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Wooden Toy Carbines

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    Posted: Oct 29 2017 at 4:55pm

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November 2017-A

The Toy Carbine

By Guy Goldfeder

 

Someone once asked when did carbines become collectible. My first thought was as soon as production started! there was quite a stir in 42 regarding the military new carbine. In Popular Science 1942 there was even speculation and artists rendition of how the carbine worked based on descriptions.

 During  carbine production some avid collectors unscrupulous workers smuggled home parts. This is evident on at least one know case of the ATF arresting and charging one such individual. Later we see reports of carbines called lunch box specials assembled from said parts. Clearly there were early collectors.

It was not until the 60's when an individual could actually own a real USGI carbine, this was when the DMC first released carbines. And there were also commercial carbines being made.
 
But what about a representative or toy carbine? When were they first available?
Recently there was a post about a toy carbine and a challenge to establish if toy M1 Carbines were produced during war time and when did they become available.

Well back in the day a many of boys picked up a fine stick and and immediately became representative of their military weapon of choice. With the onset of WWII I am sure many of boys were happy to call their fine sticks the new M1 carbine, M1 Garand or the old time favorite Springfield. Heck I am sure there were more than a few Tommy Guns in there as well. Anyone remember dirt bomb grenades!

Well to answer the question as best as I can I would say as early as 1944 there were toy carbines on the market, this based on advertising.

E.W. Boyce and company offered up the Pattern No. 1000T which was "the gun you heard so much about." "Made from actual U.S. Army Walnut Gun Stocks"

The retail price was set at 3.75 by the Office of Price Administration (OPA) which instituted price controls during WWII. Now $3.75 might not sound like much but according to online calculators that would be approximately $50.00 in today's money.

The ad states that they were made in a Grand Rapids plant who would be making furniture. This would suggest that they were made by the Robert W. Irwin Company. They were the only company in Grand Rapids making carbine stocks and their history was as furniture makers.

In CCNL 105 by Ken Schliesman and CCNL 331 by J.B. Powers it was reported There are toy carbines that have been reported as having silver or gold paint lettering on the heel of the grip "PAT.PEND EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT CO GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN" as well as a circle with "Genuine Army Reject Carbine Stock" located on the right side of butt stock. It has been observed that some have the sling and oiler cutout were others were void of this manufacturing procedure.

Looking at the lower picture we do not see the markings on the butt stock, also notice the different trigger.  However both are of the same general construction.

So the question is are E.W. Boyce and Emergency Equipment the same company or perhaps Emergency Equipment bought the toys from E.W. Boyce and added the paint. 

The picture below is the Marlin Junior, clearly of a different construction.

 

Marlin Firearms Co. in New Haven Connecticut made stocks for Underwood Elliot Fisher which were identified by having MU stamped in the sling cutout. According to the book Marlin Firearms, A History of the Guns And the Company That Made Them by Brophy , at the conclusion of WWII production in 1945 Marlin had a significant surplus of carbine stock blanks left over. Marlin took these blanks and made them into the Marlin Junior. The Marlin Junior toy carbines typically had a decal just forward of the trigger area on the underside of the stock.

One of the hallmarks of Marlin stocks are the two additional holes in the butt plate area which were for locating the stock in the machine to manufacture them. Winchester and Sprague & Carleton also have these holes. These holes are not present on Robert Irwin stocks, However I have noted that there is some sort of tooling that makes slight indents in the same location.

Many older carbine collectors surely remember the Montgomery Ward catalogs. In a 1944 catalog there was advertised the "Boys' Drill Rifles" which not only offered up wooded toy Springfields for sale but also the M1 Carbine!

The advertisement touts that these actual reproductions were the same size shade and design of the famous Springfield and Carbine Rifles. It also states that they were genuine Walnuts stocks that were made for the United States Army and were rejected for minor imperfections.

In the 1945 Montgomery Wards catalog we find another offering of the toy carbine, this time along with the M1 Garand rifle

 
 
I have had one of these wooden toy carbines in my collection for some time which spurred my interest into looking at toy carbines. Here are some profile pictures.
 

At first glance of these toy carbines something looks off about the stocks. On closer examination we can see that the top of the stock was  not machined at this point. An additional piece of wood was added to the top which bedded the wooden barrel. This piece also at least partially fills in the original barrel channel.

The piece also required removing material from the recoil plate area. At first I had thought maybe this was where the defect was on the stock.

