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Antique Military Firearms
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This is an original and very fine condition WWII Model 1911 A1 .45 ACP Pistol manufactured by the Ithaca Gun Company in 1945.

 

With war on the horizon in the late 1930s, the Ordnance Department began to consider how to increase small arms production in the event the United States entered the war.  Part of the planning was to identify companies that could manufacture small arms beyond those manufactured at the time by either principal private contractors or by national armories.

 

In June 1939, the Ordnance Department requested bids for educational orders on 1911 A1 pistols from numerous firms including Harrington & Richardson Arms Company, the Burroughs Adding Machine Company, Marlin Fire Arms Company, Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Singer Manufacturing Company, Savage Arms Company, Iver John Arms and Cycle Works and Lanston Monotype Machine Company.  Of these private companies, Singer and Harrington & Richardson received educational orders.  Harrington & Richardson engaged in preliminary work but never completed a finished 1911A1 pistol.  Singer Manufacturing produced 500 Model 1911A1 pistols under an educational order.

 

In June 1940, the Rochester District Ordnance Office asked the Ithaca Gun Company to submit a bid for an educational contract, W-ORD-648-41-48, for the manufacture of 100 to 500 Model 1911A1 pistols.  Singer furnished drawings and specifications used in the production of its educational order to Ithaca.  Ithaca’s contract was cancelled, however. 

 

The next year, 1941, Colt approached Ithaca with a proposal to manufacture parts for the Model 1911A1 pistol under subcontract to Colt.  Colt’s plan was to provide Ithaca with the tooling and other equipment used by Remington-UMC when it produced Model 1911 pistols during WWI.  The equipment and tools was largely unserviceable and that contract was also cancelled. 

 

In January 1942, the Chief of the Rochester District asked Ithaca to submit a bid for the manufacture of 500 Model 1911A1 pistols per day.  Ithaca submitted a proposal and it was accepted resulting in Ithaca’s first pistol contract, W-740-ORD-2263, in May 1942.  The total production under this contract was for 60,000 Model 1911A1 pistols.  Under the terms of this contract, the U.S. Government would furnish the tooling and Ithaca was to begin deliveries in December 1942. 

 

Both Harrington & Richardson and Singer provided their drawings and Singer also provided some of the tooling and gauges from their educational order but much more was needed.  As a result, the Ordnance Department contracted with Remington Rand, who was already producing the Model 1911A1, to obtain additional tooling and equipment for Ithaca.  Numerous delays resulted and a complete set of tools and equipment was not on hand at Ithaca until March 1943, which was when Ithaca was supposed to have been commencing deliveries of completed pistols.

 

From the outset, then, Ithaca was behind schedule.  To help them catch up, Colt provided numerous parts to Ithaca, which were incorporated in early Ithaca Model 1911A1 production.  For example, some of Ithaca’s first pistols used early Colt Model 1911 frames, which had the finger cuts on both sides of the trigger guard milled and old markings removed.  Colt also provided Ithaca with several thousand slides that were newly manufactured by Colt to 1911A1 specifications.

 

Ithaca initially subcontracted with the High Standard Manufacturing Company of New Haven, Connecticut for barrels.  Later, the government furnished Ithaca with the barrels and the contract price per pistol was adjusted.  Most of Ithaca’s barrels were still manufactured by High Standard but a limited number were produced by Springfield Armory and then later by the Flannery Bolt Company after the Springfield Armory barrel production line was transferred to Flannery in the fall of 1943. 

 

Ithaca used magazines procured from the M. S. Little Company of New Haven, who subcontracted production to its subcontractors, the Scovill Manufacturing Company of Waterbury, Connecticut and the Risdon Tool and Machinery Company of Naugatuck, Connecticut. 

 

All Ithaca Model 1911A1 pistols were manufactured with a dull military finish.  The earliest Ithaca pistols were finished using the Type III “DuLite” black oxide process until the summer of 1943.  In July 1943, Ithaca transitioned to the “Parkerized” finish using the Type II zinc phosphate finish, which occurred in Ithaca’s 88xxxx serial number range.  All Ithaca production from that point until the end of production was with the zinc phosphate finish, which is now typically referred to as a parkerized finish.

 

Ithaca contracted with the Keyes Fibre Company of New York City to produce its stocks.  These stocks were made of checkered, brown plastic with an escutcheon ring around the outside screw holes and with reinforcing ribs on the inside.  Keyes’s star “K” mark and a mold number was stamped on the inside of each stock panel. 

