The History The Edw. K. Tryon Company of Philadelphia.

The Edward K. Tryon Company was a sporting goods retailer and wholesaler located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They were in business under various Tryon names from 1811 until sometime in the mid to late 1950s. Edw. K. Tryon was the largest sporting goods retailer in the United States and possibly the world for some time. Their primary business was firearms and hunting related items but they also sold and produced a wide variety of outdoors and sports items. These were sold under a variety of trade names such as Apollo Bicycles, Keystone Shotguns, Pennell Fishing Reels, Imperial Fishing Rods, Gold Medal Fishing Hooks and Tryon-Tru-Temper Cutlery. Their primary trade mark was the “Sign Of The Golden Buffalo”. Below is a history of the company from it's earliest beginnings in 1773 and to it's official founding in 1811 through the 100th Anniversary celebration in 1911. They had a 125th anniversary celebration in 1936 and produced catalogs until at least some time in the mid to late 1950's but I am not sure until when.

Forward quote from the 100th Anniversary celebration publication...
Firearm influence belongs to history in general and to Economics in particular. Neither it nor any set of influences really stands alone in directing the progress of the world. Firearms have been, are, and will be of great importance as one of the many influences; they are mighty in their place; they are worthy of an attention that so far has been dormant; they are worthy of other broader and deeper studies." Charles Winthrop Sawyer, “Firearms in American History."
The Edw. K. Tryon Company of Philadelphia
BELOW PUBLICATION WRITTEN AND COMPILED E. Charles Z. Tryon ILLUSTRATED BY Charles Hunsicker Henkels designed and printed by Franklin Printing Company MAY 17 1911

History of the Edw. K. Tryon Company of Philadelphia: Summary of Events.

1811 Geo. W. Tryon established the business at 165 N. Second Street.
1829 Moved to 134 N. Second Street. (Now No. 220.)
1836 Geo. W. Tryon & Co. succeeded to general business. Tryon Son & Co. succeeded to manufacturing business.
1841 Edw. K. Tryon & Co. succeeded to entire business — Geo. W. Tryon retiring.
1843 Firm changed to Edw. K. Tryon.
1859 Firm changed to Edw. K. Tryon &: Company. Store 625 Market Street opened.
1860 First catalogue issued. Firm changed to Tryon & Brother — Edw. K. Tryon retiring.
1864 " New factory " built rear of Second Street store. Revolver shops opened 120-122 North Sixth Street.
1866 Firm changed to Tryon Bros. & Co.
1868 Firm changed to Edw. K. Tryon, Jr. & Co. — Geo. W. Tryon, |r. retiring. Moved from 625 Market Street to 19 North Sixth Street.
1872 Factories closed down.
1878 Store 527 Commerce Street added.
1881 Store 21 North Sixth Street added.
1886 Moved to 10 and 12 North Sixth Street.
1894 Old Second Street branch store closed.
1903 Store 611 Market Street added.
1904 Death of Edw. K. Tryon, Jr.
1905 Stock and fixtures purchased by Edw. K. Tryon Co., Incorporated.
1911 Celebration of One Hundredth Anniversary.
1936 Celebration of 125th Anniversary

Photo of Edw. K Tryon Admitted to partnership 1856. Member of the firms of Geo. W. Tryon ; Tryon, Son & Co.; Edw. K. Tryon ; Edw. K. Tryon & Co. Retired 1863. Died 1892.
Sometime during the spring of 1773 there set sail from the shores of Holland for America a ship of general cargo, a large portion of which consisted of guns, hardware, linens and blankets for the Indian trade. This miscellaneous collection of Indian goods was the property of a Flemish Huguenot, John Jacob Tryon, formerly a native of Alsace.

John Jacob Tryon had made several voyages to the new world, acquiring considerable property in the vicinity of Winchester, Virginia, but upon this voyage he was accompanied by his wife and six young children, having determined to make his home in America.

Misfortune overtook them. In mid-ocean a severe fire broke out, and while the ship was saved and finally made port, both Tryon and his wife died from shock and exposure.

The children were landed at Philadelphia, only to find that a disastrous fire had destroyed all the deeds and records of their American property also the ship's cargo was quickly sold to the disadvantage of the orphans, and they were promptly put to work.

The youngest boy, Jacob Henry Tryon, was apprenticed to a plate worker. He grew to manhood, but died during the yellow lever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793 at the age of thirty-two, leaving among other children a son aged two years, George W. Tryon.
George W. Tryon1811

In early youth George W. Tryon was apprenticed to a gunsmith named Getz, and in 1811, at twenty years of age, he became the partner of his employer, the firm being known as Tryon and Getz. A few months later he purchased his partner's interest, and continued the business in his own name at 165 North Second Street, founding the present firearms house, which for one hundred years and during four generations has borne the name of “Tryon."

