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The Official Dan Wesson Timeline
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Jody
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July 20, 2012 - 4:44 pm
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Good Afternoon Guys,

I think it's time we document the actual timeline of all things Dan Wesson.  I've started reading through some old articles and have documented a several important events.  Please feel free to respond to this topic with any comments, additional or corrections.

  • 1916 - Daniel B. Wesson was borne on April 22, 1916.  He was the great grandson of Daniel Baird Wesson one of the founders of Smith and Wesson.  
  • 1948 – Dan Wesson established his own tool and die company named D.B. Wesson Inc.
  • 1966 – Dan resigns from S&W after an unsuccessful attempt to buy enough shares to stop the Bangor Punta Corp from taking over.
  • 1968 – Dan becomes bored with semi-retirement and forms D.B. Wesson Arms as a subsidiary of D.B. Wesson Inc and starts building revolvers with two employees.
  • 1969 – The first revolver from D.B. Wesson Arms is displayed at the NSGA Show in Houston.
  • 1970 – The first model 11 and 12's ship on August 13, 1970.
  • 1971 – Models 11 and 12 were replaced by models 14 and 15.  The external nut was replaced with the internal nut.
  • 1973 – In April of 1973 due to issues with he short hammer throw, an improved longer hammer throw begins to be phased in. 
  • 1973/74 – Introduction of model 14-1 and 15-1 – The company started implementing changes that would be -1 guns shortly after implementing the change in hammer throw (or similtaniously).
  • 1975 - Introduction of models 14-2 and 15-2. The straight barrel shroud was introduced with these models.
  • 1978 – Dan Wesson passes away on 11/24/1978
  • 1979 – The model 22 (22LR) was introduced.
  • 1979 – The model 44 is displayed at the NSGH Show in Denver, CO.
  • 1980 – The model 44 starts shipping in December of 1980.  The Power Control barrel and shroud was introduced.  The Power Control was said to be available on both the 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum with the 357 having 6 holes in the barrel and the 44 having 8.  (I have not never seen a Power Control 357).
  • 1983 – The current lineup of revolvers were offered in Stainless.  (Models 22, 44, 14-2, 15-2)
  • 1983 – The model 40 was introduced.
  • 1983 – The model 41 was introduced.
  • 1983 - Seth Wesson leaves Dan Wesson.
  • 1986 – The model 32 was introduced.
  • 1988 – The model 445 was introduced. The 445 and 414 were introduced at the same time however the 414 did not see production at the Monson plant.  Only 2 414 prototypes with the Monson marking is known to exists.
  • 1988 - Introduction of the Hunters Pac.  The Hunters Pac consisted of an VH8 assembly and a V8 shroud topped with a 1.5x4 Burris scope in a Case.
  • 1990 – Mid 1990 saw the introduction of the 45 Colt.  
  • 1990 - Seth Wesson is approached by Ed Arventos Vice President of Manufacturing in August about purchasing Dan Wesson Firearms out of Chapter 11.
  • 1991 - On January 4, 1991 the company and all its equipment was returned to family hands.  The company would change their name to Wesson Firearms and vacate the Old Monson Schoolhouse and move to Palmer, MA.
  • 1992 - The Lil' Dan (738P) is unveiled at the SHOT Show in January.
  • 1993 - Wesson Firearms is backup and running in Palmer.
  • 1993 - Fixed barrel guns are introduced in 357 and 44 Magnum.
  • 1993 - The Pinslammer 45 is shown at the 1993 SHOT Show.  The revolver is built on the Large Frame platform with a 5" compensated barrel.  The cylinder is cut back to the shortest length required for the heaviest 45ACP loads.
  • 1993/94 - The Gold Series was introduced.  It was available in 6" and 8" high polish blue.  Gold Series and Dan Wesson's Signature was roll marked in the shroud and gold filled.
  • 1994 - Pinslammer 45 Introduced.
  • 1994 - Compensated barrel assemblies introduced.
  • 1994 - 3 new models were released: PPC, Lil Dan (738P) and the Alaskan Hunter in 445.
  • 1994/95 - Compensated Fixed Barrels Introduced in 41 & 44 Mags and 357 and 445 SuperMags.
  • 1995 - Wesson Firearms ceases production.
  • 1996 - New York International Corp headed by Bob Serva acquired all assets, patents, copyrights, tooling, engineering materials and remaining inventory in mid-1996.
  • 1997 - Dan Wesson returned to limited production in October 1997 in Norwich, NY utilizing new CNC machinery.  
  • 1997 - The first revolvers ship in December.