 

In addition to using components from Colt and Remington Rand, Ithaca also used parts made under subcontract by numerous other companies, including the Hartford Screw Machine Company, Cayuga Motors, Wright Engineering Company, General Pressed Metals, Lux Clock Company and Yawman Metal Products.  Ithaca also received a contract to manufacture replacement slides, but these can be distinguished from regular production slides by the marking “MODEL OF 1911 A1 U.S. ARMY” on the right side.  Ithaca used some of these slides that were considered excess in its production from serial numbers 906743- 916404. 

 

Ithaca Model 1911A1 pistols were inspected by the Rochester Ordnance District and acceptable pistols were stamped with the initials “FJA,” for District Chief Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Atwood.  Ithaca’s pistols were also stamped with the Ordnance Escutcheon stamp on the right side of the frame.  A firing proof “P” mark was stamped on the left side of the frame below the magazine release and on top of the slide just forward of the rear sight.  In August 1943, Ithaca factory inspectors began stamping its pistols on the left front trigger guard bow with an in-house proof mark. 

 

The Ordnance Department assigned six different serial number blocks.  These blocks were 856405 through 916404, 1208674 through 1279673, 1441431 through 1471430, 1816642 through 1890503, 2075104 through 2134403 and 2619014 through 2693613.  Not all of the numbers in the last serial number block were used as the contract was terminated with the end of WWII.  The last serial number produced by Ithaca was 2660318.

 

As noted, this particular Ithaca Model 1911A1 pistol is serial number 2628530, which was in Ithaca’s sixth assigned serial number block, which was manufactured in early 1945.  According to Charles Clawson’s definitive book on US Service Pistols from 1911-1945, shipping records from Ithaca indicates that this pistol was shipped as part of Ithaca’s 6th Contract, in the sixth batch of pistols for that contract, serial numbers 2625628 to 2626027, on May 7, 1945, to the Transportation Officer at Rock Island Ordnance Depot in Rock Island, Illinois. This particular shipment included 3,400 Model 1911A1 pistols.

 

The left side of the Slide has the standard manufacturer’s stamp, sans serif “ITHACA GUN CO., INCL, / ITHACA, N.Y.”  The top of the slide has the correct sans serif “P” stamp forward of the rear sight.  The correct rear sight has a witness mark that aligns perfectly with the witness mark on the slide.  The correct front sight with smooth, sloped front and serrated rear ramp is present.  The slide retains 98% plus of the original parkerized finish that is beginning to thin along the sharp edges and along friction points with a few minor dings. The breech face is very clean and exhibits minor firing wear.  The correct extractor is present and it retains the vast majority of its original parkerized finish with the extractor lip itself correctly polished to the white.  The correct firing pin is present and the Firing Pin Spring remains in the white.  The correct Firing Pin Retaining Plate is present and it retains the vast majority of its original parkerized finish. 

 

The Receiver (or Frame) on this Pistol remains in fine condition. It retains 95% plus of the original parkerized finish. There is a small scratch on the left side from the slide stop and some small scratches on the bottom of the mainspring shroud. The magazine well exhibits very minor wear.  The feed ramp is correctly polished.  The front grip strap still retains virtually all of its original finish with only a very tiny mark on the strap. Both the Slide Lock and Safety Plungers are present. The four original Stock Screw Bushings are present. The left side of the Receiver has the correct Ordnance Department Inspection Mark, which is "FJA" stamped behind just below the Slide Stop notch in sans serif letters. The initials, as noted previously, "FJA," stand for Colonel Frank J. Atwood, who was the commander of the Rochester Ordnance District from June 1942 to March 1946. The Ordnance Department firing Proof Mark "P" is stamped in sans serif just below magazine release hole.  On the left side trigger guard bow is the Ithaca in-house proof stamp, which looks like a chalice.

 

The right rear of the Receiver has the Final Ordnance Department Inspection mark, which is the Ordnance Department Escutcheon, stamped up and to the right of the hammer and disconnector pin holes. The right side, just to the rear of the slide stop in hole, is the "UNITED STATES PROPERTY" stamp in sans serif letters. The property marking is just above the serial number prefix, "No[underlined]" followed by the serial number “2628530.” Just forward of the slide stop hole on the right side is the model designation "M 1911 A1 U.S. ARMY," in sans serif letters. The serial number, which was stamped after finishing beginning at approximately serial number 955,001, is crisp and clear as compared to the property and nomenclature stampings. There is also a “2” assembly stamp on the right side of the trigger guard bow. The Ejector is the correct type used by Ithaca for the entirety of its production and it shows normal wear. The Plunger Tube on the left side of the Receiver shows minimal wear and retains most of its parkerized finish.

