Shot shell shipment

Received from Jim Buchanan an old Peters ad from the 1910 Arms and the Man of a locomotive and 21 carloads of shotshells Peters had shipped “to a customer”. That is goodly amount of waterfowl and broken targets. The freight cars had Peters banners covering the whole side of the cars. Has any researcher out there ever seen who that shipment went to?

My guess would be to a major distributor of the time, someone such as Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., a large Chicago-based wholesale hardware distributor which handled Peters ammunition exclusively.

Thanks Dennis, Have never heard Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlet was an exclusive Peters jobber. Was there a lot of Skeet/Trap shoots in Il at that time?

I have no idea about shoots in IL. But HSB distributed hardware products nationwide, I think mainly to locally-owned hardware stores which were much more common in the days before Home Depot and Lowe’s. I have seen claims that HSB was the largest such operation in the country at the time. The current True Value national hardware store chain is somehow related to HSB. There were other similar large hardware distribution organizations, such as Belknap Hardware in Louisville KY. I have a 1914 HSB catalog that devotes about 14 pages to listing Peters ammunition only, and no other ammunition brands. They make flowery statements to the effect that because Peters is the best ammunition made, they supply only Peters to their customers. Multiple pages of the catalog describe only shotshell loadings, and were there ever a lot of them in those days. They also distributed an extensive line of guns of all types from all manufacturers, and even house branded guns under the name “Rev-O-Noc.”

[quote=“Gourd”] Was there a lot of Skeet/Trap shoots in Il at that time?

There would have been no skeet shooting, that was not invented until the late 1920s when it was called clock shooting. It did not become an Olympic sport until 1968. Trap shooting is much older but was the province of only the very rich and not in any way a common or popular pastime.
The clay pigeon as we know it today only dates from 1927 when it was invented by a french man Emile Laporte (I hope I spelt that correctly) but the invention kick started the idea that shotgun shooting could be a sport if you could afford it. Before that they either shot live birds released from cages (hence ‘trap’) or glass balls that were both expensive and rather limited in their application because they could only be lobbed in the air.

In 1910 the amount of shotgun cartridges expended on purely recreational shooting would have been miniscule.

Hunting as a pastime was enjoyable and could be regarded as recreational but the final intention was always to put food on the tablet.

Trap/skeet shooting for the masses did not really take off in any big way until after WW2 and even then the growth was slow at first but as it took hold it increased in demand for cartridges considerably, and that, coupled with developments that facilitated much more economical production like plastic cases and wads, brought it into the price range of the average man.

In the US trapshooting has been a popular sport since the late 1800’s -early 1900’s and not just for the wealthy. The days of the live bird shooting and glass ball shoots were certainly more of the pastime of the more well to do. But by 1900 the clay pigeon had changed all that and every small town had a trap club. The clay pigeon has been around since the mid 1880’s. George Ligowsky from Ohio designed the first clay pigeons. They were baked clay and were extremely hard and difficult to break. They ring like a bell. I have several in my collection. By 1885 he had found that a mixture of limestone and pitch worked much better and the target is much the same today. He also invented a trap to throw them. The Ligowsky target and trap made their debut in 1880 at the New York State Championship.
Emile LaPorte developed the first successful trap for throwing these targets in 1927. Automatic traps are still made bearing his name. The ATA (originally the American Trap Shooting Assoc. then Amateur Trap Shooting Assoc.) was formed mostly by everyday working folks. The first Grand American Trap shoot was held in 1900. There were thousands of trap fields all across the country. Remington’s Lordship Gun Club had it’s flagship gun club in Stratford, CT. Originally a Trap club then in 1927 becoming primarily a skeet shooting mecca. Remington’s Ilion Gun Club (now privately owned and open to the public) is still in operation and on the site of the Remington family property overlooking Ilion, NY. Shot there last week. Most of the major cities hosted major trap shoots open to all competitors. Mid-west cities were the primary centers of the big shoots. The number of recreational shooters in the US was not typical of the rest of the world. A lot of factory loaded and handloaded shells were fired in the quest for the perfect score in this country. While this load of cartridges may have been a mix of sport and market hunting and target loads I would bet the majority were target loads. Gun ownership in this country fortunately has allowed the average working man the opportunity to engage in the shooting sports on a wide scale. I was a wholesaler of firearms and ammuniton and while I was in business in early 70’s to '98, More than than 70% of my shotshell sales to dealers was target ammo. The people I bought the wholesale business from had been in business since 1896 (retail business still in operation). They had been suppliers of shotshells to gun clubs in NYS since the early 1900’s. When I think of the ‘stuff’ I threw out when I acquired the wholesale end of the business it makes me shudder. The old warehouse was full of old shotshell crates and boxes, outdated loading components and ammunition etc.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I would be surprised if the majority of the contents of this train were not target loads. After all, the success on the trap fields was promotion for their product.

A color plate from the 1914 HSB catalog. Those may be trap competitions mentioned at the bottom, but they could be something else.

One of 5 pages of Peters shotshell listings from the same HSB catalog.

It’s sort of scary to note that the 1914 shotshell wholesale prices (about a nickel each) was not that much different from the price of components to load a 12 gauge shell about 25 years ago. Back then, I was loading a LOT of shells for skeet, and I remember that my component cost per box was around $1.50 at the time.

Very nice plate Dennis.
Trap shooting was very popular in the US back then and there was big money to be made in it for arms and ammo dealers. The four events shown at the bottom are major trap shooting events and ammo dealers often urged the best candidates to use their ammo. Many of the shooters were factory supported. Being able to claim your shotgun shell won any of these major events or were preferred by Shooter X was a big deal and still is today. There is a catagory of shell collecting for items with shooter’s names and/or specific events on them.