Short History of N.R. Davis & Sons Shotguns
This company. located in Assonet, MA from 1853 until at least 1917, operated under the following names:
1853 to 1883‑ N.R. DAVIS ARMS COMPANY‑ Freetown section of Assonet, MA
1883 to 1917‑ N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO.‑ Water St., Assonet, MA
1917 to 1930‑ DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP.‑ Brooklyn, NY and Norwich, CT (There is some evidence that the Assonet factory remained in use until 1925.)
1930 to 1935‑ CRESCENT‑DAVIS ARMS CORP.
The company was owned and operated by the Davis family until 1917 when N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO. was merged with WARNER ARMS CORP. to form DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP.
Davis‑Warner seems to have made both Davis shotguns and Warner pistols in small quantities with the guns being made at the Warner plant in Norwich, CT from parts made in the Assonet plant until about 1925.
Beginning in 1925, Davis‑Warner seems to have regained its ability to make and sell firearms in quantity. Perhaps because the Assonet plant was closed and production consolidated in Norwich. It also appears that the Warner automatic pistols were dropped from production in 1925.
When the Assonet plant actually closed is speculative, some sources use the 1917 date, while others use 1925; unfortunately the Assonet Town Records do not reflect the year of its closing. It was definitely closed and not in use when it burned in 1928 and newspaper articles about the fire indicate that it had been closed for some time.
DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP. became a part of CRESCENT DAVIS ARMS CORP. in 1930. For further information regarding this merger see CRESCENT FIRE ARMS CO.
N.R. DAVIS shotguns were marked, in addition to the names above, with at least the following trade names.
N.R. DAVIS & SONS may also have made some shotguns for Sears, Roebuck, but this has not been confirmed by observation of any actual specimens.
Still another possibility has surfaced, namely that N.R. DAVIS may have made some shotguns that were totally unmarked except perhaps for a serial number for a few of the larger hardware wholesalers; but again this has not been confirmed by observation.
As may be apparent from this rambling discourse, very little hard evidence exists about N.R. DAVIS operations, despite its being a well known and well respected gun maker. One reason for this is that over much of its life it was family owned, and such firms rarely make much information public.
Even the question of how many shotguns it produced is a mystery. Some shotguns have serial numbers, while others have only a 2 digit assembly number; and there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why some are serial numbered and some are not. Serial numbers of their lack will occur in the same models.
Much more specific research needs to be done on this company. I can only hope that this material will at least serve as a basis from which to start.
N.R. DAVIS & SONS made shotguns under at least the following patents:
The principals of N.R. DAVIS & SONS CO. before 1917 were as follows:
The following is an abstract of the Articles of Incorporation of the Davis‑Warner Arms Corp.
Corporation Name: DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORPORATION
Incorporated In: New York
Date of Incorporation: January 4, 1917
Principal Place of Business: Manhattan, New York City
Names and residences of Subscribers and Shares Subscribed:
Franklin B. Warner, 1549 New York Ave., Brooklyn, NY 8 shares
Frank Harvey Field, 274 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, NY 1 share
Richard L. Phillips, 2 East 128th St., Manhattan, NYC 1 share
Franklin B. Warner
Frank H. Field
Richard L. Phillips
Henry B. Moore, 540 W. 113th St., Manhattan, NYC
Sigmund Faust, 1219 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Capital Stock: $200,000 (2,000 shares at $100 par)
In 1921 the Officers of DAVIS‑WARNER were
Franklin E. Warner‑ President & Treasurer
C. Chester Warner‑ Vice‑President
I.M. Janowsky‑ Secretary
It should be noted that both the Warners were incorporators of KIRTLAND BROS. CO. a sporting goods retailer in New York City.
The serial number ranges of Davis made shotguns may be impossible to recreate with any accuracy until some reason can be found for why some guns were serial numbered and some were not.
However one item does appear to be fact. That is that all Davis model shotguns made by DAVIS‑WARNER ARMS CORP. or CRESCENT‑DAVIS ARMS CORP. had a letter prefix to the serial number. Whether this prefix denotes the year of manufacture is open to conjecture.
One clue as to when a Davis‑Warner shotgun was made may be obtained from the very last guns produced in 1929 and 1930. These shotguns are marked on the water table, PAT. NO. 1,692,995. This patent was granted to a J.J. Murphy on November 27, 1928.