Conserving the Legacy of Conservation Organizations

When the leaves around the country begin to change colors and the air becomes crisp, millions of men and women around the United States will put on their hunting gear and head into the woods. The tradition of hunting has been handed down through generations of sportsmen. For years, the population of many species was declining due to loss of habitat and other factors. There were no existing organizations to help conservation efforts, and to establish a National policy to protect the wildlife. This changed in the 1900’s and a number of wildlife conservation organizations were established. To protect the wildlife, sportsmen banded together to conserve prime wildlife acreage and to study reasons for the declines. Some organizations protect a variety of wildlife, and others were established to protect specific species.

Continue reading to learn a little bit more about 3 organizations that are working to support conservation and America’s hunting tradition.

National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) - The NWTF, which was established in 1973, is a non-profit organization that focuses on conservation and education. From the start, this organization’s goal has been aimed at preserving our national heritage of hunting, but NWTF has also worked for years in conserving the wild turkey population.

With over 250,000 volunteers and members and with the support of corporate and agency partners, the NWTF has made significant strides in managing and restoring the turkey population in North America.

The NWTF also uses its resources to help teach men, women and children with disabilities in North America valuable skills that can be used outdoors.

Quick Facts about NWTF

  • Founding chief executive Tom Rodgers spent $440 of his own money to get the NWTF up and running.
  • Headquarters is located in Edgefield, SC.
  • Since its founding, the NWTF has spent over $412 million to help conserve over 17 million acres of habitat, an area larger than West Virginia.

Wildlife Forever For more than 25 years Wildlife Forever has dedicated its efforts to help sustain healthy, thriving populations of various kinds of wildlife and fish. This organization has been a leader in conserving a large array of different animal species across the United States.

Wildlife Forever’s conservation efforts fall into 4 unique categories:

  • Fish and Wildlife – Countless different species of fish have been brought back to places where they once thrived because of Wildlife Forever’s work.
  • Habitat – One of the greatest challenges facing both wildlife and fish is the loss of the area in which they live. With the help of Wildlife Forever, millions of acres of habitat and wetlands have been conserved in 34 states.
  • Research – Each and every project that Wildlife Forever takes part in is based on the knowledge and help of biologists. There are many complexities involved in understanding fish and wildlife, and Wildlife Forever aims to learn as much as they can in order to better educate others and preserve the great outdoors.
  • Education – Wildlife Forever does a great job of educating men, women and particularly children about invasive species and the devastation that these species can bring about.

Ducks Unlimited Ducks Unlimited leads the way in waterfowl and wetlands conservation, and has been doing so since it was founded way back in 1937, when the Dust Bowl ravaged North America.

Since that time, DU has become the world’s largest private wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization, conserving land primarily throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Some of the ways DU is Conserving:

  • Acquiring land – DU works to conserve land to assist wildlife. More than 13,000,000 acres have been conserved in North America as of January 1, 2013.
  • Replanting forests – DU has reforested more than 178,000 acres in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley to provide wintering habitat for ducks.
  • Restoring grasslands – These efforts improve bird nest success rates.
  • Conservation easements – These are created to protect habitats forever through landowner agreements.
  • Geographic information systems – This technology enables DU to track the results of their efforts.

Summary

America Remembers salutes and supports these great organizations, and appreciates their dedication to conserving wildlife and wildlife habitats.

If you are a sportsman, hunter, or a lover of the outdoors, have a look at the commemorative firearms in our catalog dedicated to conservation and hunting. Owning one of these handsome decorated firearms is a terrific way to show your family and friends the importance of conservation every time they visit your home, and to support these outstanding organizations.

Thompson Submachine Gun

Thompson submachine guns have gained quite the following amongst gun collectors over the years. When we hear the term “Tommy Gun”, often used instead of the Thompson submachine gun, we imagine gangsters of the early 20th century shooting at police officers from getaway cars containing large amounts of illegal liquor. It has been said that a Thompson model was owned by Bonnie and Clyde, which sold in 2012 for $130,000.

Because of its colorful and dynamic history, the Thompson Submachine gun has become one of the most sought-after pieces for commemorative firearm collectors across the nation.

