Columbian Air Rifle History
Columbian Air Rifle History.
The Blue Book of Airguns says:
"This line of airguns began in 1892 with the Bailey BB guns produced by previous manufacturer E.E. Bailey Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia, PA. The Bailey Company was not successful and only about a dozen Bailey specimens are known today.
In 1893 a partnership of Elmer E. Bailey and William G. Smith began to produce airguns under the Columbian trademark. Upon Bailey's death in 1898, the partnership reverted to William Smith.
Smith's company was taken over by William Heilprin in 1907 and continued producing airguns until the early 1920s. The airguns of these makers are often referred to as Heilprin airguns, but Heilprin was not involved with most of the Columbian models or most of their production.
He produced only the last model of the elite cast iron models and then shifted into sheet medal models- most of those rather quickly expired. The break-open Models L and S, based on Heilprin's patents, were not successful; only a handful of specimens are known today.
Bailey's famous second patent, #507470, issued October 24, 1893, is the key to the Columbian airguns. The patent's key feature, having a reciprocating air chamber enclosed within the gun's frame casting, was central to the Columbian airguns. The 1000 shot design format was a standard of the BB gun industry for over 80 years."