When George W. Tryon opened his store for business in 1811, James Madison was President of the United States, George III was King of England, and Napoleon was at the zenith of his power. Philadelphia had a population of 97,000, New York about the same, and Chicago was but a small Indian Trading Post.

The far West was given over to wild animals and wandering tribes of Indians, except where here and there the sturdy pioneer had ventured beyond the "Great River."

There were no railroads, freight was carried in Conestoga wagons, and was transported from Philadelphia to New York in five days; to Pittsburgh in thirty days. Mail was carried by post horses.

Candles were used for lighting. The streets, however, were lighted by whale oil lamps, '' Which are disposed at convenient distances in all parts of the city, and are lighted every night excepting when the light of the moon renders this unnecessary." Petroleum was not discovered until forty years later. All fires were started with flint and steel. The value of anthracite coal was unknown.

The flint lock was the only gun in general use; the percussion cap was not invented until several years later. There were few manufactories and little machinery practically all goods were fashioned by hand, as were the arms manufactured in the shops of George W. Tryon, who was well located in the center of one of the city's busiest blocks. Almost opposite was the Camel Tavern and the historical old Buck Tavern, famous from Revolutionary days, and nearby the stage coaches departed tor important points.

However, he was not long permitted to pursue the manufacture of sporting arms. These were restless times. England was becoming more and more aggressive upon the high seas. A British sloop of war fired upon a United States frigate, and President Madison, yielding to the popular demand, declared war June 18, 1812, and the young republic found itself plunged into a second conflict with the mother country.

George W. Tryon immediately enlisted and was ordered to Camp Cadwallader, but before seeing any active service, was sent back to his shops by the government, being of more service there than in the field.

It was just at this time that the Government established the Bureau of Ordnance, and a deputy agent for all the North and East was stationed in Philadelphia, therefore, all through the war of 1812 George W. Tryon conducted his plant for the manufacture of government arms.

In February, 1814, the Secretary of the Navy, Wm. Jones, directed George Harrison, Navy Agent at Philadelphia to contract with reliable parties for the constructing of fifty repeating swivels and two hundred repeating muskets.

A Mr. Joseph G. Chambers, of Pennsylvania, had patented the previous year a repeating arm that could be discharged '' In such a manner that by a single operation of the trigger it will discharge several loads in succession (say six or eight), with a space between each sufficient to take another aim." The Secretary considered them of great efficiency, and desiring to bring them into use, subsequently ordered a "Repeating Swivel, or 7-barrel piece, to every 10 guns" as the regular allowance for ships of the Navy.

Acting upon his authority, the Navy Agent placed a contract for twenty of the repeating swivels and two hundred muskets with George W. Tryon and John Joseph Henry, jointly.

During his boyhood, George W. Tryon had formed a strong attachment for John Joseph Henry, then head of the old arms manufacturing firm which had borne the name of "Henry" since 1752. The old books show many transactions between the old firm of Henry and the new Tryon concern, the most interesting of which is this joint contract, as follows:

Agent of the United States in behalf of the United States, and (George W. Tryon and y. Joseph Henry of the city and county of Phila. in manner and form following,

"The said George W. Tryon and). Joseph Henry do agree to make in a complete workmanlike manner, twenty swivels according to the description mentioned in the annexed memorandum, furnished by Joseph G. Chambers, Esq., and also two hundred muskets of description as particularized in the afsd. memorandum annexed at the rate of one hundred dollars for the swivels each, and at the rate of Twenty- Three Dollars for the muskets, when completed and finished as afsd., and to fabricate and make the same of the best materials, and that same shall correspond with the pattern to be furnished and according to the instructions hereto annexed as afsd. and deliver the whole of the swivels and muskets within three months from the date of this agreement, and in case a part should be finished at intervals between the dates and time limited for their delivery as afsd., then to furnish the same. And further they agree to use all due diligence to complete; and deliver one-half of the afsd. muskets and swivels in sixty days after the date hereof. In consideration whereof the said Harrison, Agent, afsd., agrees to pay to the said George W. Tryon and j. Joseph Henry six thousand six hundred dollars upon the due performance and completion of the afsd contract according to the stipulations therein and in the annexed description contained.

In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hand and seal the date and year above written.

DESCRIPTION OF ARMS TO BE FABRICATED BY MESSRS. HENRY & TRYON.

REPEATING MUSKETS

The muskets are to be furnished with good and sufficient brass mounting of style & quality at least equal to the British Marine. The barrels of the American Caliber and somewhat stronger forward than ordinary so as to give one eighth of an inch external diameter at the foremost touch hole, ten inches from the bottom or inside. They are to be furnished with brass sights at the muzzle & iron back sights truly ranged, and the bores sufficiently straightened so as to have the most competent accuracy & effect in firing, &c. The locks are to be fitted with the holes adapted to the fixture of safe guard and teller previous to being hardened and in general everything arranged so as best to accommodate the objects of the repeating fire according to the best specimen already constructed by Henry .

REPEATING SWIVELS

The swivels are to be accurately constructed by laying and securing the barrels sufficiently parallel of form & plan according to the best specimen now exhibited, with such correcting as may be agreed on &c. The standard size shall be barrels of British Marine Calibre (supposed 3 (quarter of an inch) properly straightened as the muskets, four feet in length from the inside breech to muzzle. Touch- hole precisely twenty inches, — external diameter of barrels five quarters of an inch making the thickness of Metal equal to ' 3 the diameter of the bore. The breech plates half inch in thickness, stems 'g of an inch; & handles fitted with the proper screwdriver. Knob of sound blackened wood &c. Swivels adapted so as to balance when all is together,— the crotches, keep & sockets all uniform so that wherever a socket is fixed any swivel can be mounted on it &c. locks duly secured with strong work so as not to be materially inferior to those of Ciauny & Monitzs and in general every detail so uniformly fashioned by determined patterns as may best accommodate the objects of the public service &c. as shall be mutually agreed.

Mr. Chambers was appointed a sailing master, and his two sons’ gunners in the Navy, to superintend the manufacture of these arms, and to have authority to instruct "A certain number of persons in the art of repeating gunnery."

The " repeating arms " were approved by Commodore Wm. Bainbridge, and Mr. Harrison the Navy Agent, was directed April 18, 1814, to send fifteen repeating swivels, fifty muskets and fifty pistols to Commodore Chauncey, on the Great Lakes, in order to test their use in active service.

At the request of Commodore Rogers eight of the swivels were placed on the " Guerriere," launched at Philadelphia, in 1814.

The following years brought such prosperity that in 1829 '"^ larger property was purchased opposite the original shops on North Second Street, No. 134 (now No. 220). A stable on the rear of this lot was immediately transformed into a factory. The first floor of the house was altered into a store, and after the custom of the times the upper floors were used as a dwelling.

The business was thus conducted until January 1, 1836, when Edward K. Tryon, the eldest son of George W. Tryon, was admitted to partnership, and the firm was announced as “Manufacturers, Importers and General Dealers in Fire Arms, etc."

While various styles of shot guns and pistols were continuously made, the principal arm produced was the famous "Kentucky Model" Rifle (see page 22). This long barrel, slender, small bore rifle, was the result of a gradual development all through Colonial times, which produced a distinctive type about 1760, when such sturdy pioneers as Boone, Clark and Morgan, became famous for courageous deeds and skillful marksmanship.

Pennsylvania gunsmiths had long been noted for the manufacture of these rifles, particularly in the town of Lancaster, and Pennsylvania backwoodsmen had become famous as accurate marksmen and good fighters.

Washington and his backwoods riflemen saved General Brad- dock's troops from total destruction at Fort Duquesne.

In his assault upon Quebec, (general Wolf placed several companies of Pennsylvania Provincials in front of his British troops, and their accurate fire completely demoralized the French, who fled before the closely- following bayonet charge of the British regulars.

All through the Revolution the tremendous losses of the British as compared with the Continental loss must he accounted for by the good marksmanship and superior arms of the Revolutionists, and this marked difference was again emphasized in 1815 ( General Jackson and his Kentucky pioneers at the battle of New Orleans.

Muzzle loading rifles of varying models were made in the Tryon shops until the demand ceased in the early 70's.

George W. Tryon & Company, 1836-1841 Tryon, Son & Company, 1836-1841

It had been the desire of George W. Tryon to separate his manufacturing interests from the general merchandise activities of h.is business and, therefore, on January 1, 1836, a new partnership was formed, consisting of George W. Tryon, Thomas Fenner and Daniel S. Beideman, under the firm name of (George W. Tryon & Company', for the purpose of conducting the general importing and sales business, the factory" being still conducted under the name of George W. Tryon. On July 18th of the same year (1836), however, this old firm of George W. Tryon was dissolved and a new partnership known as Tryon, Son & Company- was formed to continue the manufacturing plant. The partners of this company were George W. Tryon, Edward K. Tryon and James Martin. These two concerns, Tryon. Son & Company, Manufacturers; and George W. Tryon & Company, Importers and Dealers, conducted business at the same address.

In 1832 George W. Tryon had also formed a partnership with Samuel Merrick, under the firm name of Tryon, Merrick .S: Company This firm was located at No. 70 High (Market) Street and later at No. 38 Walnut Street, and conducted a general importing business of guns, watches, jewelry hosiery and fishing tackle. This enterprise proved unprofitable and was discontinued in 1838, owing to the great financial depression of these times.

Thus from 1836 to 1838 George W. Tryon was senior partner of three firms, and it is interesting to note from an inspection of the old ledgers that each one of these three firms was doing business with the other two. It is a curious tact also that during these times goods were frequently imported from Birmingham, England to Philadelphia via the Port of New Orleans. In 1837 the business world was visited by one of the most severe panics in the financial history of the country. All business suffered, and though Tryon, Merrick & Co. were forced to discontinue, the other two Tryon Companies, though suffering great losses, were enabled to weather this financial storm. The Great business depression which followed the panic of 1837 maybe well illustrated by- an extract from a letter of George W. Tryon, written a few years later.

"I presume you get to see our papers occasionally and, of course, you can get some taint conception of our currency and money affairs. "Sou, of course, are aware of the failure of the United States Bank, and also of the Girard Hank ( George W. Tryon was one of the incorporators of the CJirard Bank in 1852), and the Bank of Pennsylvania also closed its doors last week, but expect will again commence operations after a time, leaving us, with the Schuylkill Bank, four banking institutions less in our good city and the remaining ones issuing little or no paper, and doing no business."Still I have cause to be thankful that I have been able to pass through the ordeal without sacrificing my real estate."

fifteen hundred (1500) army muskets for the Republic of Texas. These muskets were undoubtedly what is known as the "model of 1841" United States musket, as the government at Washington accepted a suspended delivery after Texas had become annexed to the United States, and is evidenced by the following :

Ordnance Office, Washington, 1846. Tryon Son & Co. Gentlemen: The object of this note is to inquire whether you have manufactured the (640) muskets that remain to be delivered on your contract with the late Republic of Texas, and if so, where are they now deposited? I am, respectfully yours, G. TALCOTT, Ordnance Officer.

This “1841” musket was built by contract at a number of individual gun factories, but the government also manufactured a great number at the Harper's Ferry shops; hence, this model has been frequently called the “Harper’s Ferry rifle;" but more frequently it has been termed the Mississippi rifle, because early issued to a Mississippi regiment.

The Tryon Company built these muskets continuously for the government from 1841 to 1848. While those in collections to-day are apparently 58 calibre, vet the original model of the "41" was 54 calibre with the rifling making one turn in six feet and using a round ball ; 33 in. barrel, without bayonet (see page 24). The change in calibre to 58 is probably due to an order of the Ordnance Board approved July 5, 1855, by Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, as follows:


Many were manufactured tor the Department of Interior, and the contracts (which were held for fifteen years), were all drawn with the Commissioner of Indian affairs. The government supplied these arms principally to the Northwest tribes, Chippewa, Sioux, Winnebago, Osage and Black Feet, and nearly all shipments were commissioned to the Governor of Minnesota.

The specifications called for both flint lock and percussion lock guns of varying bore to shoot a round ball. Lengths of barrel 36 and 42 inches.

In the later contracts were some with rifled barrels which were highly ornamented. The following is an extract from the government proof requirements:

For each North West gun 200 grains Troy best rifle powder, one ball and two wads, and for each rifle 250 grains Troy best rifle powder, two balls and two wads, and none shall be received which have not undergone and successfully sustained such proof."

It is a peculiar fact that not only primitive peoples show a disposition to use obsolete styles of fire arms long after improvements have become standard, but history shows that civilized governments also have been slow to recognize marked advances in the development of arms. The Hint lock, superseding the match lock and wheel lock, was first used in France and Spain about 1615. The percussion lock (invented 1807) became popular in America about 1850, and yet we find from these old Northwest contracts that the flint lock was in demand by the North American Indians as late as 1850, and even today a few are manufactured in Europe tor the Central African native trade. More strange, however, is the fact that the British Government considered the flint lock quite good enough for the service until 1841, when the percussion lock musket was used by- one battalion in the first Chinese war, and it was onh' a year or two previously that both Germany and France converted many thousands of flint guns into percussion lock arms.

Our own Government was forced to alter thousands of flint locks into percussion locks twenty years later upon the outbreak of the Civil War.

During the past year the present Tryon Company received an injury for a Tryon muzzle loading rifle of a model manufactured fifty years ago.

Percussion (dating from 1807) was the invention of the Rev. Alexander John Forsyth, of Aberdeen shire. The first form used was a powder ignited by a punch, hence the name punch lock. Later the powder was formed into a pill, developing the pill lock.

The pill lock was never largely used, as it was supplanted by the percussion cap, which was invented in England in 1818. The Austrian Government, however, used a pill lock in the army until about 1830.

On page 24 is illustrated a pill lock made by George W. Tryon about 1825. This is a peculiar adaptation of the pill firing system applied to the old '' North's " model of flint lock repeating muzzle loading gun, which in turn was a copy of an earlier repeating arm dating from about 1780.

This specimen of Tryon pill lock was evidently a model or sample, no duplicate having been found in any- other collection.

Napoleon offered Forsyth a large sum for the invention of percussion. With true patriotism, this offer was declined, the inventor, at the same time, proffering the patent to his own government. For many y ears, however. Great Britain failed to recognize the worth of the invention. Had Forsyth accepted the offer of Napoleon, the fate of Waterloo might have been reversed, and other boundaries set tor the nations of Europe.

The firm of' George W. Tryon Company continued the general business of importing and selling fire arms, etc., and added in 1837, a fishing tackle department, which was afterwards discontinued.

The two Tryon co-partnerships expired by limitation, July, 1841, and George W. Tryon desiring to retire from active business, withdrew. Edward K. Tryon assumed all the business interests of both Tryon. Son & Company and George W. Tryon & Company, under the firm name of Edw. K. Tryon & Company. George W. Tryon retired to his country home on the historic Harrison property, where he lived until his death in 1878, devoting his time to the Insurance Company (Fire Association) of which he was President, and to the various charities in which he was deeply interested.

The financial condition of the country was still greatly depressed when Edward K. Tryon assumed control of the business, but in two years he was so far successful that the "Co." was dropped from the firm name and the business conducted personally under his name alone.

It was about this time that there was placed over the bulk show window a life-sized wooden buffalo, beautifully carved and gilded, and the Second Street establishment thereafter was familiarly known far and wide as - THE SIGN OF THE GOLDEN BUFFALO."
TRYON THE SIGN OF THE GOLDEN BUFFALO

The manufacturing plant was continued, muzzle loading rifles were made, also shot guns and the parts thereof, together with gun- smiths' tools and supplies. The general wholesale and retail business in imported and domestic arms was also continued. Contracts from the government for Mississippi rifles were fulfilled almost yearly up to 1848, and for Northwest guns to 1856 ; but during 1855 a dispute arose between the Indian Department and Edward K. Tryon and he refused to bid thereafter.

The manufacture of arms during these years was conducted upon very different principles from those adopted to-day in large manufacturing plants. Almost all the work was done by hand, and many gunsmiths manufactured a part or a complete arm in their own homes, delivering the article to the recognized gun manufacturer. This method is pursued to a very great extent at the present day in foreign countries where arms are manufactured. By the time a gun is completed at the factory, it has been assembled and reassembled many times, having gone to the little homes of the barrel maker, the stock maker, the lock maker, etc. Of course, in modern times, large factories have been erected in such arm centers as Liege, Belgium, where many arms are now produced entirely by machinery. Yet the old custom is still pursued in making thousands of shot guns and rifles. It was not until 1864 that the Tryon plant was equipped with a large modern factory known as the “new factory," for the production of all gun and pistol parts by machinery

In 1857, George W. Tryon, [r., eldest son of Edward K. Tryon, was admitted to partnership, and the "Company” was again added to the title July 1, 1858.

The General business having increased beyond the capacity of the old store on Second Street, a new store was opened in 1859, at No. 625 Market Street, in order to adequately handle the general wholesale business. The old Second Street store from this time became a branch house.

In 1859, George W. Tryon, Jr., made the first trip as traveling salesman for the house, visiting local Southern cities only The next year regular trips were established to the principal Western cities.

In 1860 the first catalogue was published. It contained few illustrations, but for those times was considered quite a work of art. Regular editions have since been published annually or semi-annual .

The doors of the new establishment had hardly been opened when the firm found itself in a very unfortunate position, owing to the unsettled times just preceding the Civil War. The large Southern trade was suddenly cut off, causing tremendous loss in volume of sales.

A search of the letter files during these years brings to light many letters addressed to Southern customers, similar to the following which serves to illustrate the immense losses which war inflicts upon the business community :

W. R. M-                                                             Feb. 20, 1861,
Dear Sir: We have yours of the 11th. There is no customer on our books to whom we would rather sell a bill of goods on time than to you, and the only trouble has been that we never could sell you as much as we wished. We have full confidence in your ability to pay under any ordinary circumstances — But who can say that any man can pay his debts six Mo. hence— if civil war once commences — (which God forbid) and we think there are just about fools enough North and South to put this country into the worst kind of trouble for some time to come— We are therefore compelled to decline making any credit bills at present. When affairs once get settled, which we try to hope may be in a short time — we will be much pleased to sell you all you want, and assure you that it goes hard with us to decline trade with one who has for so many years favored us with their custom.
 'Yours truly,  EDW. K. TRYON & COMPANY. 

Not only was the large Southern trade of the house known to the United States authorities, but also the Government had knowledge of the fact that in years past the house of Tryon had manufactured arms for South Carolina and other Southern States. These circumstances caused the Government to investigate very carefully as to the loyalty of the firm, notwithstanding the activity of its members in the Union cause. Twice the faithful manager of the old Second Street store, Theodore T. Subers, was forced to remain with his men all night in order to protect the “Sign of the Golden Buffalo" from threatened mob attack.

All the correspondence of the house was investigated by the authorities who completely exonerated the entire firm and proved their loyalty, as shown by the following copies of important documents:

Certificate of Alex. Henry, Mayor of Phila. Apr. 22, '6i. I am fully satisfied that all rumors charging E. K. Tryon & Co. with shipping muskets for southern traders are without foundation, and an unjust accusation against a loyal firm. ALEXANDER HENRY, Mayor.

Copy of a letter addressed to Wm. B. Thomas, Esq., Collector of Port of Philadelphia:

  Phila., Oct. 7, 1861. Wm. B. Thomas, Collector. 
Dear Sir: In compliance with your suggestion, I have looked over Mess. E. K. Tryon & Co.'s correspondence, and find most unmistakable evidence, not only of their loyalty, but also of their zeal in the cause of the Union. Both before and since the fall of Sumter, their correspondence evidences a careful regard for their duty as loyal citizens, and positive refusal to send (goods), weapons and ammunition to points of doubtful loyalty, or where they were likely to be used against the General Government. I have seen no evidence of disloyalty on their part, and from my business knowledge of the senior partner, I regard him as incapable of dishonorable or disloyal action. I regard him in short, as a devoted, loyal citizen, first, last and all the time. 
Yours truly, EDWARD LEWIS. 

Other interesting correspondence on file, addressed to Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, and others of the Department, illustrates the very unprepared condition of the Government at the opening of the Civil War. There were in the various arsenals throughout the North, a mixed lot of various rifles, some flint lock and some percussion.

The Government was forced to hurriedly alter these obsolete styles into arms of a more modern type. The following is a copy of one such bid for this work: 11 Philadelphia, Aug. o, 1861.

Henry C. Davis, Esq. Dear Sir: 
We have this day forwarded a sample of the U. S. Musket altered by us, and send you the Express Co.'s receipt herewith. We have altered this flint lock to percussion by putting on a good forged iron hammer, and instead of putting a tube on the top of the barrel, or a plug in the side of It, both of which methods are imperfect and dangerous, & have been justly condemned; we have put in a patent breach which is certainly stronger & better than the ordinary breech that is used in the U S or Enfield Rifles, as any man who is used to handling guns, well knows. We have also rifled the barrel so as to make it suit- able for a Minnie ball, and placed on it a superior sight. The Government has a very large quantity of muskets either Flint or altered to percussion with a tube on the top of the barrel, and which they are not using on that account. These guns by the above alteration can be made serviceable in a very short time, while to make new guns will cost a large sum and also it is impossible to manufacture or import them in time to meet the requirements of the department. We propose to alter any quantity of these guns, 5000 or over in number, hut our arrangements are such that if we have 10,000 as a minimum we can work to better advantage to ourselves and to the government. We will alter the guns like sample, at ^5.00 each, cash, or U. S. Treasury Notes to be paid upon the completion of each 1000 guns & will do any slight repairing or cleaning that may be required to put the locks in good working order, without extra charge. We will also inspect the muskets as they arrive, & will not alter any except those that are otherwise in good order. We are capable of doing this work correctly & with the utmost dispatch, having abundance of Capital & business knowledge to do so. We have conducted the Gun business since the year 181 1, have made thousands of Guns for the U. S. & other Governments, & if we alter these guns, we feel assured that they will give perfect satisfaction.

Yours respectfully, E. K. TRYON & CO.

Having; been in ill health for a number of years, Edward K. Tryon had moved to his country home in Pittville, near Philadelphia. Therefore, on January 1, 1863, he decided to retire from business and

enjoy his favorite pastime of horticulture. So a new co-partnership was formed between his two sons, George W. Tryon, Jr., and Edward K. Tryon, Jr., the latter having returned from a short service in the army. This new firm was styled

Tryon & Brother, 1863-1866

The new firm continued business at No. 625 Market Street, and also continued the old Second Street store as a branch. Determining to embark upon a modern manufacturing enterprise, the whole original plot of ground between the Second Street store and the old factory in the rear, which had been used tor a flower garden by Edward K. Tryon, was now built solidly into one large factory (1864) and thoroughly equipped with machinery for the manufacture of modern shot guns, revolvers, and the various component parts, including rifle barrels ; also the old established line of muzzle-load- mg rifles was continued (see page 28), large numbers of which were stamped with the customers' names.

Contracts were made under the Rupertus patents with the patentee, for the manufacture under his direction of a modern revolver, and additional shops for this purpose were equipped and operated at Nos. 120-122 North Sixth Street (1864 and 1865.) This revolver as originally planned, was eight shot with a short revolving cylinder, which, when completed, was claimed by the then young firm of Smith & Wesson, to be an infringement upon then" controlled patent of a "cylinder bored through, and loaded from the rear." The model was therefore changed to the pepper-box pattern (see page 20) which sold readily for a number of years, but which could not long compete with the modern short cylinder, and was therefore dis- continued.

There were also manufactured during 1865 and 1866, at the Second Street plant, on shop-lease contract, a single barrel and double barrel breech-loading cartridge pistol, and several styles of muzzle-loading powder and ball pistols (see page 26).

This contract specified tor a total of seven thousand pistols, and like the pepper-box revolver, they were sold under the name of "Rupertus Patent Pistol Mfg. Co.," Tryon and Brother, Sole Agents.

A complete line of gunsmiths' tools were also made. The following is an extract from a recent letter received from one of the oldest customers of the house:

"I am now in my seventy-fourth year and I remember the first catalog received from your house. It was known and criticized by competitors as the 'Tryon Bible.' From it I made my first catalog of gun smiths' supplies — materials, tools etc.  our firm made for me the first rifling machine, which we used for over forty years and we still make occasional use of it."

Tryon Bros. & Co., Storefront 1866-1868On January 1, 1866, there were admitted to the Firm three new partners, Christopher N. Geuther, Daniel K. Subers (both of whom had been employees), and Edward B. Mears, who after returning from his army service, had become associated in the business a very short time previously The firm name was changed to

Tryon Bros. & Co., 1866-1868

The various branches of the business were continued at the same locations and under the same firm name until January, 1868. On this date. George W. Tryon, Jr., retired from business, devoting his life thereafter to scientific research at the Academy- of Natural Sciences, and to the publication of his works upon Conchology and Music. A new firm, composed of Edward K. Tryon, Jr., Christopher N. Geuther and Edward B. Mears, was formed under the name of

Edw. K. Tryon, Jr. & Co., 1868-1905

During the first year under the management of the new^ firm, the business was moved from No. 625 Market Street to the new store No. 19 North Sixth Street. The factory on Second Street was continued in full force for a few years, and then conditions proving unsatisfactory the entire plant was closed down (1872) and has never been reopened as an arms manufacturing plant. The old store, however, under the " Sign of the failure of the "new" factory almost occasioned the complete collapse of the entire business, and for a number of years success or failure, trembled in the balance. However, the new firm was composed of young men with plenty of pluck and untiring energy All efforts were devoted to the "jobbing" or wholesale distribution of fire arms of every- standard American make, and the principal foreign makes. A regular force of traveling representatives was placed upon the road, and the Western trade was developed. Under this changed policy the business began to grow and prosper.
Tryon Store at No 19 and 21 North 6th Street 1881 Phila.

In 1878 was added a new store No. 527 Commerce Street. In 1881 the adjoining building;. No. 21 North Sixth Street, was occupied, doubling the capacity. In 1886 the entire stock was moved across the street to Nos. 10 and 12 North Sixth Street, and in 1903 the building No. 611 Market Street was annexed, forming the L shaped premises now occupied. During these years a well- trained and experienced house force was also developed and thoroughly organized.


No. 611 Market Street Edw. K. Tryon, Jr. & Co., 1868-1905On January 1, 1878, Samuel K. Riddle was admitted to partnership. January 1, 1890, Evan (7. Chandlee was admitted to partnership, and became Merchandise Manager. Mr. Chandlee had for many years represented the house through the Middle-west and Northwest, and he established the close and intimate relations with the trade of this section, which the house still enjoys.

