IVER JOHNSON ARMS & CYCLE WORKS IVER JOHNSON HISTORY & DATES OF INTEREST
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IVER JOHNSON ARMS & CYCLE WORKS IVER JOHNSON HISTORY & DATES OF INTEREST 1841: Iver Johnson born in Nordjford, Norway. 1857: Became apprentice gunsmith in Bergen, Norway. 1862: Opened gunshop in Christiania, Norway. 1863: Immigrated to the United States (Boston) went to work for Allen & Wheelock Co. in Worcester Mass. Married Mary Elizabeth Speirs, children: Fredrick Iver, John Lovell, Walter Clof and Mary Louise. 1871: Formed partnership with Martin Bye as Johnson & Bye Gunsmith in Worcester, Mass. 1873: Company moved to new five-story building on Central St. in Worcester, Mass. First bicycles introduced. 1883: Partnership with Martin Bye ended: became Iver Johnson & Co. some firearms marked "Iver Johnson Maker" or "Iver Johnson's Arms Co." Company remained at the central street location in Worcester. 1888: Iver Johnson becomes a U.S. citizen. 1890: Company moved to Fitchburg, Mass. Owl's head first appeared on revolver's grips. 1894: Company became Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works of Fitchburg, Mass. Purchased bicycle shop in Fitchburg, Mass. and opened first retail sporting goods store in Fitchburg. 1895: August 3rd, Iver Johnson dies (age 54) eldest son Fred became president of company. 1896: First catalog issued, opened retail stores in Worchester, Boston and Keene, New Hampshire. 1900: Purchased J.P. Lovell Co. (wholesale and retail store in Boston). 1903: Opened sales offices in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Hamburg (Germany), Paris (France), London (England), and Constantinople (Turkey). 1904: Slogan "Hammer the Hammer" first used. 1909: All firearms manufactured for smokeless powder pressure. John L., second eldest son, became president of company. 1910: First Patent for semi-automatic pistol issued to Fred I. Johnson (no prototype). 1911: Motorcycles introduced. L.H. Cobb received a patent for a semiautomatic pistol (no prototype built). 1915: Mary Elizabeth Johnson dies (Iver's wife). Company incorporated as Iver Johnson's Arm's & Cycle Works Inc. Family retains control of the majority of stock. 1916: William Barnes received patent for .25 ACP pistol (one prototype known). 1935: Walter O., youngest of Iver's sons, becomes president. 1953: Luther M. Otto III becomes president of company (Iver's grandson and son of Mary Louise, Iver's daughter). 1971: Company celebrates its 100th birthday. 1973: Company sold to Louis Imperato (owner of John Jovine Company of New York City). 1975: Purchased Plainsfield Machine Co. (makers of M-1 carbine), moved to Middlesex, New Jersey. Name changed to Iver Johnson's Arms Co. 1978: First semi-automatic pistol manufactured. 1980: Company sold to Interstate Dist. Co. of Little Rock, Arkansas. 1983: Company moved to Jacksonville, Arkansas. 1985: Purchased Universal Firearms Co. (Universal Carbines appeared in 1986 catalog only). 1986: October 22 - company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, production ceased and plant closed in December. 1987: Louis Imperato re-assumed control, renamed Iver Johnson Arms by AMAC. 1988: Resumed limited production of M-1 carbine and semiautomatic pistols. A few new prototype firearms were designed by AMAC but none of them ever reached full production. 1993: Doors shut for good, auction held and equipment sold.

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