The equipment of the celebrated Ithaca Gun Company was sold at auction in a going-of-business auction sale last Tuesday.
The Ithaca Gun Company was founded in Fall Creek, NY in 1883 by the renowned American arms designer William Henry Baker, in partnership with Leroy & Lou Smith, George Livermore, J.E. VanNatta, and Dwight McIntire. Originally called “W.H. Baker and Company, Gun Works,” the name was changed, and the first Ithaca Gun catalogue appeared in 1885, advertising “the celebrated Ithaca gun, the strongest, simplest, and best American gun manufactured.” Famous models included the Flues, Knickerbocker, and N.I.D. (“New Ithaca Double”), and the heavy-duty Magnum 10 double-barreled models; the Ithaca single-barreled trap guns, and the popular Model 37 pump-action Featherlight. Ithaca made the least expensive of America’s classic double-barreled shotguns. Field grade Ithacas were inexpensive, but they were rugged and simple, and were famous for their fast lock-time.
Ithaca guns were used by Annie Oakley, John Phillip Souza (Ithaca’s most opulent productions were once called their “Souza-grade”), George Marshall, and Dwight Eisenhower, and admired by such well-known sporting writers as Charles Askins, Elmer Keith, and Michael McIntosh. I shot a goodly number of ruffed grouse and ducks, when I was young, with a slick-handling Model 37 12 gauge.
The Ithaca Company has died twice previously, and the famous Ithaca name has been revived each time. We are living in a period when appreciation for, and collector interest in, classic American firearms is at an all time height. So, who knows? Springsteen could be right:
Maybe ev’rything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe ev’rything that dies someday comes back.