Considered “America’s Oldest Gunmaker”, Remington Arms is one of the most famous manufacturers of firearms and ammunition in the US. Founded in 1816 in Ilion Gulch, New York, it has since grown to become the largest producer of shotguns and rifles in America. Remington products are distributed in over 60 countries worldwide.
The Remington Company was founded in 1816 when Eliphalet Remington II, as a young man, believed that he could make a better gun than what he could buy. As Eliphalet entered the trade at the family’s rural forge in Herkimer County, NY, he crafted a flintlock rifle from a firing mechanism he bought from a gunsmith and a barrel he made himself.
The fall of that year, he entered a shooting match using the rifle he made. He won second place, but the hand-made rifle made such an impression on the other shooters that orders for a similar rifle came in. Suddenly, Remington was now in the gunsmithing business. They moved their operations to Ilion Gulch, a nearby village, where the present Ilion plant stands today.
For many years, Remington was a family-run business, with Eliphalet’s 3 sons taking on a more active role by 1840. E. Remington & Sons was then incorporated as a stock company in 1865. During those years, the company had created a number of firearm models. These included the first hammerless solid breech repeating shotgun, the first hammerless autoloading shotgun, the first successful high-power slide action repeating rifle, the first lock breech autoloading rifle, and the Rolling Block Rifle. Remington also diversified its offerings, venturing into the making of typewriters.
In 1888, E. Remington & Sons was sold to Marcellus Hartley and Partners, and the company name was changed into Remington Arms Company. In the following years, to better utilize the plant’s potential, the company also produced sewing machines and mechanical cash registers.
A merger occurred between Remington Arms Company and Union Metallic Cartridge Company of Bridgeport, developer of the first paper shotshells and first cartridges for automatic pistols, in 1912. The company was renamed as Remington U.M.C. In 1915, it expanded the facilities at the Ilion Plant and, by the following year, the new plant was in full operation. This plant is basically the same one that exists today.
In 1920, the company was incorporated in Delaware. During World War I, Remington produced firearms for France, Britain, and Imperial Russia. With the excess manufacturing capacity, the company began to venture in pocket and hunting knives, and household utensils. They also entered the clothing and accessory business.
During the Great Depression, Remington offered controlling interest to E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. as a result of financial pressures. On May 24, 1933, DuPont bought 60% of the company. Under this management, Remington was able to acquire numerous investments, such as the Chamberlain Trap & Target Company, Peters Cartridge Company, and Brazilian sporting ammunition maker Fabrica Nacional de Cartuchos e Municoes.
As World War II loomed in 1940, Remington was asked by the US government to collaborate on a plan for ammunition production expansion. New plants were constructed in 5 locations: Missouri, Colorado, Utah, Ohio, and Massachusetts. These were owned by the government and operated by Remington under fixed-fee contracts.
In January of 1950, Remington released its Model 870 “Wingmaster” shotgun, which became the largest-selling pump action shotgun worldwide. In 1962, the Model 700 bolt-action rifle was announced. This model would soon become the most popular bolt-action rifle in the market, with variants for consumer, military, and police use.
Remington built a new ammunition plant in Lonoke, Arkansas in 1970. The site was said to be near the geographic centre of the sporting ammunition market.
By 1980, Remington became a wholly-owned subsidiary of DuPont, which purchased the company’s remainingshares. The company’s assets were then sold to RACI Acquisitions on December 1, 1993. Beginning 1994, new facilities were built in Kentucky and North Carolina.
The 21st century heralded many other milestones for Remington: the acquisition of Marlin Firearms, the introduction of the Hypersonic Steel shotgun shell, and the release of the Model 1911 R1 and Versa Max autoloading shotgun. And in 2004, Remington announced its plan to distribute advanced license plate technology and surveillance systems to expand its core offerings to the domestic security market. It also announced the formation of a new subsidiary called Spartan Gunworks, which aims to bring value-priced shotguns in the US.