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Lefever Arms Company
Type Gun Manufacturing, later ventured into transmissions and jackshafts
Industry Gun industry, Automotive
Genre Guns, transmissions
Fate Gun business merged into Ithaca Gun Company in 1916
Transmission business merged into Durston Gear Company in 1916
Founded 1883
Founder(s) Daniel Myron LeFever (1835-1906)
Headquarters Syracuse, New York, United States
Area served United States
Products Guns, Automotive parts

The Lefever Arms Company (1883-1916) was a manufacturer of guns in Syracuse, New York founded by Daniel Myron LeFever (1835-1906) who was an American gun maker, popularly known as "Uncle Dan LeFever". He is best known as the inventor of the hammerless shotgun, first introduced in 1878. The company was in the business of gun manufacture until 1916 when they were incorporated with Ithaca Gun Company in Ithaca, New York who continued with the LeFever gun 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.



The Lefever Arms Company was founded in 1883 and manufactured guns in Syracuse, New York for over 30 years until 1916. Daniel Myron LeFever was in gun manufacturing business since the early 1850's 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 manufactory

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 closed. 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].

In 1886, LeFever lost control of his company, however, he remained as superintendent until 1901 when he left to start D. M. Lefever & Sons with his three sons, Charles LeFever, Frank LeFever and George LeFever.[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, a maker of fine sporting guns.[2]

By December 1916, the Lefever Arms Company was located at 200 Maltbie Street in Syracuse.[3]

Automobile transmissions

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.[4]

Company divests

Interests in LeFever Arms Company were incorporated 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 devoted its "entire attention" to the manufacture of 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.[5] The gun manufactory was merged with Ithaca Gun Company that same year.



  1. ^ a b c Gamefield Classics. Sporting Classics - 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ Boyd's Syracuse City Directory 1879., 2010. 
  3. ^ Forest and stream, Volume 86. Forest and Stream Publishing Company, New York City - December, 1916. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ Power Wagon, Issues 92-97. The Power Wagon, Chicago, Illinois - June, 1912. Retrieved September 10, 2010. 
  5. ^ Recent Trade Developments. The Horseless Age - Volume 37, E. P. Ingersoll, New York. N.Y., - June 15, 1916. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 

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