Autry Museum of the American West

Model 1903 New Army and Navy Revolver

right side

right side

1903; serial number 201070
Owner: inventor John T. Thompson
Manufacturer: Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company
Engraver: Cuno A. Helfricht

John T. Thompson rose to the rank of brigadier general in the United States Army, but he is best known as the inventor of the Thompson Submachine Gun. Thompson formed the Auto-Ordnance Corporation in 1916 in hopes of developing a new type of machine gun. Thompson initially called his weapon a trench broom, but it was later officially named the Thompson Submachine Gun. Tests of the gun were positive, and a manufacturing contract was signed with the Colt company in the late 1920s. Although the gun was intended for police and military use, it gained notoriety in the hands of Prohibition-Era gangsters. Dismayed by the negative publicity, Colt discontinued association with the gun, but its use by Allied militaries during World War II redeemed the gun’s reputation. Prior to his invention, Thompson was awarded this revolver for a government competitive prize.

  • left side

    left side
  • cylinder detail

    cylinder detail


Jeffrey Richardson

Web Development

Gary Cannone

Electronic Cataloging and Imaging

Marilyn Kim, Vlasta Radan, Carmel France, Rebecca Menendez, David Benitez, Susan Eisenstein


Marlene Head

Special Thanks

Greg Martin, R. L. Wilson

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