History of Savage
Arthur William Savage was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on June 13, 1857. In 1892, at the age of 35, he was well on his way to developing the Savage Model 99 lever-action rifle. This innovative rifle, with its rotary magazine, became Savage’s most famous rifle and stayed in production longer than any other firearm the company produced. The Model 99 was so far ahead of its time that it successfully competed in the market for years.
Savage Arms became involved in manufacturing pistols with the introduction of the 1907 auto-loader, which was chambered in .32 or .380 caliber. Although the 1907, and later the 1915 and 1917 pistols, were well made and effective, they never really caught on. In 1920, the Savage Company, ailing from the same post war woes as other major manufacturers, sought to diversify by purchasing the J. Stevens Arms Company. This addition provided a buffer line of products that were already accepted by, and familiar to, the American public.
In 1929, Savage bought the A.H. Fox Company, with its reputation for manufacturing some of the finest double barrel shotguns available. This purchase provided Savage with a well rounded, much larger product line. The name “Savage-Stevens-Fox” appeared on later catalogs, alerting customers to the merger and reassuring them of the quality they’d come to expect from these three names. In 1931, Savage added the Crescent Arms Company to its acquisitions. Although these additions were sound business ventures, they later caused nightmares for parts suppliers as the line of distinction between makes and models became less clear.
Savage’s contribution of firearms production to the war effort during WWI and WWII was phenomenal. By the end of the Second World War, they had produced 2.5 million machine guns, sub-machine guns, and infantry rifles. This was accomplished using as many as 13,000 employees and working around the clock shifts, seven days a week.
Savage may well have been one of the most diverse and prolific of all the firearms companies. The varieties of shotguns, rimfire rifles, and high power rifles they produced and/or marketed is staggering. Models that were discontinued decades ago are still in use, many of them as cherished family heirlooms. Although Savage handles only a very few models today, the continued success of one model, the 110 series high power rifle, attests to the staying power of this former industry giant.