Smith & Wesson Forum

Go Back   Smith & Wesson Forum > >


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-13-2017, 09:54 PM
rednichols's Avatar
rednichols rednichols is offline
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 700
Likes: 486
Liked 1,694 Times in 535 Posts
Default Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors

Putting together bits and bobs of research between turnerriver and me, it now becomes clear the how and why of Berns-Martin being in two States and why it matters to collectors.

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-1-calhoun-1-jpg Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-1-elberton-1-jpg

For a long time I've noted that there is a substantial difference in the quality of the leather and the workmanship and even the styling of Berns-Martin holsters between the two eras; which is especially noticeable on the Speed Holster. Just as with the two different marks on Myres holsters, the 'experimental' models of Speed Holsters by B-M appear only with the later, GA mark (on Myres it is the mark without "TEX" in it).

Now we know that J.H. Martin sold his operation in Mississippi in 1963 which 'triggered', you should pardon the expression, its move to Georgia. Martin was the leatherworker of the two men (the other being J.E. Berns); and not only was it he who was building these holsters during the Mississippi era, but after 1968 he simply couldn't because he died that year. J.E. Berns died in '74, the very year that John Bianchi acquired the company from Blackie Collins, its last owner.

So in my view, it is the Calhoun City MS Berns-Martins that are the very most desirable, for their quality of leather, for the careful workmanship, and the classic styling, too, for the Speed Holster.

There is another era, one that we have speculated about: the Berns-Martins that are stamped individually with the name and the patent numbers. We have speculated that it is from the so-called 'Bremerton WA' period; yet there is no evidence that J.E. Berns, who was the one located in Bremerton, ever made any of these holsters. That particular question will have to be answered definitively another time :-).

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-1-bremerton-mark-3-jpg

Only one of the two patent numbers is from Berns; the other, earlier one is by E.E. Clark of Clark holsters fame, issued 1932; previously I had erroneously believed it was an Ohlemeyer patent, my bad. We do know that the Evaluators Ltd. mark was originally built out of Calhoun City; and perhaps turnerriver knows if they continued to be supplied to Evaluators after 1963 (very likely).

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-1-evaluators-1-jpg
__________________
Red Nichols
Holstorian (tm).

Last edited by rednichols; 05-14-2017 at 08:42 PM. Reason: formatting :-)
Reply With Quote
The Following 7 Users Like Post:
  #2  
Old 05-13-2017, 10:28 PM
JayCeeNC's Avatar
JayCeeNC JayCeeNC is offline
US Veteran
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,363
Likes: 7,036
Liked 2,047 Times in 632 Posts
Default

John Emmett Berns obtained patent# 2,001,321 in 1935 for a Revolver Holster.
I have a catalog dated February 9, 1970, from the Elberton, GA, location.
__________________
John
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #3  
Old 05-14-2017, 04:06 AM
crazyphil crazyphil is offline
US Veteran
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 2,305
Likes: 5,990
Liked 5,883 Times in 1,551 Posts
Default

Good stuff Red (and John). Here is the back of my Universal Speed
Scabbard. Some differences: No strap and snap. No number
like your 622 above BERNS MARTIN. No dash. No periods or commas.
What can you tell me about mine?
The front view holding my model 19.
Attached Thumbnails
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-sam_0480-jpg   Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-sam_0037-jpg  
__________________
In Omnia Paratus
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Like Post:
  #4  
Old 05-14-2017, 08:56 PM
rednichols's Avatar
rednichols rednichols is offline
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 700
Likes: 486
Liked 1,694 Times in 535 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyphil View Post
Good stuff Red (and John). Here is the back of my Universal Speed
Scabbard. Some differences: No strap and snap. No number
like your 622 above BERNS MARTIN. No dash. No periods or commas.
What can you tell me about mine?
The front view holding my model 19.
In clarifying this I had to locate the earlier patent; and then had to correct my original post because the earlier patent was to E.E. Clark, best known for his shoulder holsters and crossdraws of the period; and not Ohlemeyer.

The hand stamping suggests early, initial production of the B-M holsters; and the issuance of the one patent in 1932 (Clark's) and the second in 1935 indicates that these holsters were produced not earlier than 1935. In that era a patent was in force for not longer than 17 years from date of issue (I think now it's 20 years from date of application) subject to payment of fees at certain intervals to keep it in force.

The article by Keith in 1932 detailing the new B-M holsters created by the two men (the one as the inventor and the other as the maker) suggesting that Keith received two of the very first holsters; and given that we have seen these holsters (elsewhere on this Forum by the buyer at auction with his Triple Locks) we can regret that we have not seen the backside of them for any markings -- or lack of them. So there COULD be a period of these holsters being built with no markings 1932-1935, or different markings; but to my knowledge (turnerriver correct me) such have never been sighted.

That both numbers disappeared from the Calhoun City marked holsters suggests that they were all built after the patents expired by the passage of 17 years (so 1949 and 1952 respectively); but it does not mean that necessarily. For example they could have expired for lack of payment of the maintenance fees. Yet a two-line stamp would have been (and still is) cheap; Myres had one for the "Askins" patent and Myres was happy to stamp it even on holsters it didn't apply to (a modified Threepersons comes to mind).

