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Old 08-29-2008, 09:16 PM
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Am I reading this right?, the holster is marked S&W 1917 but it has a pat. date of 1914??? is this like the story of the chicken and the egg? or is SW1917 just a model.

James Davis
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:16 PM
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Am I reading this right?, the holster is marked S&W 1917 but it has a pat. date of 1914??? is this like the story of the chicken and the egg? or is SW1917 just a model.

James Davis
www.collectablearms.com





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Old 08-29-2008, 09:28 PM
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This just means that the basic holster design dates to 1914. It was obviously made after WWI, which is when the 1917 S&W was introduced.

That's a fine holster, in really good condition.
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:29 PM
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Nice holster! I have one with the same markings, although in black. You are correct, it is specifically for a 1917...but any 5" N frame will work, but probably only the fixed sight version. Great find!
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:01 AM
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That's a nice example of the Audley-Folsom. One of the more interesting designs of the early 20th. Century. I have several in my collection. Yours is well marked, but others I've encountered sometimes absent the weapon model they were made for. The Colt New Service with 5 inch barrel will also fit. Despite the patent date, my guess is that this particular specimen was made sometime after WWI for the police and civilian market. Here's an old catalog cover.




Marking shown on reverse side for a 3 inch barrel 1917, which still has me a bit puzzeled because we know they (the 1917's) were standardized with a 5 1/2 inch barrel. Audley was not a custom maker but rather a mass manufacturer. So you have to wonder why they would have made this particular specimen for a 3 inch barrel 1917, which probably was never offered by S&W? At least, I've been unable to cite any literature indicating a 3 inch 1917 was ever offered by S&W. My conjecture is that this one may have been either part of a limited production run for a PD or other agency, using post war modified 1917's. Or, simply that the company (Folsom) used the 1917 mark/stamp on the Audley models merely to identify the holster size as being compatible with the S&W N frame and Colt New Service frame sizes. In any case it is an enigma.


3 Inch 1917 marked model Center, pictured with a custom Colt New Service Model 1905, .45 LC.


Edited to add;

The 1914 date refers to the patent registration date of the holster design. They made many variations of the Audley from that patent for many different revolvers. I'm also going to go out on a limb and suggest that the "A145" stamp was the Folsom factory mark to indicate (A) Audley Model, (14) Patent Date, (5) Barrel Length. This is pure conjecture subject to correction. When you compare the markings on yours with mine, they appear to be uniform and stamped with a 1 piece die. On mine, it certainly looks like each character (letter or numeral) has been individually stamped, a bit crooked or uneven. To mix the pot a bit more, this leads me to believe yours may be older, perhaps some of the earliest examples. I've only observed the stitched toe plug on the large frame revolver models. The stitching is called "French Edge", where they use a curved needle. You will note that in the photo above, the smaller frame hand ejectors have a folded and stitched muzzle.
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:20 AM
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Those are nice some NICE Audley Holsters! I have one marked for a 32A -Fits Colt & Savages nicely, maybe S&W? Any way, the end plug stitching needs to be re-stitched (Plug is in place, just stitching is broken). Anybody know who could do repairs? Thanx in advance.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:30 AM
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The best source of information on the Audley holster that I've found is in Gene Bender's book "Luger Holsters & Accessories of the 20th Century".Francis Audley was awarded a patent for his holster on Oct. 13,1914.He had been a harness maker &,like Hermann Heiser,Tio Sam Myres & the George Lawrence Co. he realized that the future of the leather goods business was in police & sporting goods supply. He unfortunately died on May 10,1916;his business was acquired by the H. & D. Folsom Arms Co. of New York.
Audley holsters are very well made & were popular with police officers & sportsmen.Other manufacturers made identical holsters after,I assume,the patent expired-Jay-Pee,Colt,Service Mfg. & others.The design was popular up into the 1950's or early '60's-at least, I have a number of holsters of this type made during that time frame.
"A145" is the holster model number,as shown in the catalog cut below(from Catalog # 18 w/ a price list dated Feb. 1922).


Here's a couple of Audleys-one made for a 1907 Savage pocket auto & one for a 1903 Colt.



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turnerriver
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:05 AM
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My Folsom Audley fits a 5" Reg. Mag. and is marked:

A 145
MAG. 5

in two parallel lines. It appears that the numbers are individually stamped.

One thng that hasn't been mentioned are the variations of the "drop". Mine has a slight forward cant, as does the first one pictured in this thread. Others seem to be a straight drop, or a rear (FBI) cant. There is also a swivel drop pictured.

Bob
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:33 PM
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Here's the other 2 pages from the 1922 Folsom's catalog featuring Audley holsters.I have one marked "A145 38 44 6 1/2",another stamped "NYST
NS 45 5 1/2" (see the manufacturer's note at the bottom of the description of model A145) & another stamped "A145 CM 4"-Combat Masterpiece,4 inch barrel.This holster has an original sewn in sight plug.Lefty,I don't have a copy at hand but I seem to remember a shortened New Service .45 revolver carried by one of Chic Gaylord's friends & depicted in his book-if it had a 3" barrel,you've got the holster to match.
Regards,turnerriver



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Old 08-30-2008, 02:57 PM
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John,

You are right on target...the picture of the cut down Colt M1917 is on page 38 of Chic's book. It belonged to Detective Ganio. It is described as having a Colt New Service cylinder and latch, shortened grip frame, barrel cut to 2.5 inches, ramp front sight and rear sight built up to provide a target type picture. It's shown with a set of stag grips and a Tyler grip adapter.

He carried it with a "hot" load of 10 grains of Unique behind a 280 gr. semi-wadcutter.

It is properly described as a "compact Monster".

Bob
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:42 AM
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Bob & John;
Yes, I do have a custom Colt New Service 1905 similar to the "Ganio Special" depicted in Handgunners Guide. I've remarked in other threads concerning it's pedigree, but suffice to say that mine is not a 1917 and is chambered in .45 Colt. The butt has been reduced to the Colt Official Police frame size (.41 frame) has a 2 1/2 inch barrel with ramp front sight, bobbed hammer, cross hatched cylinder release and custom action with a DA trigger pull of 4 lbs. The Audley is marked however for a 3 inch barrel John, so I think it was intended for a S&W 1917 or Colt 1917 in that barrel length. It has been engraved with the "Chic Gaylord New York" lightning bolt logo and the "Bell Charter Oak" logo. The grips are Sambar Stag and were a gift from Chic, along with the grip adapter, a floral carved Berns Martin rig and a spare ammo dump pouch he crafted. When Chic presented the dump pouch to me, it was accompanied by a box of 50 rounds of .45 LC handloaded by Elmer Keith, who was also very fond of that particular cartridge. Chic's only criticism of this revolver was the bobbed hammer, which he was well known to refer to as a "mutilation". We shared different opinions in that single respect. The revolver has been reblued twice since it was completed, owing to significant holster wear. The features were the culmination of work by Chic, and no less than three prominent east coast gunsmiths to reach it's final configuration. The late, George Hyde, a Black Forest trained gunsmith and inventor of the grease gun. Bob Freilich, dean of Colt gunsmiths. Bryan Burgin, noted pistolsmith and perhaps better known for his outstanding restoration work of H&H double rifles, Rigby's and Winchester's. This revolver is extremely accurate and fast to fire. It's combined cost was appreciable, but worth every nickel to me. It's the revolver I'd grab first if I found myself in harms way.


I used to carry this piece pretty regularly, but now less often. During the summer, if necessary, I use an IWB that I tooled quite awhile ago.
It is very comfortable and conceals this rather robust revolver very well.