Closer examination reveals that  material was removed down the back of the recoil plate area so the metal clicker mechanism can be installed.

Observing another of these toy carbines reveals that this must be a high stress area as both had the same crack in same location approximately 1 1/2 inches below the additional wood piece that was added to the top of the stock.

Looking at the nose we can see further evidence of the added wood piece to fill the barrel channel as well as fit the wooden barrel.
 

 It is interesting to note that these toy carbines were the only wooden toy carbines that had a magazine. The features were much closer in actual shape of a carbine then the other examples.  The butt plate area is typically painted black, which is well worn and only noticeable when you look for it. The Butt area does not have any holes like the Emergency Equipment Toy.

It is inconclusive it the hand guard was U.S.G.I. but is clear that once assembled a quick and rough sanding brought the profiles together as well as defining the barrel band area.

Clearly much more work was involved in producing them. These were offered up for $2.95, that would be $41.97 in 2017.

 

What is not evident is who provided the stocks or built these toy carbines. It has been said that they are made by Parris-Dunn Manufacturing Corp. I have had a few toys made by Parris-Dunn and do not believe this to be the case.

the Parris-Dunn company was formed in 1936 in Clarinda, Iowa by William G. Dunn and Cecil Lewis "Catfish" Parris. They were producing wind driven generators for farms. With WWII and America's imminent involvement, the US Government recommended that Parris-Dunn produce dummy training rifles out of wood and metal that copied the M1903 Springfield for the U.S. Army. The U.S. Navy was impressed with these "trainer" rifles that they contacted Parris-Dunn in June 1942 to produce a "trainer" rifle to there specifications. Walnut was in demand for needed production firearms and they were required to use a cheaper wood which they stained.
The reason for trainers was due to the fact that the U.S. Government shipped many of our arms overseas for our allies that were currently engaged in war.

 Parris-Dunn went on to manufacture over a half of a million of these Army and Navy trainer rifles and achieved the coveted Army-Navy "E" award. When the war was over the training rifles were sold off as surplus and Parris-Dunn went on the make western cork pop guns and marketed cowboy and trainer rifles.

In 1949 Dunn retired and Parris moved the company to Savannah Tennessee and the company dropped Dunn from its name. To this day makes full size replicas of the M1903 Springfield with working bolts as well a smaller sized one for children. Again these were made of a wood other then walnut. Most were stained or painted white.
In 1953 "catfish" Parris started the Kadet Military Drill teams. Clearly a boost to trainer sales. This program ended in 1970's.

In a 1956 advertisement in Playthings Magazine we see an ad for The Kadets of America.
 
 

The Parris-Dunn contract rifles had metal butt plates with several different marking. When they went on to make toys some of the full size had the metal butt plates of a different marking. The toy rifles for the most part had gold and red decals on them. It seems odd to me that the rifle from Montgomery Wards has not shown up with butt plates or stickers or any other way to distinguish it as made by Parris-Dunn or Parris Mfg.

Looking at ads I found one for Parris Trainer in a 1951 Hardware Age catalog. Notice even the UN Police Pistol has their name on it.

It would seem all brochures and advertisements that Parris-Dunn and Parris Manufacturing stuck to the bolt action and lever action design for its more realistic trainer rifles. It also is appears that the marked all of their products.

With that I would say the chances are very slim that Parris-Dunn or Parris had anything to do with the M1 carbine with one very small exception. In the 1960's Parris Mfg produced a line of Official TraineRifles (sic) The full size M-30 was nickel plated and had a M1 carbine rear sight for a limited time.

For anyone interested in drill and training rifles i recommend Non-Firing Drill & Training Rifles by Malcolm MacPherson or any of his essays found on the internet.

Well that is it for wooden toy carbines. Anyone have a plastic Hubley from the 60's they wish to share pictures of?



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote m1a1fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 25 2017 at 6:00am
Now that's a toy carbine. Really enjoy toy carbines especially when they come with their original magazines. Good stuff!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sling00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 25 2017 at 6:10am
I found it interesting as to the considerable amount of detailed manufacturing effort put into making these toy rifles.  Nothing like the blown plastic of today.  Thanks for sharing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GoldenGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 08 2018 at 2:42pm
Yes I agree that today there is not the same level of craftsmanship.