We do have a notice from Elmer Keith in a 1950 American Rifleman that J.H. Martin (we now think his name was Julius Henry Martin, despite being known as 'Jack') writing from Calhoun City, has advised him that "after a six-year layoff, they (B-M) can now produce their special and popular line of holsters". That suggests that the company was closed down after WWII; or is this just late news that Martin is back in business after closing FOR WWII? Either way it is suggested that the hand-stamped holsters are pre-War; and we could consider the possibility that with the expiry of the Clark patent in 1949 and the forthcoming expiry of the Berns patent in 1952, that both numbers were dropped from the holster marking although they both continued to appear on the MS and GA flyers.
__________________
Red Nichols
Holstorian (tm).

Last edited by rednichols; 05-15-2017 at 12:20 AM. Reason: correction of patent info
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Like Post:
  #5  
Old 05-14-2017, 09:21 PM
rednichols's Avatar
rednichols rednichols is offline
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 700
Likes: 486
Liked 1,694 Times in 535 Posts
Default

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-1-calhoun-notched-1-jpg

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-1-calhoun-notched-2-jpg

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-bremerton-1-jpg

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-bremerton-2-jpg

On the lowermost pic, note the much shortened shape of the belt loop vs Calhoun City production. As for the CC one, note the uncommon/rare notching of the holster for the safety strap; first seen in Elmer's article.
__________________
Red Nichols
Holstorian (tm).

Last edited by rednichols; 05-14-2017 at 09:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Like Post:
  #6  
Old 05-14-2017, 09:25 PM
rednichols's Avatar
rednichols rednichols is offline
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 700
Likes: 486
Liked 1,694 Times in 535 Posts
Default

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-keith-collection-berns-martin-9-jpg

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-elberton-speed-7-jpg

Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors-elberton-speed-8-jpg

Keith's (there are two holsters on a belt as a complete set for Elmer) being very early production, notice this one lacks the notched upper mouth near the grip, to clear the knuckle of the second finger. What you can't see is that it appears that the straps on both holsters are fixed, such as by stitching, so that they extend forward when snapped open.

The Elberton holster images show how, gee, I don't want to say 'crude' but I must, the holster is by comparison with the Calhoun City, etc., ones in my next nearest post (newer or older depending on how you have your forum display set).
__________________
Red Nichols
Holstorian (tm).
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Like Post:
  #7  
Old 05-15-2017, 12:36 PM
Wyatt Burp Wyatt Burp is online now
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Northern California
Posts: 5,017
Likes: 1,704
Liked 8,724 Times in 1,623 Posts
Default

Here's an unusual Berns-Martin you probably never seen before. An IWB holster for a Colt Detective Special. On another forum I believe Red and John said this was an uncatalogued holster. I found it flattened out in the bottom of a gun shop junk leather box. Something made me take a closer look at it and man was I surprised to see the B-M marking. This very simple permanently sweat stained holster was apparently worn a lot.




Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Like Post:
  #8  
Old 05-17-2017, 11:18 PM
beetledude beetledude is offline
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 47
Likes: 1
Liked 601 Times in 30 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
The article by Keith in 1932 detailing the new B-M holsters created by the two men (the one as the inventor and the other as the maker) suggesting that Keith received two of the very first holsters; and given that we have seen these holsters (elsewhere on this Forum by the buyer at auction with his Triple Locks) we can regret that we have not seen the backside of them for any markings -- or lack of them. So there COULD be a period of these holsters being built with no markings 1932-1935, or different markings; but to my knowledge (turnerriver correct me) such have never been sighted.
Hi -- I'm the buyer of the triple locks. I just checked, there are no markings whatsoever on the holster.

Regards,
-b
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Like Post:
  #9  
Old 05-18-2017, 06:32 PM
rednichols's Avatar
rednichols rednichols is offline
Member
Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors Attention Berns-Martin holster collectors  
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 700
Likes: 486
Liked 1,694 Times in 535 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by beetledude View Post
Hi -- I'm the buyer of the triple locks. I just checked, there are no markings whatsoever on the holster.

Regards,
-b
Thank you so much for this info! PM will be sent.
__________________
Red Nichols
Holstorian (tm).
Reply With Quote
The Following User Likes This Post:
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Odd Berns-Martin Holster Smith357 Gun Leather & Carry Gear 6 05-08-2016 05:52 PM
Berns-Martin holster Chief27 Gun Leather & Carry Gear 3 10-06-2014 06:10 PM
Berns-Martin Holster bamabiker S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 22 10-19-2012 08:49 PM
Odd Berns Martin Holster Local Hand S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 5 03-27-2012 02:39 PM
FS Berns and Martin Holster SPF pete950 Accessories/Misc - For Sale or Trade 2 01-13-2011 05:56 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
smith-wessonforum.com tested by Norton Internet Security smith-wessonforum.com tested by McAfee Internet Security

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:06 PM.


S-W Forum, LLC 2000-2015
Smith-WessonForum.com is not affiliated with Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC)