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Forum > Hand Guns > Hand Guns > Anyone ever heard of a Howard Arms Co. Chicago (I J?) Secret

Anyone ever heard of a Howard Arms Co. Chicago (I J?) Secret

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Numrich Archiver
Joined: February 2010
Posts: 161648
Posted: July 16, 2006 10:03 PM
Numrich Archiver
Joined: February 2010
Posts: 161648
Posted: July 17, 2006 09:39 AM

The only reference that I have is to: Howard Arms Company: A Tradename used by the H.& D. Folsom Arms Company on "SHOTGUNS" they distributed. The name "Secret Service Special" was used bt the Rhode-Spencer Company of Chicagp, Ill. on pocket revolvers. IJ used the name Secret service Special on .32 cal. revolvers sold By "Biffer" of Chicago. Meridan Used the same name on .38 cals. also sold by Biffer of Chicago. Whitney Arms Company(yes, Eli) had an operating partner, aka Whitney-"Howard" that produced some revolvers, but they would have pre-dated the .38 S&W cartridge. Chances are that the revolver was produced for sale by one of the major retailers, like Sears, Mont. Wards.,etc. You can run your data by www.bluebookinc.com or wait for Forum member Bill Goforth to come on. Bill is the resident expert on these pocket type revolvers.

Numrich Archiver
Joined: February 2010
Posts: 161648
Posted: July 17, 2006 10:12 AM

Thanks for the info. I bought the gun on the auction, It has a three hump front sight (large hump in center) that I read was a Meriden Arms Co. When I get the serial number I'll post for more information. Thanks again.

Numrich Archiver
Joined: February 2010
Posts: 161648
Posted: July 17, 2006 11:41 AM

ed,

you are correct in the the front sight indicates manufacture by meriden. the name 'secret service special' was owned and used by 'the fred biffar co.' both fred biffar and meriden were tied very closely with Sears, Roebuck & co.

serial numbers are of no use in these handguns as there are no known records. the revolvers with the 'secret service special' markings date to as early as 1908 and as late as 1922. the main thing to remember about the handguns manufactured by meriden is they used mallable iron in their construction. i personally would not consider any of them safe with modern ammo.

bill

Numrich Archiver
Joined: February 2010
Posts: 161648
Posted: July 17, 2006 12:44 PM

Thanks for the info. I guess comming from Sears the "Secert Service" was just a sales gimick. If I decide to reload for it do you have any info for loads from that time period? The finish is nichol and about 80%, does having it refinished + or - from it value?

Numrich Archiver
Joined: February 2010
Posts: 161648
Posted: July 17, 2006 03:56 PM

That would be a Blackpowder load with a lead bullet and even then the soft iron of the Meridan could be subject to expansion....if it hasn't already stretched!