History Of D.M Lefever

History Of Daniel Myron Lefever

1835 Daniel Myron Lefever born in Hopewell NY to David and Grata Lefever.

1838 Death of Daniel's father David.

1850 Daniel is living with mother Grata who married David's brother Christian in Senaca NY.

1851-1852 Sometime during this time Daniel left home to go to Canandaigua, NY to become apprenticed to John Cutler, who was a gunmaker. Contrary to many reports, there is no evidence to support Daniel's claim in later years that he was apprenticed to the famed William Billingshurst in Rochester, NY.

1857 D. M. Lefever establishes himself as an independent gummaker in Canandaigua, NY and marries Sarah Stead (to whom he was married until she died in 1897). Primarily making and repairing muzzle loading rifles.

1861 D.M. Lefever joins with James Ellis, another local gunmaker to form Lefever and Ellis in Canandaigua NY. They continue making muzzle loading rifles. They made rifles for the New York State Sharpshooters used in the Civil War.

1867 D.M. Lefever splits with Ellis and goes on to run a "grocery store". Grocery stores at the time sold primarily liquor, not food. Ellis continues in the gun business for himself which eventually evolves into a hardware store.

1869 D.M. Lefever moves to Auburn NY and establishes himself as a gunmaker. He began working on breech loading rifles and shotguns.

1872. D.M. Lefever joins with Francis Dangerfield of Auburn NY to form F.S. Dangerfield and Co. Dangerfield is listed as a machinist both before and after his partnership with Lefever. Guns made by them were stamped Dangerfield and Lefever. A patent was filed in Dangerfield's name for a breechloading shotgun. The patent is assigned to Dangerfield and Lefever, but was subsequently known as Lefever's patent.

1874 D. M. Lefever moves to Syracuse NY and joins with Lorenzo Barber, a local shooter, businessman, and Civil War veteran, to form L. Barber & Co. They made breech loading shotguns and rifles and also converted muzzleloaders to breechloaders all stamped with Barber and Lefever.

1876 John Nichols, another local shooter and business man, buys out Barber and forms Nichols and Lefever. They continue to make breechloading rifles and shotguns. In the meantime D.M. Lefever is working on a hammerless system involving a lever on the side to cock the firing pins after the breech is closed. In 1878 a Nichols and Lefever breechloading shotgun was awarded First Prize for the best breechloading shotgun in America at the St. Louis Bench show and Sportsman's Association.

1879 Nichols and Lefever split. Nichols along with N&L superintendent J.W. Livingston continue to make guns from leftover N&L parts for another years or so. D.M. Lefever sets himself up as D.M. Lefever and concentrates on hammerless, cocking lever guns to separate himself from Nichols who made hammer guns.

1880 D. M. Lefever patents a hamerless breechloading shotgun cocked by a lever mounted through the sideplate. This is the first commercially successful hammerless shotgun manufactured in the U.S.

1883 The first truly automatic hammerless gun is introduced. This is based on internal cocking rods which engage the firing pins on closure of the breech. As was typical of Lefever both the cocking lever and the internal cocking rod systems were made side by side for a few years.

1884 D.M Lefever loses control of his company probably due to losses in a fire in 1883. A. Ames Howlett takes over as president and D.M. Lefever remains as superintendent. The company is named The Lefever Arms Co. 

1901 D.M. Lefever leaves the Lefever Arms Co. and along with sons George, Charles F. (Fred), and Frank established D.M. Lefever & Sons. in Syracuse, NY. They produce an entirely different shotgun, a boxlock, crossbolt design created by D. M Lefever. The Lefever Arms Co. continues producing the D.M Lefever designed sideplate shotguns until 1916 when they sold out to Ithaca Gun Co. Ithaca continued to produce Lefever Arms Co. guns using left-over stock until about 1921.

1904 D.M. Lefever leaves Syracuse for Defiance, Ohio and continues making the crossbolt guns under the name D.M. Lefever Arms Co.

1905 D.M. Lefever moves to Bowling Green, Ohio and continues to make the crossbolt guns

1906 D.M. Lefever returns to Syracuse, NY. However, before being able to re-establish a viable business he died on Oct. 29 of a stomach ulcer.

A link to Lefever family information: