Friday, January 20, 2006

End of an Era

US News Article | Reuters.com: "NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (Reuters) - The Connecticut factory that produced the Winchester rifle, celebrated in cowboy movies as the gun frontiersmen used to settle the American West, is shutting down after 140 years in New Haven.

Belgian-based Herstal Group told its 186 workers this week it plans to shutter the U.S. Repeating Arms plant, formerly known as Winchester Rifle Company, on March 31 due to slow sales.

That would end production of the Model 70 bolt-action rifle and the Model 94 lever-action rifle, known as 'The Gun that Won the West' because of its use by frontiersmen in the late 19th century.

Newer models carrying the Winchester name still will be produced in Belgium, Japan and Portugal, the company said."

Somehow, having all the Winchesters made in Japan (and Belgium and Portugal) just doesn't seem right.

2 comments:

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

The first rifle I bought was a Model 94 carbine. I still have it. I got it second-hand, but it's a pre-1964, which matters to Winchester owners. Prior to '64, Winchester milled their parts. After that they were stamped out, and supposedly not as good.

Still, this is another nail in the American coffin. It appears that all of the iconic companies I've always thought would be a part of America as long a there was an America might disappear during my lifetime--Chevy is teetering, Ford isn't doing much better, and the less-iconic Blockbuster seems to be on its last legs. And look at the companies that made my childhood memories great--Marx Toys, Woolworth's, drive-in movies--that are toes up. Maybe I've live too long.

James said...

You know, it's a pretty sad commentary on the state of the American economy when we're not even making our own, signature weapons anymore.