Lefever Arms Company

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Lefever Arms Company
Gun Manufacturing, later ventured into transmissions and jackshafts
IndustryGun industry, automotive industry
GenreGuns, transmissions
FateGun business merged into Ithaca Gun Company in 1916
Transmission business merged into Durston Gear Company in 1916
FounderDaniel Lefever
Area served
United States
ProductsGuns, automotive parts

The Lefever Arms Company (1883–1916) was a manufacturer of guns in Syracuse, New York founded by Daniel Lefever. The company was in the business of gun manufacture until 1916, when it merged with Ithaca Gun Company in Ithaca, New York, which continued Lefever production until 1921.

By 1912, the company ventured into the manufacture of transmissions and jackshafts for motor wagons. This subsidiary was merged with the Durston Gear Company in 1916.


Lefever Arms Co. Optimus Grade shotgun

The Lefever Arms Company was founded in 1883 and manufactured guns in Syracuse, New York for over 30 years until 1916. Daniel Lefever was in the gun manufacturing business since the early 1850s and started his first company in 1857. He later founded several companies over the years in Auburn, New York, Canandaigua, New York and Syracuse.

Gun manufacturer[edit]

Lefever patented the first truly automatic hammerless shotgun in 1883. This internalized the cocking mechanism so that the gun was automatically cocked when the breech was opened. He also patented the automatic ejector system which ejected the used shells when the breech was opened.

The Durston and Howlett families were principal investors in Lefever Arms Company, incorporated in June 1884 in Syracuse to manufacture the Lefever Automatic Hammerless.[1]

John A. Nichols, successor to Nichols & Lefever, in the 1879 Syracuse City Directory

In 1886, Lefever lost control of his company; he remained as superintendent until 1901, when he left to start D. M. Lefever & Sons, with his three sons, Charles, Frank, and George.[1]

Lefever had several failed business partnerships over a course of 50 years with the likes of James Ellis, Francis Dangerfield, Lorenzo Barber, John A. Nichols, the Durstons, the Howletts and in the end, three out of five of his sons.[1]

In 1879, John A. Nichols announced his new business was successor to Nichols & Lefever, maker of fine sporting guns.[2]

During 1896, Lefever produced the Ejector, and an advertisement stated the company was prepared to, "accept orders for all grades of our hammerless guns fitted with ejectors."[3]

By December 1916, the Lefever Arms Company was located at 200 Maltbie Street in Syracuse.[4]

Automobile transmissions[edit]

LeFever Arms Co. transmissions - 1916

By 1912, the company branched into the manufacture of selective transmissions for touring cars and planetary transmissions and jackshafts (complete) for motor wagons, and other parts involving high-class gears. This was a side venture for the company.[5]

Company divests[edit]

Interests in the LeFever Arms Company were merged with the Durston Gear Company, Inc., in June 1916 under the laws of New York State and from that point on, the LeFever Arms Company focused completely on manufacturing gears. The company assets, with the exception of the factory and machinery belonging to the gun department of the arms company, were sold and the proceeds transferred to the new corporation formed to take over the gear business. According to company officers; "the management ownership and financial responsibility of the Durston Gear Company remains the same as that of the LeFever Arms Company ".[6] The gun manufactory was merged with Ithaca Gun Company that same year.


Lefever Arms Company - Advertisement "Ejector Gun" - 1896
Lefever Arms Company - Advertisement, Power Trucks - 1912
Lefever Arms Company - Advertisement, Shotgun - 1914
Lefever Arms Company - Advertisement, Lefever Guns - December, 1916

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Michael McIntosh & Bill Headrick. Gamefield Classics. Sporting Classics - 2008. p. 24. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  2. ^ Boyd's Syracuse City Directory 1879. Ancestry.com, 2010. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ Recreation, Volume 4. G. O. Shields, New York City - June, 1896. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  4. ^ Forest and stream, Volume 86. Forest and Stream Publishing Company, New York City - December, 1916. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  5. ^ Power Wagon, Issues 92-97. The Power Wagon, Chicago, Illinois - June, 1912. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Recent Trade Developments. The Horseless Age, Volume 37, E. P. Ingersoll, New York. N.Y., - June 15, 1916. Retrieved September 11, 2010.

External links[edit]