The first Double Barrel Nitro Lefever (16 Gauge) was made in 1921, Serial number started with 100,000. The last Nitro Lefever was madee in 1947, Serial Number 361,199. I have a Niotro Lefever Serial Number 339,290 that was manufactured in 1937. Original price was $29, currently worth approximately $500.
The original Lefever Arms Co. was located in Syracuse, NY.Lefever Arms began as an 1861 partnership between DM Lefever and James Ellis, and was named Lefever and Ellis. The Canandaigua, NY manufacturer primarily made muzzle-loading rifles, including the ones used by the New York State Sharpshooters during the Civil War.Ellis left the business in 1867, but Lefever continued to run the company until he moved to Auburn, NY in 1869, where he established himself as an independent gun maker.In 1871 or 1872, he joined with Francis Dangerfield to found F.S. Dangerfield and Co., in Auburn. Guns from this manufacture were stamped Dangerfield and Lefever, and were based on a breech-loading patent originally filed under Dangerfield's name. This later became known as the "Lefever Patent."DM Lefever moved to Syracuse, NY in 1874 and partnered with Lorenzo Barber to form L. Barber & Co., which manufactured breech-loading shotguns and rifles. These were stamped "Barber and Lefever."In 1876, John Nichols bought out Lorenzo Barber's share of the company, and the two men changed the name to Nichols & Lefever. While the partnership was short-lived, it was productive. Lefever invented a hammerless system with a side lever that cocked the firing pins, incorporated it into his breach-loading shotgun, won first prize for the best breech-loading shotgun in America at the St. Louis Bench show and Sportsman's Association in 1878.Nichols left the company in 1879, but Lefever and his new partner, JW Livingston continued to run the Syracuse factory under the name Nichols & Lefever until the building burned in 1883.Lefever lost controlling interest in the company due to the losses sustained in the fire. A. Ames Howlett took over as President of the rebuilt Syracuse factory, and renamed it The Lefever Arms Co. in 1884.DM Lefever left the company bearing his name in 1901, and begins manufacturing side-bolt shotguns under the name DM Lefever Arms Co. He relocated from Syracuse, NY to Defiance, Ohio in 1904.Meanwhile, the Lefever Arms Co. continued making guns under Lefever's name and patents. Lefever Arms was sold to the Ithaca Gun Company (of Ithaca, NY) in 1916. The Syracuse factory was abandoned after the sale, but Ithaca continued offering the Lefever brand until the original inventory was exhausted in 1921.Ithaca manufactured the double-barrel Lefever Nitro Special from 1921 until 1935, and the Lefever A Grade from 1934 until 1947.
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