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In the old days, especially pre-war, Colt wrote the serial number inside the grips in pencil.
In those days, the grips were attached to the frame during metal polishing to give a perfect fit to the frame.
The numbers insured the same grips went on the same gun during final assembly.

After the war, Colt wrote numbers inside in pencil or ink, sometimes the serial number, later not, then often no numbers at all.
The later numbers that were not serial numbers were to insure the same two halves of the grip stayed together after they were finished.
Colt was no longer closely fitting grips to frames, but they still had to do at least some fitting to insure the grips matched up with each other and without gaps or not mating together properly.
The number was to keep the two pieces together during finishing.

Writing the actual gun serial number inside the grips ended sometime "probably" in the 70's??.
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