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Although the name Winchester is known worldwide and is still used generically for its rifles and shotguns, a comprehensive history of the company has never been published. Herbert G. Houze, the former curator of the Winchester Arms Museum, has written a complete account of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company's development from the founding of its predecessor, the New Haven Arms Company in 1856, to the sale of the firm by Olin Corporation in 1981.
Using corporate records and other sources that have come to light during the last decade, Houze reconstructs many aspects of the Winchester Company's history unknown to previous researchers. As a result, a new and far more complete picture of the firm's complex development is presented. Many commonly held beliefs about Winchester's growth and operations, such as the orderly corporate succession from the New Haven Arms Company to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company or the reasons for its financial collapse in 1930, are dispelled. In addition, seven new models of Winchester firearms are identified and fully described. Houze also sheds new light on the development of more familiar models and the men who designed them. The entire spectrum of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company's history, its successes, as well as its failures, is presented here for the first time.