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Henry Rifles History: How One of Biggest Firearms Brands Came to Be

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 02:57 PM

Henry Repeating Arms Company is the largest lever-action rifle manufacturer in the United States. Their slogan “Made in America or Not Made at All” highlights the company’s dedication to maintaining the country’s domestic manufacturing heritage, as well as the Henry rifles’ history. However, despite the branding reference to Benjamin Tyler Henry, who patented the first repeating rifle in 1860, the company was formed in 1996.

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Benjamin Tyler Henry was born in 1821 in New Hampshire. Henry worked for Winchester Repeating Arms at the company’s New Haven, Conn., plant. While working for Winchester, Henry patented a 15-round magazine breech-loading repeating rifle, which came to be known as the Henry Rifle, according to Andrew Bresnan in Rare Winchesters.

Winchester Repeating Arms was renamed U.S. Repeating Arms Company. U.S. Repeating Arms eventually declared bankruptcy in 1989 and closed its U.S. plants. A Belgium firearms company purchased the company.

Anthony Imperato’s Henry Repeating Arms company’s roots go back to 1911, when John Jovino of New York operated a gun store in Manhattan for New York Police Department officers. The company made holsters and sold firearms to the NYPD, according to Joe Kurtenbach of the Daily Caller.

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The Manhattan store was sold to Frank Albanese, who hired Lou Imperato. Imperato greatly expanded the company. Lou’s son Anthony Imperato later took over the company and acquired the Henry name, which became the center of the business’s offerings, Kurtenbach wrote.

In 2008, the company moved from its New York roots to a 100,000-square foot location in Bayonne, N.J. The firms’ firearm receivers are manufactured at a larger facility in Rice Lake, Wis.

The company has brought back the original Henry design as a modern replica. The firm expects to become a leader in youth shooting sports. “My concern started several years ago and that is why I designed the Henry Mini Bolt, a single shot all stainless steel youth rifle with synthetic stock and Williams fiber optic sights,” Imperato told Industry Icons. “In addition we donate a significant number of Henry Mini Bolts a year to organizations that promote the youth shooting sports.”

The company and its about 250 employees hope to continue leveraging the Henry name and heritage while continuing to build exclusively within the U.S.

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Wednesday, 06 May 2015 02:57 PM
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