by the in-house Winchester historians and Winchester employees of the time. There are several articles regarding the Records Center and the storage and disposal of documents. The article describing the revamping of the records center states they were burning the equivalent of "1000 filing cabinets of old records per year". Cry

Here are the pictures of the documents, unfortunately I didn't make a note of which month/year the Records Center information was in so I will have to flip through all the volumes to find it again. I will then scan it for you.

Best Regards,

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June 7, 2014
12:54 pm
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Wow ❗ ❗

Are the bound copies you have original documents, reprints, or?? I would be absolutely thrilled to find another set of them, and then spend the next few weeks imersed in reading them cover to cover. What a vast wealth of information that they contain ❗ .

Thank you very much for posting the pictures 8) 8) 8)

Bert

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June 7, 2014
1:30 pm
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Bert H. said
Wow ❗ ❗

Are the bound copies you have original documents, reprints, or?? I would be absolutely thrilled to find another set of them, and then spend the next few weeks imersed in reading them cover to cover. What a vast wealth of information that they contain ❗ .

Thank you very much for posting the pictures 8) 8) 8)

Bert

Hi Bert,

They are original (and umailed) versions of the Winchester News that Winchester/Olin kept and bound for their library. It is a full set of monthly issues for the years indicated on the cover. It is a stack of bound books about 6" high so it would take a bit to read them all (I haven't even done it yet). There is some fascinating esoteric Winchester info contained in them ranging from company parties, the Winchester Co. softball team scores to spotlights on the individual departments and employees at Winchester. It is a neat snapshot of that time period at Winchester.

I have seen individual copies of the Winchester monthly newsletter but this is the only "set" I have ever seen. I would imagine however that there likely exists bound volumes before and after my dates floating around out there somewhere.

If you are coming up to the Big Reno show this fall I will bring them with me so you can peruse them.

Best Regards,

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WACA Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

June 7, 2014
10:44 pm
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Yes, I will be at the November Reno show, and I will most definitely look forward to perusing them 8)

Thanks again,
Bert

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June 8, 2014
6:12 am
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This is what I love about this forum. "New" information popping up like this, and the willingness to share it with the rest of us. Thanks for sharing JWA!
I find this really interesting as I was always under the assumption that the reason I cannot research any of my Model 1894s after s/n 353,999 was that the rest of the records were lost in an accidental factory fire, not actually used as furnace fodder by the company. And at the rate of "1000 filing cabinets of old records per year". Incredible, but sad too for us 🙁
A real wealth of information those Winchester News articles would be. Again, thanks.
Matt

June 8, 2014
8:39 am
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Bert it would be possible for someone to scan these documents and create a DVD that could be used for research.

I once scanned a Doctorial Thesis on Building Model Airplanes in a Secondary School setting. When the Library at Oregon State would not allow the shelf copy to be checked out. It took a couple rolls of dimes and nearly two hours at the book scanner and copy machine. But in the end I have a copy of the thesis bound like a book. It could be done now with a home computer scanner and a DVD burner.

Just an idea.

June 8, 2014
12:33 pm
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If you can find anything in the Winchester News as to the printer or newspaper that owns the archives currently ( or Winchester if it was in-house printing ) they may be able to provide copies from their records.
Those type of records are usually kept by succeeding ownership.

Finding the path of ownership is the trick and I doubt it will be free.

The historical significance to all collectors is substantial.

June 8, 2014
3:15 pm
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The Winchester News was published from 1952 through 1960 every 2 weeks for the employees and management of Winchester. Most of the employees received a copy while working for Winchester/Olin. Commencing January 1961 the name of the newsletter was changed from the Winchester News to the Olin News and distributed to the over 38,000 Olin employees. At that point the newsletter was changed from an every two week to a monthly publication. It was produced by the Industrial Relations Department (in-house).

I thought the existence of the newsletter was common knowledge among collectors as I have seen a number of individual copies for sale over the years that had been mailed to Winchester employees. Since these were produced pre-computer back in the typeset days I get the impression that the bound books I have from the Winchester/Olin Research Library are the archive copies and doubt there are any other original records or proofs.

The photos I posted of the bound books don't really reflect the size well as the newsletters are 11x17. It would take a BIG book scanner to do a good job on them, my home scanner won't do it. As I mentioned earlier, these are un-mailed copies so they were never folded into a smaller mailer like the copies sent to employees.

While there is some valuable info and history to be gleaned from them, a lot of the articles are simply nothing more than interesting reading.

If there is enough interest, I can cull some of the more informative articles that would be of significance to Winchester collectors and submit them for inclusion in the WACA Winchester Collector Magazine if there is available space.

Regards,

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June 8, 2014
6:43 pm
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JWA said
If there is enough interest, I can cull some of the more informative articles that would be of significance to Winchester collectors and submit them for inclusion in the WACA Winchester Collector Magazine if there is available space.

Regards,

There is definitely enough interest, and space in the Winchester Collector Magazine. When we meet up at the Reno Show, I can help you select articles that would be of great interest for inclusion.

I was aware of the newsletters (Pauline mentioned them in her book), but I was not aware of how many were published and the type of information in them. I would be thrilled to find the complete set of all the newsletters... I am sure that I would be reading them in all of my spare time!

Bert

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June 8, 2014
7:13 pm
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If they are to big for a common scanner then its easy enough to setup a copy stand and do it with a digital camera.

Photography is one of my other hobbies.

June 8, 2014
8:32 pm
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JWA
Very interesting, any chance you could share where this set came from, and how long you've had them? I just had to ask since everyone seems so intrigued by them.

Also, if you do find the specific article related to the intentional burning of the records it would be quite interesting to read. This seems to be a topic of misunderstanding and curiosity that has generated debate in the past. I've heard a few folks say that the burning may have been intentional, but no one has ever been able to show where this information came from. If possible, it would be nice to see the documentation to put this question to rest.

Thanks for sharing,

~Gary~

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