Thompson Submachine Gun Adverts Pt. 2
The first two adverts are taken from the pages of an Auto-Ordnance product catalogue. The first shows an M1928A and a M1928AC - fitted with a Cutts Compensator, for an extra $25. The M1928A was adopted by the US Military during the 1930s, and as part of the Military’s contract they requested a slowed cyclic rate. To achieve this Thompson added weight to the weapon’s actuator and bolt. This was subsequently marketed as the model “used by the United States Army and United States Navy”.
The second image, taken from an earlier catalogue, shows a selection of three Thompsons; the M1928A, M1928AC (with Cutts Compensator) both with the instantly recognisable pistol foregrip and a second M1928AC - complete with compensator and horizontal foregrip.
The third image is a print advert proper, featuring a soldier in a brodie helmet firing from a knelt position. With the heading reading “shoots the modern way”, the ad focuses on the Thompson’s operation and rapid fire ability. The illustration of the soldier was intended to catch the reader’s eye and lend the credibility of a weapon used by the military.
The fourth and fifth adverts both have illustrations of police officers wielding the Thompson. These adverts are a concerted effort to align the Thompson with the right side of the law. By the late 1920s and early 1930s the Thompson had been hijacked by the publicity surrounding prominent gangsters who used them. The fourth ad goes so far as to describe the Tommy Gun as the gun of law and order - the sure defence against “organised bandits and criminals” and boasting that police departments in over fifty cities have adopted the Thompson.
The fifth advert from E.E. Richardson - a Thompson distributor for the states of Ohio and Michigan, among others, is heavy on snappy slogans such as “There’s no getaway from a Thompson" and "the gun the bandits fear most." The advertisement bullet points the Thompson’s positives, noting its ease to shoot describing how any man on the force who can shoot a pistol can fire a Thompson. As well as describing it as both safe to handle and controllably safe to shoot in built up areas.
Despite their best efforts Thompson and Auto-Ordnance were facing bankruptcy by the late 1930s, dozens of adverts, relaunched models and catalogues could not drum up enough business to keep the company afloat. The prominence brought by the Depression-era crime wave was double-edged and while it saw increased sales to law enforcement agencies the ‘gangster gun’ tag that attached itself to the weapon was far from desirable in Thompson’s eyes and could only prohibit serious interest from the military. Eventually, it was the threat of war that ultimately prevented Thompson from slipping into bankruptcy and an early peak in prominence as a gangster gun during the 1930s.
Click here for Thompson Submachine Gun Adverts Part One
Image One Source
Image Two Source
Image Three & Four Source
Image Five Source