Charles Z. Tryon, son of Edward K. Tryon, Jr., was admitted to partnership January i, 1892.

During these years of jobbing or whole- sale effort, a complete Athletic and Bicycle Department was added, also a complete Fishing Tackle Department.

In 1890 the Retail Department, which had never been given any great attention, was placed upon a comprehensive basis, and immediately assumed a position of great importance. The policy of protecting the dealer has never been changed, and the greatest care is exercised in limiting the retail business to the city of Philadelphia.

Gold Medal Awarded for Excellence (Fishing Tackle) to Edw. K. Tryon, Jr., & Co., St. Louis Exposition, 1904.

In the meantime the firm had suffered by the death of Samuel E. Riddle and Christopher N, Geuther, and on September 19, 1904, was called upon to mourn the loss of Edward K. Tryon, Jr.

From the time he assumed control, Edward K. Tryon, Jr., was the mainspring of the business, and its present success, now in 1911, is largely due to the foundation laid by- him and his associates. The losses sustained by the unfortunate manufacturing plant of Tryon & Bro. retarded his advancement considerably, but success finally rewarded his ceaseless efforts.

With the admittance of the junior partners, Edward K. Tryon, Jr., was relieved of many of the burdens of business, and he devoted much of his time during the last ten years of his life to the various charitable and public organizations of which he was a director. The financial management of the business, however, he never relinquished.

Owing to the death of Edward K. Tryon, Jr., in the fall of 1904, the co-partnership of Edw. K. Tryon, Jr. & Co. was dissolved on January 1, 1905, and the entire stock and fixtures were purchased by a new corporation,

Edw. K. Tryon Company Incorporated December 27, 1904

The following directors and officers were elected, and still hold office: Charles Z. Tryon, President; Edward B. Mears, Vice- President; Evan G. Chandlee, Secretary and Treasurer.

During the six y ears intervening between the date of incorporation and the present time, the business has been developed along all lines and in every direction. The traveling force now calls upon the trade from Maine to Texas, and the thousands of catalogs issued in each department find their way into every State in the Union, and into Canada and Mexico,

Edw. K Tryon 12 N. 6th Street Phila. Penn.The total amount of arms manufactured by all the gunsmiths of Philadelphia in the year 1811 amounted to $74,250.00. The present Tryon Company sells more than this amount each year of one make of revolver alone, and has sold in dollars more bicycles in a season than any total year's business of the house previous to 1860.

The American people have been slow to recognize the value of out-door recreation, but the last fifteen years have developed such a marked taste for the "open" that the various lines of Sporting Goods have multiplied with great rapidity.

No articles of merchandise are so varied or so specialized as those goods which are produced for the pleasure of the people. New styles and new models must be continually designed. Expert knowledge upon the part of principles and subordinates being more and more necessary, the present Tryon Company have, therefore, become "specialists" in the various lines of goods now marketed, and the well-established trade- marks now placed upon the products of this Company, represent the most advanced thought in perfected merchandise of this class (see page 46).

No one factory can now manufacture a complete line all through the various departments of Bicycles, Fishing Tackle, Base Ball and Tennis Goods, Golf, Fire Arms, Cutlery, Canoes, etc., therefore the standard trade-marked articles now sold, while frequently designed by Edw. K. Tryon Company, are made at the individual factories in Europe and America making each special line.

The Edw. K. Tryon Company of Philadelphia Store Brands

Times and methods change; success results only from constant effort; old fashioned notions of conducting business must give way to Twentieth Century ideas; but the great principles of business ethics are eternal and by these principles, adopted years ago at the "Sign of the Golden Buffalo," the present corporation still seeks to guide its activities through the busy world of today.

One Hundredth Anniversary Celebration

The week of January 2nd to 7th, 1911, was set apart as "Anniversary Week," and the founding of the “Tryon " business was fittingly celebrated by an exceptional exhibit of rare old arms, loaned from various private collections.

This exhibition, which attracted visitors from far beyond the limits of Philadelphia, included many beautiful specimens of pistols, rifles and shot guns. Some were of historic interest, some of great value, some the product of the old Tryon shops. All were excellent examples of the arms makers' art.

The warerooms and buildings were appropriately decorated with American flags 47 and the colors of the city- of Philadelphia. During the entire week the officers of the Company personally greeted the many- customers, guests, and friends who called to offer their congratulations.



Edited from public domain source for internet publication by Anthony Cox for "AmmoandGunCollector.com"

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