THE CREATION OF THE SET S/N 101Thompson Submachine Gun Serial Number 101 began life in April of 1921 as a Model of 1921, the sixtieth Colt gun produced. Remember Colt started with serial number 41. The gun was sold first to H.D. Folsom Arms Company, New York, on April 21, 1921. Folsom Arms was a large Colt Firearms dealer/distributor. They in turn sold the gun to the Bergen County Sheriff Department, Hackensack, New Jersey. The gun at this point was still a model of 1921A. The gun stayed this way until sometime after 1986, when the gun was owned by Terry Williams. The barrel had been bulged and was replaced with a Colt barrel and a Cutts Compensator. The gun passed through two more owners before I purchased it on April 15, 1988. The gun is still overall 92% original finish and at the time I had no idea where any of the matching drums were located. Later that same year, 1988, at Knob Creek I met Curtis Earl and bought several items from him. He also showed me a mismatched L drum, serial number 101 front/ l6l back. I thought about it, but because it was a mismatched drum, I turned it down. Curtis said "You could have it reengraved to match." But still I said "No" I would regret this later.
Sure enough in the spring of 1989, I was offered the C drum serial number 101. The drum was described as mint. When I got this "mint" drum, I cried. The drum had been pitted and reblued. But, I still had a matching C drum and gun, and I knew where half of the L drum was located. So back I went to Curtis Earl. I paid more than I wanted, but I was so close to having a complete set. The mismatched L drum was in very good condition, about 94% original finish.Then in 1990, a gentleman called me, Bill Menosky. He had been reading my first co-authored book NOTES ON AUTO-ORDNANCE and he had noticed the L drum, serial number 101 was pictured in that book. The photo only showed the front cover and not the back side. Bill realized he had the back side to 101 on a mismatched drum that he had. So one Sunday afternoon, I received a call from Bill. This was the first time that we had met, and he asks me if I would like to buy the other half of L drum 101! I was shocked here was somebody who had s/n 101 and who had "read" my first book. Two very amazing feats! (a little humor)
I asked what was the number on the other side of his drum and was told 161. I went and confirmed what I had and sure enough, he had the exact matching halves to my drum. I called Bill back and asked if he wanted the half for s/n 161. Bill was surprised to find his other half... so we traded and both ended up with a matching serial numbered L drum. Bill had bought his mismatched drum from Roger Cox several years back. One can only guess where these drums originated.
Bill still has his drum serial number 161 (someday I will get that from him) and I still have the only known matching set of Colt Thompson gun, L drum, and C drum. I learned a lot during this lucky quest. I met some bad dealers and some good ones. The experience of the hunt and the new friends made it worth more than any amount of money.