Iver Johnson Sidewinder

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Ron Legros, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Ron Legros

    Ron Legros Member

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    I just bought a Iver Johnson Sidewinder in the original box. It has a color case hardened frame, a blued 6" barrel and trigger guard, fixed sights and walnut grips.
    The cylinder is a six shot and has a flash control rear rim. The left side of the frame is stamped Iver Johnson's Arms Fitchburg, Ma, U.S.A. The left side of the frame has the serial # E40225.
    The box label Reads Iver Johnson Sidewinder Mod. S526-22 cAL.-6 IN. BBL.-3 Shots. Serial No. E40225
    None of the Iver Johnson paperwork I have mentions a 6 shot Sidewinder, a case hardened frame, or a cylinder with a flash control on the rear rim.
    Can anyone shed any light on this?

    Ron
  2. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
  3. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    hello ron how are you,
    the 6 shot sidewinder became avalilable when this model was offered as a combo 22/22 magnum about 1974. like you i have not encountered a case harden frame before nor one with a flash control rim at the rear of the cylinder. the model numbers S524/S526 were the last model numbers used on the sidewinder starting about 1977. this was a time of flux for iver johnson as it had just been purchased from the iver johnson family by an outsider. the last revolvers were manufactured in 1978 but were still bing sold as late as 1980. the new owner tried to do new things to up grade he revolvers without spending a lot of money. he even came up with a nice prototype swing-out cylinder model that he never put into production. the finish and cylinder of your revolver may have been some of these changes. for now i just don't know.

    the strange things is that there are still some of iver johnson's family living in the fitchberg, ma area but so far neither they nor the person who purchased the company are willing to talk about the details of this time. i have good information after the move to middlessex NJ and then to jacksonville AR but none of the revolvers were manufactured during this time just semiautos and carbines. when i visited the factory (jacksonville AR location) in 1983 there was no one working there who had actually worked at the fitchburg factory or knew any thing about the revolvers. so until someone is willing to talk the 1970's is going to remain a dark era of iver johnson history. when i visited the fitchburg, MA area in 1999 the closest i came to finding any one to talk was the factory manager of H&R (located in gardner, MA) he worked for iver johnson for a couple of years in the 1960's before going over to H&R. the fitchburg historical society, founded in 1892, had less iver johnson information than i did.

    since i live 2000 maile away it is hard for me to come up with some of the information that is still around. i keep hoping someone in the area will try to dig out some of this information.
    bill
  4. Ron Legros

    Ron Legros Member

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    Hi Bill,
    Thank you for the information. After nearly 20 years of collecting Iver Johnson's I think I have a pretty good handle on the shotguns but I keep coming up with these oddities on the hand guns.
    I live in Fitchburg and I knew a few people who worked at Iver Johnson's but I too have been unable to get much information. I have two friends whose fathers worked there but they have passed away. Had I started collecting 30 years ago I might have a lot more answers.
    I'm always looking for Iver Johnson paper and I buy it when I can. If you ever need some info you think I may have I'm more than willing to share it with you or anyone else.
    Thanks again for the help.

    Ron
  5. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    ron,
    the grandson of iver johnson was "Luther M. Otto III. he passed a way sometime around 1975. his death resulted in the company being sold to outside interests. (Louis Imperato of New York). he had at least two children who were teenagers at thi time (son and daughter) daughters name unknown som also named Luther M Otto. by the time i visited in 1999. the great grandson was only using the name (he was not going by Luther M. Otto IV). area telephone directories listed him as living in Royalston. when i sent him one of my books i sent it to his business place Clark Memorial Community Center in Winchendon MA. Mr Otto never responded to recieing the book or never returned any of the mail i sent him. the one phone conversation i had with him was very vague and did not offer any information except his business address where i could send the book. which i did. as of now i have not heard a thing from him since the year 2000. so my guess is he does not want to talk about that time in his life. the phone book i have from that time covering north eastern MA. has lots of johnsons listed some even with son of iver's sons name, Frederick I., John P. and Walter C. but i did not get a chance to try any of them while i was there.

    i was once given some information from a fitchburg city directory around 1910 by a gentleman living in Groton MA. is there a source of these directories may be the city library?