Pre-WWII

The Thompson submachine gun was originally developed by General John T. Thompson, whose initial idea was to create a semi-automatic rifle to replace the service rifles in use that featured bolt action mechanics. Thompson’s dream was to manufacture a “trench broom” that would help wipe out enemy forces in trench warfare situations. After stumbling upon a patent that was issued to John Blish in the year 1915, and a financial backer in a Mr. Thomas Ryan, production of what would eventually be called the “Annihilator I” commenced. This name was eventually changed to the Thompson submachine gun after WWI ended.

The Thompson submachine gun first went into production as the M1921, which was sold to various buyers in the U.S Postal Inspection Service and the United States Marine Corps. Early batches were also bought by Irish Republic agents, for use in the Irish War of Independence.

WWII

The Thompson was used in World War II by American forces in both the European and Pacific Theaters. It was also used by many of America’s allies including Britain, Canada and Australia. It was used by special operations forces, like paratroopers and Rangers. In the Pacific, some U.S. Marines carried the Thompson as they landed on a number of the Pacific islands. During World War II, more than 1,000,000 Thompsons were produced for use by Allied forces.

Post WWII

Korean War

  • No longer the standard issue for the U.S. Military, Thompsons were still available and used by American forces.
  • Distributed to Chinese armed forces prior to the rise in power of the Chinese Communist party, it was also used by Chinese Communist troops against American troops.

Vietnam War

  • Used by reconnaissance American advisers and units.
  • Later replaced by the M16.
  • Used by Viet Cong as well, who manufactured their own models.

As noted above, the Thompson submachine gun gained lots of popularity during the Prohibition Era as it was often used by gangsters of the era as well as law enforcement officers. Hollywood had a strong role in the gun’s popularity, as it could be seen in movies about the gangsters and G-men of the Prohibition era, as well as movies about World War II.

If you are a collector, owning a Thompson submachine gun is simply a must-have. This firearm brings with it a large, dynamic history and a one-of-a-kind look that is sure to fit right in with your collection. It is truly an American classic.

The Personalized Military Service (Distinguished Service) Tribute Pistol

We have discussed commemorative firearms that honor celebrities and events in  our other posts, but how about owning a firearm that is personalized per your specifications to honor someone close to you, or even yourself?  America Remembers, a company already known for their beautifully decorated Tribute pistols and rifles, offers a customizable Colt .45 which can feature a portrait of anyone you deem worthy of honoring along with their name, a quote, the type of occasion, or a special date.  Imagine being able to present to a family member a commemorative firearm that you helped to design and had made especially for them.  No matter what the occasion, whether it is to honor military service, graduation, retirement, an anniversary, or a birthday, your custom designed pistol is sure to delight and please the honoree.  Or perhaps you are proud of your own service to your country and want to have a piece to display your selfless courage.  In either situation, the firearm will remain a sentimental family heirloom that will be passed down, telling the story of a personal hero, from generation to generation. 

 The Military Service Tribute Pistol also referred to as the Distinguished Service Tribute Pistol offered by America Remembers is created on a working Colt® Government Model® .45 ACP pistol, one of the most distinguished and sought after firearms on the market.  Each customized firearm will be adorned with traditional scrollwork in the style of the finest historic presentation firearms in 24-Karat gold on a blued steel background.  Artists capture every detail from the photo you provide and create an original portrait in gold that is placed in the center of the left side of the pistol.  Beside the portrait to the left and right are areas where any manner of wording can be placed.  For example, if you were creating a Tribute to honor a military veteran, you could choose to display their name and rank, their service branch, and the years they served.  On the right side of the pistol is oval surrounded by finely detailed scrollwork that can contain any message, such as “From Your Loving Son” or “Saluting Service to America, In Gratitude to All Veterans.”  The presentation side of the pistol can be easily showcased in one of the glass top display cases that are custom-made to snugly fit the pistol and offered by America Remembers.

