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Discussion Starter #1
I've been informed by the Archivist that Colt will only research 1911 shipping dates and that Colt never retained any correspondence, shopbooks and shipping dates for repair/refurbishing work. Yet I distinctly recall seeing correspondence between the Historian and C. Clawson concerning the same. The current Archivist agrees that such records might be in the State of Connecticut's collection. Have any of you had occasion to request records from Colt describing repair/refurbishing of a particular Serial Numbered 1911 shipped just prior to WW1? Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as my interest is more than mere curiosity.

Best to all and God bless these United States,

Dale
 

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I've been informed by the Archivist that Colt will only research 1911 shipping dates and that Colt never retained any correspondence, shopbooks and shipping dates for repair/refurbishing work. Yet I distinctly recall seeing correspondence between the Historian and C. Clawson concerning the same. The current Archivist agrees that such records might be in the State of Connecticut's collection. Have any of you had occasion to request records from Colt describing repair/refurbishing of a particular Serial Numbered 1911 shipped just prior to WW1? Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as my interest is more than mere curiosity.

Best to all and God bless these United States,

Dale
If by "shopbooks", you mean something that describes some re-work to be done (example: refinishing), then Ron Wagner told me about 1970 that they had these books. But he added "They are too confusing, so we don't try to research them". If you ask a Colt Archives agent that question now, then they won't have them. I believe that Colt truly lost or gave away these books many years ago.

I have heard that Dr. Richard Marohn had the Special Order books for 1912-19, and maybe the rework books too. Supposedly, Marohn's books are in the Connecticut' State Library. If the same books covering 1920 and beyond exist, I have no idea where they are. Now as for accessing the books at the Connecticut' State Library, if there is a knowledgeable contact there, it must be a "top secret". I say that, because those who should know, will not answer that question. Recently I even asked a Colt Archives agent if they knew a contact at the Connecticut' State Library, and they did not.
 

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I've been informed by the Archivist that Colt will only research 1911 shipping dates and that Colt never retained any correspondence, shopbooks and shipping dates for repair/refurbishing work. Yet I distinctly recall seeing correspondence between the Historian and C. Clawson concerning the same. The current Archivist agrees that such records might be in the State of Connecticut's collection. Have any of you had occasion to request records from Colt describing repair/refurbishing of a particular Serial Numbered 1911 shipped just prior to WW1? Any advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as my interest is more than mere curiosity.

Best to all and God bless these United States,

Dale
When I bought this engraved Colt SAA in 1970, it came with a Colt letter giving the expected shipping information. But near the bottom of the letter it said that "The star indicates refinishing or other rework, but we have no information as to the work done". The star is on the right rear TG on this Colt SAA, and it was assigned a rework number. This letter prompted me to ask Wagner about the rework records, as covered in my previous reply. So they did have the records, but did not want to consult them.

Maybe the rework book was impossible to understand. I wish that I could see just one page from one of these books! If as Wagner said, "They were just too confusing", perhaps that was because the rework number was the missing info they needed. Of course, the matter of interpretation likely wasn't singular - as employees retired and those now in charge changed the way the rework records were recorded.

But I have heard that the company or individual who sent these guns in for repair was noted at least by name. So the historical content of these books could be enormous.
 

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When I bought this engraved Colt SAA in 1970, it came with a Colt letter giving the expected shipping information. But near the bottom of the letter it said that "The star indicates refinishing or other rework, but we have no information as to the work done". The star is on the right rear TG on this Colt SAA, and it was assigned a rework number. This letter prompted me to ask Wagner about the rework records, as covered in my previous reply. So they did have the records, but did not want to consult them.

Maybe the rework book was impossible to understand. I wish that I could see just one page from one of these books! If as Wagner said, "They were just too confusing", perhaps that was because the rework number was the missing info they needed. Of course, the matter of interpretation likely wasn't singular - as employees retired and those now in charge changed the way the rework records were recorded.

But I have heard that the company or individual who sent these guns in for repair was noted at least by name. So the historical content of these books could be enormous.
Does the star on your SAA look like this one ?
IMG_20200506_065706897~2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for your response Kal. The 1911 I have was shipped to a Canadian Government, "Purchasing Agent" in 1914 and then transported across the St. Lawrence river. The first 1000 of 5000 1911s purchased by Canada were shipped this way because the Canadians were uncertain of the effect the US Neutrality Act might have on them. It is known that some of these guns were diverted from the normal channels of issuance and it is also likely that some of the guns issued properly were not marked with the Canadian Broad Arrow signifying Government ownership. I strongly suspect that I have one of the "informally" issued guns. When it was sent to Colt for service the serial number was stamped on the inside of the slide and on the new barrel and the rear sight was replaced. If it was refinished, as seems likely, the oven bluing method was used.

I have another WW1 Canadian 1911 and by its marks can trace its path to Montreal, thence to the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles depot in Salisbury, England and then to England at the conclusion of hostilities. It sat in English stores until 1953 when it was view proofed at the Birmingham Proof House and stamped, "not english make". It was sold as surplus in 1955 and wound up back here. I acquired it from a Virginia dealer who knew of my interest in unusual/historical 1911s.

I'll try my luck with Connecticut and the Canadian Library and Archives and post my progress here. Thanks again for your response and interest.

Regards,
Dale
 
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