In 1949 Maguire Industries received an unexpected offer from Kilgore Manufacturing Co. of Westerville, OH. to the buy the remnants of Auto Ordnance Corp. This included all existing parts, inventory, tooling, and machinery needed to produce the guns. Kilgore had business contacts in Egypt that were certain the Egyptian government was interested in making Thompsons. So in a hurried deal that took less than 48 hours to finalize, Maguire sold Kilgore the material and rights to the Thompson Submachine gun for the sum of $385,000.
Shortly after the purchase, Kilgore found out that its business contacts had been premature in their assessment of Egyptian interest in the gun. Whatever interest the Egyptians may have had initially, was ultimately killed by over-zealous Kilgore representatives using high pressure sales techniques. To help recover a portion of its bad investment, Kilgore accepted an offer from a New York investment syndicate, headed by a former Auto Ordnance executive Frederick A. Willis, to buy the rights to the Thompson at a much lower price than Kilgore had paid.
In October 1951, Willis in-turn sold its holdings to the Numerich Arms Corporation of Mamaroneck, NY., a small company that dealt in surplus ordnance and spare gun parts; known today as Gun Parts Corp. George Numerich wanted to add the spare parts inventory and name of Auto Ordnance to his growing collection of defunct arms companies. To his surprise, when he opened the wooden crates of spare parts and tooling that had been warehoused three years earlier, he discovered 86 complete submachine guns. To comply with Federal Law he immediately registered them with the Treasury Dept., and paid the required $200 transfer tax on each. Numerich then filed tax claims against Willis and Kilgore to recover his payments (Under Federal Law, the seller of a machinegun must pay the transfer tax, not the buyer.) Eventually the claim against Willis was dismissed, but Kilgore Manufacturing had to pay Numerich $12,000.
It was only because Willis and Kilgore were unaware of the contents of the crates they had purchased, that the government decided not to charge them with illegally selling unregistered machineguns.
In the early 1970s George Numerich sold Auto Ordnance Corp. to a former employee named Ira Trast. Trast purchased A.O. primarily to produce and sell a semi-automatic version of the Tommy Gun in addition to limited numbers of true submachine guns for sale to Law enforcement agencies and Export. The idea of a semi-automatic Thompson was originally conceived by George Numerich, but the demands of running Numerich Arms consumed too much of his time for him to give the project any serious thought. Trast, however, saw the semi-auto Tommy Gun (designated the model 1927-A1) as the key to the companys success. This was a way to cater to the romantic desires of gun owners who wanted to own a symbol of the Tommy guns colorful past.
The semi-auto Thompson was built on a completely new receiver that would not accept any of the fully automatic trigger group parts of the model 1928A1 Thompson. It also was fitted with a 16 barrel in place of the Tommy guns shorter 10 machinegun barrel; effectively classifying the gun as a rifle. On March 20, 1975 Trast received an approval letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms giving him permission to begin production.
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