* Items added 7/24/12

 
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Dave_Ks
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July 21, 2012 - 6:28 am
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Nothing to add and  Thank you!  I will getout some of the info I have picked and see where I might be able to add. 

 

Some how important postings as this one need to pinned so as to see often! 

DSCN1339.jpg

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Charger Fan
Northern Utah

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July 21, 2012 - 9:13 am
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Jody, thanks for laying this out. Lists like this are always useful tools. dwf-sign

Regarding the 1973 & 1974 dates. So far, I feel they are more synonymous than separate. But as always with DW facts, I hope more evidence comes along one day to prove this.smile

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gsquare
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July 21, 2012 - 5:44 pm
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Great reference, thanks.  I'm continually impressed with the wealth of information on this site. worship

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photohause
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July 21, 2012 - 6:29 pm
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Impressive - thanks for posting this - I can see things better.

Photo

 If you're going to drink, don't drive. Don't even putt. 

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Jody
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July 22, 2012 - 8:26 pm
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Regarding the 1973 & 1974 dates. So far, I feel they are more synonymous than separate. But as always with DW facts, I hope more evidence comes along one day to prove this.

CF, based on what I have read I believe you are correct. The article I read stated that as soon as the change in hammer throws was made they started working on changes that resulted in the -1 guns.  I will edit my orginial post to be 1973/74.

 
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Charger Fan
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July 23, 2012 - 9:56 am
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It looks good Jody, and so does the additional stuff you've added to the list.occasion

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rwsem
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July 24, 2012 - 8:28 am
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Technically, the glass is always full; half liquid, half air....

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Jody
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July 24, 2012 - 11:08 am
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Guys, I have added some new items on the timeline and have color coded it so you can quickly identify what is new.  When looking at everything listed out you can see the effort that Seth and Carol Wesson was making to get new products to buyers.  

During this time we see the introduction of the Lil Dan, fixed barrel models (both standard and compensated), PPC and Alaskan Hunter which went on to become the Alaskan Guide Special under Bob Serva the only difference being the coating that was applied.  The Alaskan Hunter was stainless where Serva's model had a black coating.

Prior to starting the DWF there was a lot of bashing on other forums of the Palmer era.  It seems to me they were doing the best with the hand they were dealt and try to give the buyers a range of options.  

I think my Norwich guns are probably the best quality of the 3 era's but Bob Serva's focus quickly switched to 1911's (I loved the one I had!) and in the end was a disservice to the loyal DW Revolver buyer.

I'll keep on digging through my archive and adding to this list.  

 
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Charger Fan
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July 25, 2012 - 9:34 am
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Thanks for adding all the new info, Jody. Being able to see it all laid out in a timeline really helps keep perspective on the general flow of things.

I agree with you on the Palmer years. Seth & Carol really tried hard to offer a wide variety of models & calibers. It appears that they were able to keep forward motion with their plan right up until the end. It's really a shame that their efforts weren't better rewarded, with massive sales.

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Sam58
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December 22, 2015 - 5:53 am
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That's a great reference Jody. Thank you!

I still have a question. Steve informed me that my just bought 715 with serial number S00172 was manufactured in 1991. I quote from your overwiew here:

  • 1991 – On January 4, 1991 the company and all its equipment was returned to family hands.  The company would change their name to Wesson Firearms and vacate the Old Monson Schoolhouse and move to Palmer, MA.
  • 1992 – The Lil' Dan (738P) is unveiled at the SHOT Show in January.
  • 1993 – Wesson Firearms is backup and running in Palmer.

My question is, what happened between 1991 and 1993? Was production down for some time when they moved from Monson to Palmer?  In the Pdf list of serial numbers there is little information on guns from 1992 and 1993.