People today think that the "reduce, reuse, recycle" is from their generation
but clearly they did figure a way to reuse the scraps of industry .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 22 2018 at 5:01pm
Somebody jumped on this sight for the Parris Gun
But it is not nickel plated. I wonder if it will go on a trainer or a USGI carbine??????


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RClark9595 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 24 2019 at 10:03am
This is great stuff, back when programs were created to stimulate the interests of boys. Beside the cadet programs there was also the Boy scouts, although they didn't use guns.
I think if the Feminists saw this today, they and the LBGQ would have a hissy fit, I miss those days when I was growing up. I hate watching the world change the way it is going.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 24 2019 at 10:24am
Originally posted by RClark9595 RClark9595 wrote:

This is great stuff, back when programs were created to stimulate the interests of boys. Beside the cadet programs there was also the Boy scouts, although they didn't use guns.
I think if the Feminists saw this today, they and the LBGQ would have a hissy fit, I miss those days when I was growing up. I hate watching the world change the way it is going.


We did use guns to a limited extent in the Boy Scouts. Rifle and Shotgun merit badge was the badge available when I was a scout, and earned my Eagle in 1983. Even though I spent 4 years on a high school rifle team, I never earned the badge, because of the shotgun component, which had a bit more limited practical availability in Hawaii. Now the Boy Scouts have separated the former merit badge into two separate badges, Rifle Shooting, and Shotgun Shooting. I was at the local Boy Scout shop yesterday, and saw the merit badge requirement books for them, so they are still elective options.

That being said, I'm not sure how much it's being promoted. I plan to do my part to keep it going with my 7 year old Cub Scout son, if he decides to continue on with Boy Scouts. Obviously, there have been a lot of changes with Scouts lately. We have two girls in our Lion Den, which is a starter program for Kindergarten aged kids. When I was a Cub Scout, you had to be 8 years old, or in second grade to join.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote floydthecat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 24 2019 at 10:54am
I would surely have had me a toy carbine, but it was too modern looking to go with my stick-horse. We had to have 6-shooter and Winchester lever-gun sticks to match our cowboy boots and hats. I very distinctly remember that when we chose our characters, nobody could be Audie Murphy. He was considered a movie star and not a real cowboy. If I could have played Audie, I might have had me a stick-carbine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RClark9595 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 24 2019 at 12:17pm
David Albert wrote.
We did use guns to a limited extent in the Boy Scouts. Rifle and Shotgun merit badge was the badge available when I was a scout, and earned my Eagle in 1983.


I had forgotten about that, I was thinking toy guns, where the Boy Scouts were using the real thing, however we didn't do drills with our guns.
I remember what we did do was complete a hunters safety course and we'd go to a setup range and shot our 22's.
At one time our troop of older Explorer scouts went up into the mountains, (I live in Salt Lake City), it was late in the year so there were no people at the pick-nick sights, but plenty of pot guts (ground squirrels). We had a lot of fun shooting them, (they are considered pests and carry diseases), they like the garbage people leave behind.
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Daisy promoted marksmanship in the scouts for some period of time. I worked with a troop briefly in the mid-70’s. Daisy provided the bb-guns and gear, but they were traditional lever-guns.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote New2brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 28 2020 at 10:43am
Some advertisements for toy carbines
Montgomery Ward newspaper advertisement in January of 1944

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/ToyCarbine2.jpg

Another newspaper advertisement for a toy carbine in April 1944
Burdine's Department Store in Florida
Note is says "Boys' Carbine Type". The Boys' is the only one we know of that had a trigger guard, but it is absent the non removable magazine.

http://www.uscarbinecal30.com/forum/uploads/3657/ToyCarbine1.jpg

Could it be that it is a drawing error, or is it actually the Springfield type rifle shown in the first advertisement above?
If anyone comes across the Boys' Springfield rifle or Boys' Garand please share some pictures
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote David Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 28 2020 at 8:10pm
New2brass,

Thank you for posting the advertisements. Based on an acquisition I made at the January OGCA show, I don't think the second ad is a drawing error. I suppose it could be a coincidence, since the drawing is simple, but the latest one I bought was made without a magazine, using an original (possibly rejected) Carbine stock with many of the same features of my other one that has a magazine. Extra effort was placed into filling in the sling cutout on both sides, but they did not fill in the barrel band retention spring cutout like they did on the other. (Unless it fell out and was lost)

Here are some quick photos of both my toy Carbines.





Your thoughts?

David Albert
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