Copyright by Douglas W. Richardson                  


Founded on August 25,1916 by John T. Thompson (Colonel, U.S. Army retired), John Blish (Commander, U.S. Navy retired), Thomas Ryan (financier) and others, the Auto-Ordnance Corporation (AOC) set forth on a program to develop a light automatic gun. After giving up on their efforts to design a semi-automatic rifle, they turned to the development of a light machine gun. That effort continued until 1920 when a series of prototypes evolved into the production Model of 1919 Thompson Submachine Gun (TSMG). This model was manufactured by AOC, although probably less than ten were actually made and they varied from one another.

On August 18,1920, AOC contracted with the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Co. to manufacture 15,000 TSMGs. The Model of 1919 design was immediately modified to become the Model of 1921 TSMG which was the model manufactured by Colt. The following models 1922, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1928 Navy and 1928A1(Colt) were all made by modifying guns from the original Colt Model of 1921 production.

By 1939, most of the founders of AOC had died and the company had been essentially a business failure with many of the guns from the Colt production remaining unsold. In July of 1939, Russell Maguire purchased AOC. He contracted with the Savage Arms Co. to put the TSMG back into production in order to fill foreign military orders prompted by the beginnings of World War 2.

The Colt machinery and tooling were moved to Savage.  Production was begun of the Model of 1928 which went primarily to the British.  A few of the guns were fitted with Colt 1921 parts, retro-stamped “1921" and sold commercially. Savage also made a prototype aluminum version which failed to win favor, so very few of those were made. Production of the Model of 1928 was terminated when the U.S. entered the war and production of the U.S. Army Model of 1928A1 began. Even though Savage made the guns, they were all marked only “Auto-Ordnance Corporation”.

AOC also began production of the 1928A1 in their own newly acquired factory in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1941.

The 1928A1 gun was repeatedly simplified until 1942 when it went through a major redesign which created the Model M1 and then the M1A1guns.

In 1944, AOC became Maguire Industries and so lost its corporate identity. The Thompson business became known as the “Auto-Ordnance Division of Maguire Industries”.

The patents that had protected the 1919 through 1928A1 Thompson guns had expired. No patents were obtained for the M1 and M1A1 models as these guns were developed under Government contract. Thompson trademarks were abandoned as were all vestiges of the AOC identity.  Contrary to claims by some writers and others, Maguire never sold the Auto-Ordnance Corporation or the Auto-Ordnance Division to anyone.  Actually, there was nothing really to sell other than the remnants of the manufacturing facility.

No true Thompson gun was made after production of the M1A1 gun ceased in 1944.  But that has not stopped many people from assembling guns from left over parts or manufacturing guns that, to varying degrees, are reproductions of the Thompsons. Many are marked “Thompson”. Some are sold deceptively under the “Auto-Ordnance” name. Some of the fakes have fooled the “experts” into believing they have discovered “rare” models. The Thompson name, trademarks, letterheads and logos are freely reproduced. To some, this is a tribute to the legacy of Thompson. To others, it is a method of defrauding unwitting buyers.





The Auto-Ordnance Corporation, which was the inventor, designer, developer, and manufacturer of the world famous Thompson Submachine Gun, was first registered in New York by Colonel John T. Thompson and others as the “Auto Ordnance Corporation”, without a hyphen between “Auto and “Ordnance”, on August 25, 1916.

On October 7, 1916, the name was changed to the “Auto-Ordnance Corporation” with a hyphen between “Auto” and “Ordnance”.

A holding company formed by Russell Maguire called “Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation” was registered as a Delaware corporation on March 3, 1939 for the purpose of providing a vehicle to facilitate the purchase of the Auto-Ordnance Corporation from the Thompson and Ryan estates and other stockholders.

New York State granted authority for the Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation to do business in New York on May 15, 1939.

The Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation was granted authority to conduct business in Connecticut on April 4, 1940.

Auto-Ordnance Corporation was registered to conduct business in Connecticut on July 3, 1940.

On May 29, 1941, Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation surrendered its authority to do business in New York.

