Eliaphalet Remington founded E. Remington & Sons in 1816 in Ilion, New York. Growing up in a farm community where his father worked as a blacksmith, Eliaphalet learned how to make rifle barrels during a visit to a major manufacturer and returned ready to grow the family business. He built a flintlock rifle after he returned from his trip, and took the rifle with him to a shooting match. Eliaphalet didn’t win the target competition, but he did win the business of several competitors who liked his rifle and placed orders for their own.
The Remington rifle business was officially born, and has grown into what is now the oldest manufacturer of firearms in the United States. They are an iconic gun brand that is the only company in the nation to produce both firearms and ammunition domestically, the largest producer of rifles and shotguns in the U.S., and the largest developer and adopter of cartridges in the world.
E. Remington & Sons innovated and expanded throughout the 19th Century, eventually relocating closer to the Erie Canal, where a portion of the Ilion firearms plant still exists today. The company incorporated in 1865, introduced their famous rolling block rifle, and branched out into the manufacture of typewriters in 1873, which they sold in 1886. And in 1888, Marcellus Hartley and partners acquired E. Remington & Sons, reorganized the business, and renamed it Remington Arms Company.
In 1912, Remington Arms merged with the Union Metallic Cartridge Company to form Remington UMC. Not many years later, they constructed a new plant in Ilion, New York, which continues to operate to this day. During WWI, Remington had contracts to produce M1907-15 Berthier rifles for France, Enfield rifles for Britain, and 1891 Mosin-Nagant rifles for Russia. They also developed and manufactured M1917 Enfield rifles as well as the Pedersen Device, an innovation for the M1917 that allowed it to fire short .30 caliber rifle cartridges in semi-automatic mode.
Expanding their product line in the 1920s with diverse items of interest to a wider audience, they started producing and selling cash registers and cutlery like pocket knives, hunting knives, and household utensils. Remington started selling clothing with company logo patches at this time, which grew into their popular line of clothing and accessories for hunting and casual wear.
In 1940, the U.S. government requested Remington to establish an ordinance plant. They located the plant in Independence, Missouri, and called it Lake City. Remington opened a total of five plants in the early years of WWII, where they manufactured their iconic M1903 Springfield bolt action rifle chambered for the .30-06.
A decade later, Remington introduced one of the most popular shotguns ever made – the Remington Model 870 “Wingmaster,” a 12 gauge pump action shotgun. They expanded into other markets during the 50s by acquiring the Mall Tool Company and adding power equipment to their product line, including chainsaws and other electric, pneumatic and gas powered tools. Through the 1960s, Remington introduced the plastic shotgun shell, the Model 1100 autoloading shotgun, and the Model 700 bolt action rifle.
By the 90s, their focus was on their core community of firearms enthusiasts. Remington recently returned to manufacturing handguns with their M1911 clone chambered in .45 ACP, and their R-15 and R-25 rifles inspired by the AR-15. They have broadened their markets to include a television series, products for domestic security and their Model 887 Nitro Mag series of shotguns.