Saturday, March 12, 2011

Castle Doctrine, with a Norwegian accent

(Like most KintlaLake Blog readers, I'll wager, over the past two days I've been absorbing the gut-wrenching news coming out of Japan. I'll offer my observations in a future post -- tragic as it is, we can learn much from it.)

Norwegian immigrant Iver Johnson's company made bicycles, motorcycles and, for exactly 100 years of its operation, firearms. Founded in 1871, the enterprise folded in 1993.

I recall that my maternal grandfather owned (and at one time carried) an Iver Johnson revolver -- a .38, I think. The Massachusetts company's products also hold a place of infamy in American history -- in 1901, President William McKinley was felled by a round fired from an Iver Johnson revolver. So was presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

A couple of weeks ago I ran across an old
ad for Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works. It stuck with me not because of the "Safety Automatic" Revolver it promoted (I'm not really a wheelgun guy), but for the way it threw the pitch. To wit:

"'For years I have carried insurance on my life and home and jollied myself into thinking that this was all the protection a husband and father could throw around his family.

"'Last night a burglar broke into my neighbor's house. IF Reynolds had only had a revolver he --

"'That was enough for me! No temporizing with burglars in my home. I'm for real protection. I'll take this revolver I have in my hand, Mr. Clerk.'

"Are you ready -- when the time comes -- to do your duty by your burglar? Will you master him or will he master you? Will you give your family protection that is one jot short of real, full, complete protection?"

Home defense is nothing new, of course. And while it might be unusual for today's well-armed American to defend his or her castle with a five-shot .32 or an eight-shot .22, the mindset behind that Iver Johnson ad is as relevant now as it was in 1917.

* * *
I'll cap this post with one more 1917
ad, a two-page spread pushing Remington's rimfire rifles and ammunition.