And how come that my gun was made in 1991 while it says to be manufactured in Palmer? Did they start in Palmer allready in 1991?

It's all a bit confusing and I hope that you or one of the other experts on this excellent forum can help me.

Thanks and enjoy the season, Sam.

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SCORPIO
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December 22, 2015 - 8:07 am
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Palmer was up and running making all the large and supermag guns prior to closing Monson. Evenarge frames marked Monson were ,we now know, in fact made at the Palmer plant.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

My father

If a man designed it, and a man built it, then a man can fix it.

My grandfather

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snake-eye
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dragonfly1911
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May 13, 2016 - 12:46 pm
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Great history lesson. Owning a 715-2VH, purchased in 1981, I was curious about the 1983 timeline showing revolvers now offered in Stainless.  Is 1983 the first stainless production year? Or am I missing something from the timeline?

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Stinger
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May 13, 2016 - 1:29 pm
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dragonfly1911 said
Great history lesson. Owning a 715-2VH, purchased in 1981, I was curious about the 1983 timeline showing revolvers now offered in Stainless.  Is 1983 the first stainless production year? Or am I missing something from the timeline?

I believe 1983 for the release of the first stainless is incorrect.  The Serial Number Registry has quite a few examples of SS guns in 1982 by the Original Purchasers, but I didn't see any for 1981.

Why don't you get your 1981 paperwork and submit a Registry application ?

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Steve
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May 13, 2016 - 7:50 pm
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I believe that stainless DW's debuted in August 1982 with the Model 715. I do recall seeing some discussion of someone saying bought one in 1981, but there was no conclusive documentation.

Please take the data in the online Serial Number registry with a grain of salt, it contains some pretty interesting data, including a guy with serial number 33555x in 1960. Another fellow has Model 11 s/n 122338 in 1940.

Pretty much whatever gets sent in is included, I keep a separate s/n Registry.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman "Were is the Self Help Section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

George Carlin

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Stinger
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May 14, 2016 - 9:26 am
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Steve said
Please take the data in the online Serial Number registry with a grain of salt, it contains some pretty interesting data, including a guy with serial number 33555x in 1960. Another fellow has Model 11 s/n 122338 in 1940.

Pretty much whatever gets sent in is included, I keep a separate s/n Registry.

So, your personal Registry is "vetted" by yourself, after reviewing the supporting documentation?

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Steve
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May 14, 2016 - 10:13 am
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I originally received and organized all the responses for the DWF Serial Number Registry and entered them in an excel spreadsheet. Each submission I got I looked at in relation to existing entries and tried to build a perspective of what all the entries meant in relation to each other. Sometimes this meant adjusting what was previously thought to be "right". And yes, some submissions were not included because they just did not fit in any sensible way.

I have about 300 numbers that together seem to make sense with each other, they all come from known Members on DWF (although a fair number are longer active). The Registry you see on DWF is that one, "updated" by entries that have come in over the past couple years that automatically update with no evaluation.

My plan for sometime is to update and add to my original listing with newer entries as they seem to fit in, AND adjust the original listing if newer entries challenge some of what was previously thought to be accurate. There are real opportunities for me to add to the (not many) 1911 entries that I have.

And, I'll note again that I have info on about 90 custom S/N's from early 70's-mid 80's that that was given to me and never published. If anyone ever encounters a "three letter+ one digit" (SDR-1) type number or a "nickname" on a revolver that might be from that era, I have interesting insight on those guns that I can share.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman "Were is the Self Help Section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

George Carlin

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Stinger
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May 14, 2016 - 11:45 am
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Cool .. now that I'm no longer in school, I seem to really like History.

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Ghost6
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June 30, 2016 - 7:08 pm
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Details:

 

S/N 1153xx 15-2 Target model w/setscrew on trigger. Came with April 1, 1977 price list and glossy sales brochure dated 4/77

S/N 1165xx 14-2 Service model w/setscrew on trigger

S/N 1952xx 15-2 Target model w/setscrew on frame

All are marked Monson, of course.

 

Based on the S/N Registry, it appears that they moved the setscrew between 1977 and 1979.

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