Schmelzer Arms Sporting Goods

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Schmelzer Arms Sporting Goods

Postby mikesglove » December 3rd, 2011, 12:42 am

John Schmelzer Immigrated from Germany in 1844 and settled in Hartford CT. He found work at Colt's Armory due to his experience in firearms manufacturing. He resettled in Leavenworth, KS. in 1857 and opened his own business, Schmelzer Arms Co. His oldest son, Charles became involved in the business as a traveling salesman. In 1887 the business relocated again, this time to Kansas City, MO. John Schmelzer retired at this point and left the business to his two sons, Charles and Herman. The company became incorporated as J.F. Schmelzer & Sons in 1896. Hunting and fishing gear was their core business at the beginning, slowly branching out into cutlery, bicycles, phonographs, Kodaks, toys and athletic goods.

Here is an image of the Kansas City store circa 1910
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This set of Schmelzer advertising pin backs sold for $80,000 at auction
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Here is a close-up of the front and back of the pin back. Pretty cool. Apparently a lot of fakes were made of these and listed on ebay
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Here are a few early Schmelzer gloves with different cloth patches over the years. Brett's buckle back model has an early patch listing "Schmelzer Arms Co". The other two gloves have a later patch listing "Schemlzers Sporting Goods"
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This 1927 Schmelzer catalog carries Goldsmith, KenWel and Rawlings models. It would be interesting to find a "Vance" or "Doak" model with the Schmelzer patch.
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Re: Schmelzer Arms Sporting Goods

Postby mikesglove » December 3rd, 2011, 1:29 am

The 1920's saw a steady decline in sales for Schmelzer's, so in 1930, they filed for bankruptcy and began liquidating most of their stock. George Lowe was an employee and worked as a buyer for Schmelzers during their heyday in the teens, and he stepped forward during the bankruptcy and took over some of Schemlzer's sporting goods business for his present company, Lowe and Campbell Sporting Goods.
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Re: Schmelzer Arms Sporting Goods

Postby peterb69 » December 3rd, 2011, 9:07 am

Very informative, thanks. I really like these little historical pieces.
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Re: Schmelzer Arms Sporting Goods

Postby softball66 » December 3rd, 2011, 7:13 pm

Good Show Again Mike! Guess the end came for a lot of those type of companies like Schmelzer. I recall the mom and pop sporting goods stores from my youth. And here in Dallas when I arrived, we had Cullum & Boren and then Oshmans. Now mostly it's Dicks and Academy big chains with a few private owner holdouts.
Thought that was interesting about Lowe leaving Schmelzer to form Lowe & Campbell. There's another significant move from one sporting goods firm to another: that would be Frank Bradsby working, I believe, for Simmons sporting Goods and joined Hillerich and Son.
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