    accorking to iver johnson obit he was a member of the board of directors of the Fitchburg National Bank and the Fitchburg Savings Bank he was also attended Christs Church in Fitchburg. any information on any of these.

    of course iver johnson spent more time in worcester than fitchburg and is buried in the hope cemetary of that city. i have pictures of his memorial in that cemetary.

    i would be very interested in any information you come across as to the family history.

    need to stop for now but my e-mail address is goforth2@peoplepc.com
    i did not proof read this so please excuse any typos.
    bill
  6. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
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    3,174
    Location:
    houston, tx
    ron,
    the grandson of iver johnson was "Luther M. Otto III. he passed a way sometime around 1975. his death resulted in the company being sold to outside interests. (Louis Imperato of New York). he had at least two children who were teenagers at thi time (son and daughter) daughters name unknown som also named Luther M Otto. by the time i visited in 1999. the great grandson was only using the name (he was not going by Luther M. Otto IV). area telephone directories listed him as living in Royalston. when i sent him one of my books i sent it to his business place Clark Memorial Community Center in Winchendon MA. Mr Otto never responded to recieving the book or never returned any of the mail i sent him. the one phone conversation i had with him was very vague and did not offer any information except his business address where i could send the book. which i did. as of now i have not heard a thing from him since the year 2000. so my guess is he does not want to talk about that time in his life. the phone book i have from that time covering north eastern MA. has lots of johnsons listed some even with some of iver's sons names, Frederick I., John P. and Walter C. but i did not get a chance to try any of them while i was there.

    i was once given some information from a fitchburg city directory around 1910 by a gentleman living in Groton MA. is there a source of these directories may be the city library?

    accorking to iver johnson obit he was a member of the board of directors of the Fitchburg National Bank and the Fitchburg Savings Bank he was also attended Christs Church in Fitchburg. any information on any of these.

    of course iver johnson spent more time in worcester than fitchburg and is buried in the hope cemetary of that city. i have pictures of his memorial in that cemetary.

    i would be very interested in any information you come across as to the family history.

    need to stop for now but my e-mail address is goforth2@peoplepc.com
    i did not proof read this so please excuse any typos.
    bill
  7. Ron Legros

    Ron Legros Member

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    Bill,
    I've checked most of the sources you mentioned with little or no luck. The Fitchburg Historical Society was supposed to be doing a presentation on the Iver Johnson Company a couple of years ago but I have heard nothing about it for quite some time.
    A couple of years ago I bought a 12 Ga Champion in the original box with the orininal shipping sleeve. It was supposed to have been bought by the Plant manager just prior to the closing of the Fitchburg facility. I contacted his family but they didn't seem to interested in giving out any information I didn't already have.
    I work part time for a friend of mine who owns a gun shop so I am constantly talking with people in the area. Should I get some good infromation I will certainly pass it on.
    Ron
  8. b.goforth

    b.goforth New Member

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    ron,
    i forgot to mention that when i visited fitchburg in 1999 i met and had dinner with a iver johnson collector by the name of Wayne Pelis. he is from fitchburg also. he is the person who took me out to the johnson family mansion (now a school) in lancaster. he never gave me his phone number and i have since lost his address. i did use some pictures of one of his collection in the new edition of the book, an engraved third model. i also purchased a new in the box model 66 trailsman from a gunshop in leominster. have you ever visited the old factory bldgs. on river street?
    bill
  9. Ron Legros

    Ron Legros Member

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    Bill,

    I don't know Wayne Pelis and he is not listed in the telephone book so I can't be of much assistance there. The gun shop in Leominster you talk about, I believe, was Hembro's Gun Shop. Chick and Mary are great people and I bought a number of Iver Johnsons from them over the years. They have moved to the Rangely Lake area of Maine. Tired of the anti gun attitude of Massachusetts.
    I have been to the Iver Johnson plant on River St numerous times. I used to deliver mail there when I first started in the Post Office in the mid 1960's. I had no interest in their guns at that time or I would have a lot more information on the company than I do at present.
    For such a prominant company in a relatively small town I'm amazed at how little information is available. When I first developed an interest in the Iver Johnson shotguns I checked with the Fitchburg Historical Society and the Library and was amazed at how little information they had.
    Like I said, I'm constantly looking for more information and when I find any I'm more than willing to share it

    Ron
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