             In the world of commemorative firearms, there are plenty of pistols and rifles that honor events and people that are special to us, but one is hard-pressed to find a firearm that can be so intimately personalized.  This piece gives you the freedom to pick your own hero to honor and allows you to commemorate their image on a legendary Colt .45 pistol in 24-Karat gold!  For an example of the fine work put into these firearms designed by America Remembers, take a look at the Military Service (Distinguished Service) Tribute Pistol pictures shown below.  The customized pistol was presented by the president of America Remembers, Paul Warden, to D-Day veteran Mac Evans.  The images are sure to bring to mind someone in your life that deserves to be so deeply honored.   

Mac Evans T&NMac smiling with his Pistol

Samuel Colt, the Inventor and Industrialist

In the world of antique presentation arms, there is no better find than a Colt presentation firearm. Samuel Colt of Hartford, Connecticut not only introduced the world to the first revolving pistol, he reintroduced what it meant to give and to own a specialized work of art. In addition to bringing back the chivalry and status associated with owning a finely engraved presentation firearm, Colt was one of the first to successfully employ the assembly line system in his manufacturing company thanks to his firearms’ interchangeable parts. Colt was also the first to make use of every marketing venue available to him to sell his unique and spectacular revolvers. Thanks to his tenacity, spirit, and drive, Colt had become a household name by the time Samuel Colt died in 1862.

Born during the height of the industrial revolution in 1814, Colt’s genius was in the perfect setting to grow and invent. One of Colt’s earliest possessions was his grandfather’s flintlock pistol and he was fascinated by the mechanics of firearms and gunpowder. His goal was to invent something that had been classified as impossible, and after hearing talk of the impossibility of a firearm that could fire several times without reloading, his goal became to create the impossible firearm. At the age of 16, he got the idea to create a multiple firing weapon from watching the spokes of a ship’s wheel as it spun and from there his design took shape. However, Colt lacked the financial means to produce his invention so he used another part of his genius to make the impossible a reality: his knack for marketing.

When Colt was but 18, he took to the streets and began performing with nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. After he learned he could make a living off his demonstrations, he began to conduct lectures concerning the revolutionary idea of his revolver. Colt knew he could sell to the public by including dramatic stories in his lectures and soon became known as a vivid and prized public speaker. Using his talents, he made enough money to return to what he really loved, manufacturing firearms.

Colt used gunsmiths in Baltimore to build his newly designed revolver, one with a rotating cylinder which would come into alignment with a single barrel based on his idea of a pawl engaging the cylinder and holding it in place (one he got from watching the ship’s wheel). He applied for a patent first in Great Britain and then in the United States. In 1836, he was awarded a patent for his revolving-breech loading, folding trigger firearm: the Colt Paterson. With his patent in hand, he established the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New Jersey, and practically held a monopoly on revolver manufacturing.

Colt’s manufacturing idea was to make all his firearms with interchangeable parts so that they would be quick and easy to manufacture and maintain. His plan, however, was put on hold due to national economic problems, so Colt returned to what had first made him money: showmanship.

When Colt’s first demonstrations in general stores failed to generate any substantial revenue, he went to the highest office, that of President Andrew Jackson. Jackson endorsed the revolvers, but Colt was unable to earn any sales. Colt’s breakthrough came when Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers acquired some of the first Colt revolvers and experienced their power first-hand. Walker’s 15 man unit used the quick firing and quick loading revolver to defeat a force of 70 Comanche in Texas. Thanks to this victory, Colt received a personal order from Walker, along with a few suggested changes to the Paterson model. Colt made the changes and introduced the Colt Walker, a 6-shot revolver that had enough power to take out a man or horse with a single shot.

Colt collaborated with Eli Whitney Jr., son of the famous Eli Whitney who invented the cotton gin, and originally produced the Walker at Whitney’s factory. With the money from Captain Walker’s large order of weapons to be used in the Mexican-American War, Colt was able to build his own factory capable of assembly line production: Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company in Hartford, CT. There, Colt began to manufacture Colt Dragoon Revolvers in 1848 and the orders came pouring in from both soldiers and civilians. Colt went on to design the Baby Dragoon for civilians and the firearm became a staple of westward expansion. In 1850, General Sam Houston lobbied President James Polk to adopt the Colt revolver, noting that a force of 30 Rangers had been able to keep 500 Mexicans in check with the weapon. Colt went on to create the Colt 1851 Navy Revolver, which became the standard sidearm for U.S. military officers, and soon his biggest problem became keeping up with the high demand!

