The History of Dan Lefever and Lefever Arms as I know it.
Daniel M. Lefever was born Aug. 27th, 1835 in Ontario County, NY. By 1850 he was thought to have been in an apprenticeship with John Cutler.
By 1857 Dan had started in business on his own in Canandaigua NY.
Lefever & Ellis
From 1862 to 1867 Dan had formed a partnership with James Ellis in Canandaigua NY. All of the L & E marked guns that I've seen are percussion guns. They built heavy and light barreled target rifles. There has been a number of O/U percussion mule ear rifle/shotguns reported. It has been reported that they built 76 scoped heavy barreled target rifles for the New York State sharpshooters. (Note: There were guns marked DM Lefever, James Ellis, and Lefever & Ellis.
Upon the partnership dissolving, James Ellis stayed in the sporting good business with his sons. until 1962.
Dan Lefever went into a short lived grocery business with Levi Shelfon.
By 1870 Dan was in Auburn NY in the gun business for himself. These guns were Dams first breachloaders Marked DM Lefever.
Dangerfield & Lefever
From 1871 to 1874 Dan formed a partnership with Francis Dangerfield in Auburn NY. Its been reported that Francis was a machinist by trade. Together they built Lefevers first breechloading shotgun. Both single and double barreled shotguns have been found. They were somewhat crude by todays standards. About half of the examples found are muzzle loader/breech loader conversions. Some of the guns located have serial numbers. They had no grade markings.
Barber & Lefever
From 1874 to 1876 Dan formed a partnership with Lorenzo Barber in Syracuse NY. These guns were more refined than the Dangerfield and Lefever guns. Most of these guns are muzzle loader/breechloader conversions. There are a few single barreled rifles and shotguns. Most all of these guns were numbered and some had grade markings, A through E.
Nichols & Lefever
John Nichols and Dan Lefever formed a partnership in Syracuse NY from 1876 to 1879. Together they built some of the finest double barreled hammer guns built in America. There were about 800 of these guns built in grades A to E. Nichols & Lefevers have been located in 8 ga, 10 ga, 12 ga and rifles.
John A. Nichols
Dan Lefever left to build his new hammerless shotgun in 1879. John Nichols continued building the Nichols & Lefever hammer gun under John A Nichols. There were around 600 of the Nichols guns built. The only changes that Nichols had was an adjustable hinge pin and he added an AA grade gun.
In 1879 Dan Lefever left Nickols & Lefever to make his new side cocking shotgun. There was about 2300 sidecockers built AA grade through E grade. Sidecockers have been recorded in 10 ga, 12 ga, 14 ga, 16 ga, and 3 barrel guns.
Lefever Arms Co.
Around 1884 the sidecocker was replaced by the automatic hammerless that cocked on opening amd Lefever Arms was formed with the help from Ames Howelett the Durston's. These are the most common of the Lefever guns. We referred to as the "Syracuse model". Dan was in his hay day designing new and iprovments to his Lefever Arms gun. By 1901 Dan had been pushed out of the front office and was the shop superintendent. By 1901 Dan had his fiil and left Lefever Arms Co. LAC guns have been seen in grades 1000, Optimus, AA, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H I, DS. In gauges from 8 ga, 10 ga, 12 ga, 14 ga, 16 ga, 20 ga, rifle and 3 barrel guns.
Around 1916 the Durston's sold Lefever Arms to the Ithaca gun Co. Ithaca built or assambled the remaining Lefever Arms guns until about 1920.
DM Lefever and Sons
In 1901 Dan left Lefever Arms and started DM Lefever & Sons, in Syracuse NY, with his sons Charles, Frank, and George. The new company did not prosper and by 1904 they had set up shop in Defiance, OH. In May, 1905 they moved again to Bowling Green OH. Again it was short lived as the doors were closed for the final time April 28, 1906.
Dan had returned to Syracuse NY in mid 1906 and passed away Oct 29, 1906.
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