Publication information
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Source: Illustrated Buffalo Express
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Czolgosz’s Weapon”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 8 September 1901
Volume number: 18
Issue number: 49
Part/Section: 2
Pagination: 11

“Czolgosz’s Weapon.” Illustrated Buffalo Express 8 Sept. 1901 v18n49: part 2, p. 11.
full text
McKinley assassination (murder weapon); McKinley assassination (investigation: Buffalo, NY); John Suor; Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY: visitations).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; John Suor.


Czolgosz’s Weapon



     The revolver with which Czolgosz attempted the life of President McKinley was of a pattern well known to users of firearms. The weapon is made by the Iver-Johnson Arms Company of Fitchburg, Mass. The barrel of the arm is about 2½ inches long. Its cylinder has five chambers, each carrying a 32-caliber center-fire cartridge. The model Czolgosz used was of the latest pattern made by the Iver-Johnson company and differs materially from the models sold a few years ago. Instead of the peculiar automatic catch used on the old-style Iver-Johnson arm the revolver Czolgosz used has a catch similar to that of the Harrington & Richardson police revolver. That is, there is a sort of adjustable arm which fits over the breechlock [sic] and which can be raised when it is intended to break the weapon for reloading.
     A great many of the Iver-Johnson revolvers of that pattern and caliber are made now with the patent hammerless safety appliance. That is, the top of the breech is a solid piece of metal, no hammer showing above the grip. Why Czolgosz did not use such a revolver as that can only be conjectured. It would have been much surer and handier for his purpose and there would have been less danger of a miscarriage of the deed which Czolgosz had set out to do. The hammerless weapons cost slightly more than those not so equipped and it is believed on account of the extra expense Czolgosz contented himself with the hammer piece.
     Revolvers such as Czolgosz used can be bought at any firearms store for $4, retail. The weapon is of fairly good finish and workmanship, though sometimes the action is apt to be hard and stiff. Over all [sic] the Iver-Johnson 32-caliber revolver measures about five inches in length and it is surprising how Czolgosz was able to conceal it in his handkerchief without detection. Anyone who imagines that it is an easy thing to conceal even a small revolver in a hand wrapped in a handkerchief should, if curious, procure a 32-caliber revolver and try it. It might be easy enough to close the hand over the whole weapon, but it is almost impossible to hold the revolver in a position ready for firing without its shape and form being made visible beneath the cloth covering.
     Since the police obtained possession of the revolver with which Czolgosz attempted the life of President McKinley, a couple of detective sergeants have been trying to learn when the gun was bought and from whom. Czolgosz made the statement himself that the revolver had been bought in this city, so it was a comparatively easy matter for the police to have all the people who sell Iver-Johnson arms go to Police Headquarters and have a look at the box which was supposed to have contained the weapon.
     Half a dozen clerks from various Buffalo stores called at Police Headquarters yesterday morning and examined the box. John F. Suor, a clerk in Walbridge’s Main Street store, said he was satisfied that the box came from the store where he was employed. The firm’s private mark was on the box. Suor was taken to the cell where Czolgosz was locked up. The latter stood directly in front of the bars and looked squarely at the young clerk.
     “I never saw that man before,” said Suor. “At least, I’m not positive.”
     None of the other clerks in the store could identify the prisoner and the police are just as much at sea as ever as to when the revolver was bought. There is nothing about Czolgosz that would attract one to mark his appearance, and, unless he chooses to tell, it will probably never be known when he came into possession of the weapon.



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