Otis Gun Care
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2
1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Is This the Scarcest USGI M1916 Holster Ever?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sunny Florida, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Is This the Scarcest USGI M1916 Holster Ever?

    Gentlemen:

    I was surprised and very pleased to uncover this holster in the recent past. It is a US Model 1916 holster manufactured by the George Lawrence Company of Portland, Oregon. George Lawrence was an Irish immigrant and a well known saddle and harness maker who started his business in 1857. The company remained in the family as a holster and leather goods maker until it reached the end of its trail in the 1980s. The building where it conducted its operations for many years still stands in Portland and has been designated a historical landmark.

    Lawrence is known to have manufactured M1907 rifle slings and M1918 rifle scabbards for the US Government during WW1. However, it has never been proven that Lawrence also made M1916 holsters for the Government during WW1. Over the years one or two other collectors had said to me that they had also heard of a M1916 Lawrence marked holster, but an example, or even photos of an example, proved to be as elusive as Big Foot. Before I came across this holster I had never seen another.

    This holster closely conforms to the M1916 holster specifications. It is in solid, sound condition with all stitching intact.



    Lawrence is not identified as a M1916 maker in Scott Meadows' seminal work on US Holsters. It has been out of print for about 20 years now and much information has been uncovered since it was published.



    Of particular significance is the inspector marking of W.K.G. seen on the back side of the holster. Private purchase holsters would not have such a marking. The W.K.G. marking has also been been observed on some of the M1916 holsters made by the William H. McMonies Co. which was also located in Portland. Evidently this inspector, whose identity remains unknown, had inspection duties at both companies.



    Why is this holster so scarce? I really don't know. Perhaps Lawrence was unable to fulfill large scale holster production requirements and lost the contract. Perhaps it was told to concentrate on the other leather products it was making during the War. Maybe Lawrence only made a small pilot run of holsters in an effort to secure a larger contract. Maybe it assigned its holster contract to McMonies to finish after making only a few pieces. All speculation.

    The McMonies, Keyston Brothers and Brydon Brothers holsters have always been considered among the most difficult to locate for collectors of M1916 holsters. Given that I have encountered only this sole example over many years of US holster collecting I feel safe in saying that the Lawrence marked holster must be the scarcest of all WW1 USGI M1916 holsters.

    Regards,
    Charlie Flick

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    729

    Default

    Charlie,

    Nice looking example. Thank you for sharing.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Bend, OR
    Posts
    975

    Default

    Charlie, thanks for sharing this info. That is one beautiful holster, and sounds like a great find!

    Regards,
    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    852

    Default

    Charlie:

    Great find and nice holster! I'm curious...not really being a holster collector myself. Are there other known examples of the Lawrence marking used on other WWI vintage products? I assume they also produced commercial products at the same time this holster was made? Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sunny Florida, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default

    Bob and John, thanks for your comments.

    Scott, I don't have any WW1 era Lawrence civilian holsters to compare to this one. However, attached is a pic of a USGI Lawrence-made M1907 rifle sling which I believe was produced during WW1. (Photo taken by Scott Butler and coming from the www.rifleslings.com site.) I have observed the Lawrence-made WW1 Springfield rifle scabbards and those markings are similar as well.



    Note that the inspector's initials in the photo are J.E.W. These same initials have also been observed on Wm. H. McMonies M1916 holsters as well.

    Regards,
    Charlie Flick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    852

    Default

    Charlie:

    Thanks for the additional information and photo. I can understand why the LAWRENCE marking might be different on the sling and holster...they had a lot more area to use on the holster. No need to arc the marking and reduce the size. I suspect if you were to find other comparably-sized pieces from the same era, they'd be prominently marked as the holster. Just a guess, of course, having never even heard of Lawrence until now.
    That's really neat, too, that the two inspectors apparently worked at both neighboring firms. That makes perfect sense as well...even to a "dumb" holster guy like me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    357

    Default

    There is another marking that Lawrence used on M1907 slings it made. The company name is marked the same as on Charlie's holster with the city (PORTLAND, OR) marked underneath. They usually are dated 1917 and have the W.K.G. inspector's make like Charlie's holster.

    I sent Charlie a photo of a sling marked this way. Maybe he can post the photo here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    165

    Default

    Charlie, thanks for the pictures, nice to see that their not just a myth. Great example you have there, thanks again.
    " Don't ever be afraid of dying, be afraid that life never began"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sunny Florida, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Doniphon View Post
    I sent Charlie a photo of a sling marked this way. Maybe he can post the photo here.
    Hey Tom:

    I would love to see that pic and post it here, but I have not recieved it. You can email me directly at cflick@seippflickNOSPAM.com and remove the NOSPAM, of course.

    Regards,
    Charlie

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sunny Florida, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default

    My friend Tom Doniphon sent me the photo below of a WW1 USGI M1907 rifle sling made by the George Lawrence Co. Note that the marking is LAWRENCE in a sans serif, straight line fashion and that the inspector is "W.K.G.", apparently the same fellow who inspected the Lawrence M1916 holster. It is interesting that the sling is also marked Portland, Oregon, the city where Lawrence was located.



    Thanks to Tom for making this photo available as it lends further support to the view that the M1916 Lawrence holster was USGI and not a private purchase item.

    Regards,
    Charlie Flick

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts