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Old 05-08-2015, 07:50 PM
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Default Daniel Baird Wesson II

I am doing some research into the period following the death of Carl Hellstrom on April 6, 1963 through to completion of the acquisition of S&W by Bangor Punta in 1965 or 1966.

There are several stories and explanations out there about how Daniel Baird Wesson II came to be separated from the company he grew up in and which bore his name. Some say he resigned, some say he was fired. Some say it was the result of the acquisition by Bangor Punta. Some say it predated the acquisition. Some well-known sources are dead silent on the subject. Perhaps it wasn't the prettiest days of S&W's long history.

I'd be interested in chatting with anyone who has any sources or personal insight into what happened in that period, both to D.B.W II and in regard to other surviving members of the Wesson family. I'd also like to know if there are any books or perhaps even a biography of D.B.W II out there that I just haven't managed to find yet.

Thank you.
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:02 PM
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The mission of the SWHF at present is digitizing factory records regarding firearms produced in the early 20th century; a project like yours might be expedited by joining the SWCA. You might be able to meet and interview fellow members that knew him personally.
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:29 PM
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The mission of the SWHF at present is digitizing factory records regarding firearms produced in the early 20th century; a project like yours might be expedited by joining the SWCA. You might be able to meet and interview fellow members that knew him personally.
This seemed like the logical place to ask my question within the sub-forums available. I didn't want to put it in the "lounge" but if that would have been a better choice, I will ask a mod to move this thread. I am certainly not against joining the SWCA, but it seems like a circuitous and unnecessarily complicated approach when my interest is not so much in the older collectible guns, but rather principally in company and Wesson family history.
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:16 AM
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TTSH...Your questions are best answered by S&W's Historian, Roy Jinks. He can be contacted through S&W. I remember reading an account of Mr. Wesson's departure from S&W to form Dan Wesson Arms in gun magazine many years ago, but I do not remember the details. You should Google Dan Wesson Arms in Monson, MA and see what comes up.

Bill Cross
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:26 AM
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Very interesting query. I hope someone will come along and steer you in the right direction. I don't have much interest in the antique and pre WWII guns. Not because I don't like them, but mostly because I've never even seen them except in photographs. I've never even seen an RM. However, the political machinations of a large company, especially one that is family owned is very interesting if not downright entertaining. Good luck.
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Old 05-09-2015, 09:04 AM
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TTSH...Your questions are best answered by S&W's Historian, Roy Jinks. He can be contacted through S&W. I remember reading an account of Mr. Wesson's departure from S&W to form Dan Wesson Arms in gun magazine many years ago, but I do not remember the details. You should Google Dan Wesson Arms in Monson, MA and see what comes up.

Bill Cross
Thanks Bill. I have read everything I could find on-line including this article: http://www.lithicsnet.com/AmHandgunner001.pdf and some very interesting posts on the subject in the Dan Wesson forum. The more I read, the more I find ambiguity and inconsistencies. I have Roy Jinks' excellent book, of course... 2 copies in fact (one signed!). But Mr. Jinks does not address the key issues in question re: D.B.W. II and family control (or lack of control) in that transitional period following Carl Hellstrom's death.
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Old 05-09-2015, 09:24 AM
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Very interesting query. I hope someone will come along and steer you in the right direction. I don't have much interest in the antique and pre WWII guns. Not because I don't like them, but mostly because I've never even seen them except in photographs. I've never even seen an RM. However, the political machinations of a large company, especially one that is family owned is very interesting if not downright entertaining. Good luck.
Having grown up literally in the shadow of S&W's Roosevelt Ave Springfield plant with both relatives and neighbors working there, the transition from Wesson family control to the acquisition by Bangor Punta has always interested me... and confused me. The "how" and "why" it came to be is something I've never really fully understood, but clearly D.B.W. II had to have been a central figure in the fray at the time.

I can't help but wonder how S&W would be different today if the Wesson family had decided to (or been able to) maintain control. I'm sure a lot had to do with the financial situation of the family and the company at the time... but those details have so far eluded me.
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Old 05-09-2015, 12:09 PM
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TTSH...While not specifically addressed in his book, History of Smith & Wesson, Mr. Jinks has a wealth of knowledge about the Wesson family and its control of the company. A discussion with him may provide you the information you seek.

He and I were discussing Cark Hellstrom about a month ago and agreed had Mr. Hellstrom lived, S&W would have even been more successful.

Bill
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:18 AM
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TTSH...While not specifically addressed in his book, History of Smith & Wesson, Mr. Jinks has a wealth of knowledge about the Wesson family and its control of the company. A discussion with him may provide you the information you seek.

He and I were discussing Carl Hellstrom about a month ago and agreed had Mr. Hellstrom lived, S&W would have even been more successful.
Thanks Bill. I'm not sure how an old fool like me gets to speak with a guy who already has 5,000 requests for letters & info sitting on his desk. Maybe offer to buy him a really nice steak dinner?

Yes, S&W did seem to be on a successful & profitable track under Carl Hellstrom. Bill Gunn certainly had the résumé to take over upon Carl's untimely passing, but it also seemed to set the stage for D.B.W. II's departure.

Given a few known facts, it's pretty clear to me that D.B.W. II wanted to stay with S&W and, at some point, become president of the company, fulfilling his namesake destiny. So what was it about the relationship between Bill Gunn and D.B.W. II that caused this to all fall apart? And how did Bangor Punta fit into the puzzle? So many questions...

I'll bet it would all make for a great movie.
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