Auto-Ordnance Corporation was consolidated with Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation in New York on October 10, 1941, resulting in the Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation ceasing to exist.

Notice was filed with Connecticut on December 5, 1941 advising of the consolidation of Auto-Ordnance Corporation and Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation and the termination of Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation.

On March 17, 1942, a certificate of withdrawal from doing business in Connecticut was filed by Thompson Automatic Arms Corporation.

On March 15, 1944, a certificate of name change was filed in New York changing the Auto-Ordnance Corporation name to “Maguire Industries, Incorporated”.  Auto-Ordnance became known as the Auto-Ordnance Division of Maguire Industries, although gun production was terminated as World War II ended.  No Thompson guns were made after 1944.

A certificate of name change was filed in Connecticut on March 22, 1944 documenting the name change from Auto-Ordnance Corporation to “Maguire Industries, Inc.”

For failure to provide yearly corporate reports for the years 1949 and 1950, Connecticut terminated Maguire Industries, Inc. right to do business in that state on December 14, 1950.

Maguire Industries, Inc. changed their name to Components Corporation of America and registered the change with New York on March 14, 1961.

On December 31, 1981, Components Corporation of America was merged with CCA Holding, Inc. with CCA Holding surviving and then renamed itself Components Corporation of America.

The name “Auto-Ordnance Corporation”, which had been abandoned in 1944, was re-registered in New York on June 14, 1974 by Numrich Arms Corp. of West Hurley, New York.  The new “Auto-Ordnance Corp.” had no connection with nor was it a successor in interest to the original Auto-Ordnance Corporation of Thompson, Ryan, Maguire, and “Tommy Gun” fame although its literature, catalogs, trademarks, and “Thompson” gun patterned to look like the original Thompson fools consumers into believing otherwise.  Kahr Arms purchased the new “Auto-Ordnance Corp.” from Numrich Arms in 1998, apparently believing that they were actually buying the original Auto-Ordnance Corp., not the one created by Numrich Arms.





Auto Ordnance Corporation
501 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
501 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
Suite 805 Vincent Building
302 Broadway
New York, New York

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
Box 675
Hartford, Connecticut

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
56 Pine Street
New York, New York

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
56 Nassau Street
New York, New York

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
270 Broadway
New York, New York

Auto-Ordnance Corporation
1437 Railroad Avenue
Bridgeport, Connecticut





   Due to the failure of the Auto-Ordnance Corporation to successfully market the Thompson gun prior to World War 2, the Model of 1921 gun was continuously reconfigured and reinvented in the hope that each new model would generate sales. As a result, referring to the various models may be somewhat of a fantasy. For example, there is no evidence that more than one of the 1923 Extra Heavy Barrel and Light Barrel models were made and there is no evidence that they were ever sold or exist today. The 1922 Light Barrel and the Model of 1935 may have never gotten beyond the drawing stage. All the others listed, including the Model of 1922, the  are known to have been made and sold and are known to exist today. The 1928A1s shown as “early” and “late” are really only wartime variations of the same gun resulting from cost cutting.

                                                        PRE-WW2 PRODUCTION

                                                        Auto-Ordnance Made
                                                        Model of 1919 (Production)

                                                        Colt Made
                                                        Model of 1921 (Colt)
                                                        Model of 1922 Heavy Barrel
                                                        Model of 1922 Light Barrel
                                                        Model of 1923 Extra Heavy Barrel
                                                        Model of 1923 Light Barrel
                                                        Model of 1927 Semi-Automatic Carbine
                                                        Model of 1928 (Colt)
                                                        U.S. Navy Model of 1928
                                                        U.S. Model of 1928A1 (Colt)
                                                        World War 2 Production

                                                        Savage Made
                                                        Model of 1928 (Savage)
                                                        Model of 1921 (Savage)
                                                        Model of 1928 Aluminum

                                                        Savage and Auto-Ordnance Made
                                                        Model of 1928A1(early)
                                                        Model of 1928A1(late)
                                                        Model M1
                                                        Model M1A1