 

The Hammer is the correct fifth type used by Ithaca after mid-1943, which has six grooves.   This hammer retains the vast majority of its original dark parkerized finish with wear noted on the friction points. The Trigger is the correct Type 2, 3rd Variation stamped and brazed type.  This type of trigger entered production in late September 1943 and was manufactured under subcontract for Ithaca by Yawman Metal Products, Inc.  Ithaca began using this type trigger at serial number 1441431.  The trigger is in fine condition and retains 98% plus of its original parkerized finish.  The original Hammer Strut is present and it, and the strut pin, still retain 98% plus of the original parkerized finish.  The original Hammer Pin is present and it retains 99% of its original dark parkerized finish and both ends are correctly polished.

 

The original Sear is present and retains 98% of its original dark parkerized finish.  The sear lip is correctly polished to the white.  The original Disconnector also retains 98% plus of its original dark parkerized finish.  The beveled edge and the disconnector point are both correctly polished to the white.  The original Sear Pin is present and it retains 99% of its original dark parkerized finish and both ends are correctly polished.

 

The Safety Lock or Thumb Safety is the correct second Ithaca type, or Type C, that was used by Ithaca at the very of its production.  This Safety has serrations on the top and bottom of the thumb tab. The Safety Lock is in fine condition and it retains 98% of its dark parkerized finish.

 

The Grip Safety is the 4th Type, which was used by Ithaca for the duration of their production. The Grip Safety shows minimal wear and is fine condition retaining 98% of its original dark parkerized finish.  The Mainspring is in very fine condition and retains 98% of its original blued finish.  The Mainspring Housing is the correct and late Type 4 serrated type with seven ribs that is in very fine condition, retaining 98% of its original parkerized finish.  a late-WWII Remington type with eight vertical grooves.  The Lanyard Ring is still securely attached and exhibits minor wear only on the very outer edge.  The Plunger remains in the white and the Plunger Pin retains all of its original parkerized finish.  The Mainspring Housing Pin is in very fine condition and retains virtually all of its original parkerized finish. 

 

The Magazine Catch Housing is the correct Type 3 that was used by Ithaca for the duration of production. It has the correct six full diamonds across the face of the release button. The Magazine Catch Lock face is single-slotted and is unmarred. The entire Magazine Catch is in fine condition and retains 98% of its gray-green parkerized finish.  The lock spring remains in the white.

 

The Slide Stop is the correct Type 3 used by Ithaca from serial number 900,001 until the end of production. It has the correct parallel grooves (which replaced the checkering at around serial number 900,000) and is in very fine condition with very minor wear on the leading edge of the thump piece and on the plunger detent. The balance of the Slide Stop retains all of its dark parkerized finish.

 

Both Plastic Stock Panels are the original Type 3 Stocks manufactured by Keyes Fibre Company for Ithaca. The back of both panels has the cross-shaped reinforcing ribs. These particular stocks are the correct 2nd Variation Keyes Fibre stocks with reinforcing rings around the screw holes and have the Keyes Fibre "K" without serif inside a five-pointed star and the mold number “26” on the left panel and “19” on the right panel. These panels are in very fine condition with almost no wear noted on the outer checkering. All four original Stock Screws are single-slotted and unmarred and they retain considerable original finish.

 

The barrel is the correct and scarce Type 19 Barrel manufactured by the Flannery Bolt Company of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.  Flannery was awarded a contract to produce barrels in limited numbers to augment principal subcontractor High Standard for both Remington Rand and Ithaca after mid-1943.  That makes Flannery Bolt Company barrels relatively scarce.  This barrel still retains 95% plus of its original blued finish.  The correct sans serif "P" stamp is present on the left side of the lug at the 2 o'clock position to the link pin hole. The right side of the lug has the sans serif Flannery “F” stamp, located at the 10 o'clock position to the link pin hole. The Link itself is also retains the vast majority of its original blued finish as does the link pin. The bore is in very fine condition with a mirror finish and strong rifling. 

 

The Barrel Bushing is the correct Type 1, 2nd Variation that is in fine condition. The Bushing retains 98% of its original parkerized finish. The correct, short leg Recoil Spring Guide is present and the Recoil Spring remains in the white with the correct 30 coils. The Recoil Spring Plug is the correct type with nine, sharp pointed diamonds across the diameter of the face and it retains an elongated, rounded end detent. The Plug retains 95% plus of the original parkerized finish.

 

This pistol comes with an original WWII 7-round Magazine manufactured by the M. S. Little Company. The spine is the "no seam" type and the Floor Plate is spot welded to the sides. The body of the Magazine retains 95% of its original blued finish with a few small spots of discoloration.  The bottom of the Floor Plate also retains the majority of its original blued finish with slight discoloration on one side.  The Follower retains the majority of its original blued finish.  The top lip of the plate has the single sans serif M.S. Little “L” stamp. 

 

This is a very fine and near mint condition and scarce WWII Ithaca Model 1911A1 Pistol that functions perfectly.