Whilst I was looking around Texas last week, I stopped in at a spur maker in Gainesville and was shown a vice by Chas Parker and was told this was the same maker as the famous Parker guns. I hadn’t realised Parker was the maker of many other things and did a quick bit of research.
Charles Parker was born in 1809 and rose from poverty to become one of Connecticut’s leading industrialists. He also became the city of Meriden’s first mayor. He started his manufacturing career inventing and producing coffee mills in a small shop in 1832.
By 1860, he owned several large factories and employed hundreds of people, in and around Meriden. Parker products included hardware and house wares, flatware, clocks, lamps, piano stools and benches, vises, coffee mills, industrial machinery, and, after 1862, guns. Guns, however, never amounted to more than 10 percent of Parker’s business. Charles Parker died in 1901 and his descendants carried on his businesses until 1957.
The Great Depression of the 1930s took its toll on the Parker enterprise and it never fully recovered. Parker products have now become “collector’s items,” especially the Parker shotguns. The Charles Parker Company sold its gun facility and the rights to the Parker gun to Remington Arms Company in 1934, and Remington continued the Parker shotgun line until World War II.
The attraction by collectors to the Parker shotgun comes because of the gun’s inherent quality and beauty. The Parker gun is an American classic and examples of their highest grade guns have been achieving record prices at auction recently, up in the $100,000’s and more bracket!