As I have lamented previously, Chic was a leading proponent of the development of these type of arms. Although he was very well connected to S&W and Colt, neither company could be persuaded at that time, to produce a large frame and caliber with a short barrel despite his urging. They claimed such a monstrosity was not ever going to become commercially successful. Just look at the number of short barrel powerhouses S&W and Taurus are offering today. It seems that my friend has been vindicated by time! Given Colt's decades of malaise, it's no wonder why that lack of innovation contributed to their crapping out.


Edited to add Photos....Enjoy!
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Northfield Gun:
Am I reading this right?, the holster is marked S&W 1917 but it has a pat. date of 1914??? is this like the story of the chicken and the egg? or is SW1917 just a model.

James Davis
www.collectablearms.com





The Audley retention holster was patented in 1914. The patented feature is the retention tab that secures on the trigger guard of the revolver. The revolver is released by pressing in on the spring steel tab. This particular holster was made for the S&W 1917 revolver. Neither the patent date nor the model of revolver the holster fits has anything to do with when this particular holster was made.
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:28 AM
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Great thread, guys, and thanks for your efforts with pics and data.
Threads like this are very enjoyable to me- I learned more about Audley holsters than I knew, and I've seen them for years.
Sharing the wealth of knowledge we all have is very enjoyable.
Lefty- that is an awesome gun. That would be more comforting than having a tough, 260 lb friend in a rough bar(not that I have ever frequented such a lowly establishment).......
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:52 PM
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James, is this holster for sale? It looks new, Larry.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by handejector:
Lefty- that is an awesome gun. That would be more comforting than having a tough, 260 lb friend in a rough bar(not that I have ever frequented such a lowly establishment).......
Lee;

I'd say it was worth 6 tough seasoned street fighters in a bad situation. I also once owned a S&W 1917 rollmarked NTPD (North Tarrytown NY Police Department) that was chopped and bobbed when I bought it. After a few months of relentless begging from a pal, I succumbed to her charms and gave the revolver to her. She was one of the best armed policewomen I knew at the time and a very competent shot. I shot from time to time with her, her Dad and my Uncle, who were radio car partners for several years before they went into the detective bureau. And shortly after seeing the piece and how well it performed at 15 yds., true love blossomed. Unfortunately, only the revolver became the object of her affection. But we all agreed there was something a bit ungainly, seeing her little hands wrapped around that monster. All you saw was that huge gun protruding from the diminutive figure of this very petite young lady. I'm certain that if she had to jerk that piece in a confrontation, the subsequent reaction of even the toughest perp would have been one of complete shock.....that would have lasted for just about one second, before he met Jesus! As an aside, I believe that many of these modified revolvers exist and were once quite popular amongst LEO's looking for any advantage they could muster. The full size military configuration made these impractical for most LEO's working in plainclothes, so the modifications seem to have followed a logical course. It was simply cheaper to chop and bob an inexpensive finish worn surplus 1917 than to buy a new S&W with similar factory features. A detective assigned to one of the Harlem squads had one that was nickel plated. He swore it psychologically doubled in size when he pulled the piece under the streetlights of that charming historical neighborhood.

John;

The catalog photos and your Audley photos are simply excellent. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing those with us.

Edited to correct my poor spelling!
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:24 PM
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Audley holsters were well known, and used by some famous people. One was Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews, the famous explorer.

I have a good photo of him wearing it, with the gun being a Colt Official Police or Army Special. Could have had target sights, which would make it an Officers Model.

T-Star
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:26 AM
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My goal is to pick up all possible vintage holsters, martial and possibly private purchase, for the 1917 and I got three or four Audleys for .38 revolvers but not yet an Audley for the 1917. I mean an original Audley, not a Folsom or a Jay Pee and too bad I wasn't able to win one on ebay last week. It sold 60$ and it's a decent price even if few years ago Audleys were underrated and quite cheap. As regards the use of Audleys, they weren't a success cause it was easy have a nice hit on your own foot attempting to extract teh gun under excess of adrenaline.


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