Colt was a real salesman. Not only did he promote sales to the United States, but he also used his European patents to sell to the feuding nations in Europe. He used his special, finely engraved presentation arms as demonstrative gifts to military officers, heads of states, and presidents of the countries overseas. He even presented Czar Nicholas I with a set of Pocket, Navy, and Dragoon revolvers, all magnificently inlaid with gold and hand polished to perfection. Soon Samuel Colt had a monopoly going in Europe, and it is reported his salesmanship included telling feuding countries that other countries had recently ordered Colt revolvers. Colt also set his prices lower than the competition. Even though Colt used an assembly line with interchangeable parts for producing his firearms, he insisted that each be hand finished and polished.

Samuel Colt’s brilliant legacy lives on today. He is known not only for his use of marketing tools and modernist approach, but also for the way he transformed the revolver. The revolving firearm was transformed from a utilitarian object into a symbol of pride and the American identity. Today, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC continues the tradition with revolvers, Government Model Pistols, and many other models. Presentation firearms companies, like America Remembers, continue to carry on Colt’s tradition of producing finely crafted firearms in limited editions for collectors who desire the prestige that comes with owning a museum-worthy firearm.

Commemorative Firearms

The History of Modern Commemorative Firearms

Among collectors and firearms aficionados, there is no grander pleasure than possessing a unique piece of history that is an authentic special presentation model. Firearms have long provided artisans and master craftsmen with an optimal canvas for engraving patterns and portraits, landscapes, and wildlife.  The distinguished gentlemen of previous centuries, who carried these masterpieces ornate with precious metals and stones, used them to display not only their status, but their refined taste in weaponry. This tradition continued into the 19th century as Samuel Colt gave foreign dignitaries, military officers, and heads of state specially engraved presentation pieces. Since those Colts are so rare, they are highly valuable to collectors, museums, and historians. They often bring a considerable amount of money when they are sold today, often at special auctions.  The prestige of owning a finely decorated firearm is still envied by people today.  Thanks to the growth of manufacturers that have a passion for special presentation models, those with the aspiration to possess such a handsome piece may do so.

Today, many of America’s leading firearms manufacturers including Colt, Ruger, Winchester, Browning, Smith & Wesson, Remington and Marlin offer an array of elegantly decorated special issue firearms. Specialty companies such as America Remembers, The American Historical Foundation, and Cherry’s also issue limited edition firearms for collectors.

Commemorative firearm companies go the extra mile when it comes to creating truly unique and highly collectible firearms.  Through meticulous research and design, artisans transform a firearm into a work of art specially created to honor a legendary person or event. Today, companies that specialize in commemorative firearms, such as America Remembers, Adams & Adams, and The American Historical Foundation, commission and employ master craftsmen that painstakingly ensure that their engravings and decorative designs are an accurate portrayal of history. Accuracy is crucial to both those who create the artwork and the collectors who acquire the special commemorative issues. Most companies go to great lengths to verify that their firearms honoring the military, historic events, wildlife, and legendary individuals are issued on historically appropriate models and have historically accurate images portrayed on each issue. Often these special issues are authorized and licensed by museums, organizations, artists, and estates (such as the NRA, Mort Künstler, Frank McCarthy’s Estate, John Wayne Enterprises, LLC and Elvis Presley’s Estate). The licensing arrangements verify the authenticity of the commemorative firearm, but also provide collectors added assurance the artwork has been reviewed by the honoree or their representative prior to introduction of the specific issue.

With the popularity today of commemorative firearms, the appeal of owning one of these modern masterpieces has reached far beyond the general firearms aficionado.  Specialized Tributes are handcrafted to honor branches of the military, Hollywood Western stars, great military battles and wars, the Wild West era, the Civil War era, famous generals and presidents, various wildlife and hunting themes, and many other areas of interest.  Though there may be many categories of commemorative firearms, most contain a pre-specified number of firearms in the edition. Many collectors prefer smaller edition limits; often 2,500 or less. Just as Samuel Colt’s presentation arms are a valuable rarity today, commemorative firearms issued today in limited quantities may someday be unique and desirable firearms for future generations of collectors.