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Winchester's evolution to dominance
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May 22, 2023 - 5:02 pm
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I was reflecting on Oliver F. Winchester passing away in 1880.  He built Winchester up a good way by that year, but of course, it was still very small compared to what it ultimately became.  I feel sad that he never got to see any of the fine lever rifles that came after the Model 1876.  A whole lot he never got to see.

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May 22, 2023 - 6:07 pm
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steve004 said I feel sad that he never got to see any of the fine lever rifles that came after the Model 1876.  A whole lot he never got to see.
  

Well, Steve, maybe dying worth 1.5 million was partial compensation.  (Equals about 45 million today, though even that is paltry compared to modern plutocrats like Soros.)  Willamson said he was not known to have any personal interest in shooting or hunting, strictly a business man.

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May 23, 2023 - 3:18 am
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Bert, Steve, and others,  I have had Williamson’s book since the latter 1970’s.  Maybe the first “Winchester” book in my library.  Going on very dated memory now, I recall not being overly impressed, but then I didn’t really care about the manufacturing background.  I also note, now, it was printed by the Association of the United States Army!  Who knew?!  Based on the comments previously, I now intend to go back and take time to read it thoroughly.  Even an old dog can learn something new!  Thanks for your perspectives!  Tim

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May 23, 2023 - 2:30 pm
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Oliver F. Winchester may not have been an avid shooter or hunter but he must have had some interest in firearms as he had five patents.  The one dated January 1, 1867 (60,814) is what has become known as the .46 OFW (Oliver F. Winchester) cartridge which was used in the 1868 trial rifles.  The Winchester Collector just had articles on the 1868 rifle/musket and the cartridge.  

A summary of his patents.

http://www.american-firearms.com/american-firearms/z-html/company-W/Winchester,%20Oliver%20F/Winchester,%20Oliver%20F.html

I call myself a collector as it sounds better than hoarder

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May 24, 2023 - 1:21 pm
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Bill,  Thank you for bringing that point out.  I am still only partway into rereading the Williamson book that I breezed over many years ago.  My impression so far is that O. F. Winchester became a believer in the lever action rifle and its potential somewhere early on.  There are at least two veins of thoughts, in my mind.  Either he believed so strongly as to throw himself and his money into the progression of companies to make the rifle a going concern, or he was so adamant about not failing and losing his investments that he threw himself into the companies to make the rifle a going concern!  Or a mix of those and maybe other motivations we now can but guess at.  At the end, what is important is he brought energy and funds to the situation, found subject matter experts to make improvements, kept infusing funds, personal interest and marketing skills, and ended up profiting from his actions.  Then we come along and enjoy the products!  There were developmental dead ends (the two articles illustrate some) and incremental steps forward to achieve success.  Couple that with business acumen and fortunate developments at governmental levels plus the general industrializing of America.  Timing played a role.  I particularly note how the Civil War helped get the Henry and the company on the path to profitability, yet WWI with its huge contracts and efforts to do whatever was needed to win the war, lay the foundation for Winchester Repeating Arms and ammunition to go into receivership.  Much more reading yet to come, though, so these impressions may change.

Tim

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