|M1 CARBINE PARTS IDENTIFICATION|
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| Among the prime contractors, there is more speculation and disagreement about Irwin Pedersen. With disagreements ranging from: 'Is it really the most rare?' to 'Why were none of their carbines accepted?' to 'How could John Pedersen have such a failure in gun production?,' the disagreements are not likely to end soon. |
The origin of the Irwin Pedersen Arms, Inc stems from a simple business decision and goes something like this: The war was on. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbon in December of 1941, the urgent need for the newly designed light rifle was high enough for the government to take charge of steel distribution and other industrial resources.
The Robert W. Irwin Co., the result of a consolidation of the Royal Furniture Co. and the Phoenix Furniture Co. realizes that for what was estimated to be a 4 year effort, they would not have access to the abundant quantity of steel and wood to which they were accustomed and on which their business relied. In an effort to make sure they stayed profitable, they approached John Pedersen, the famous gun designer/engineer and hired him ( he never had a stake in the business beyond his contract ) to lead the effort. This was mistake number 1 - discussed later. To further profits, it was decided that the Irwin Co. would buy a facility for manufacture and lease that back to the newly formed Irwin Pedersen Arms Co. for $500,000 ( reference needed.)
Having no experience in government contracting, Irwin Pedersen ( henceforth IP ) decided on a cost + contract versus a flat rate per rifle contract. This was granted in early 1942 - when parts and materials were already becoming scarce for everyone.
As IP a startup, John Pedersen had a good idea of the parts and machinery needed to produce the carbines, but milling machines and lathes, etc were on severe backorder because of the steel shortage and were not slated to be delivered until late 1942 ( Sept / Oct .) This meant that there would be a very short amount of time to work through manufacturing problems before the first rifles were to be delivered. Oddly, IP had a full staff of people doing nothing but waiting for gear to arrive and for parts to be made ready for their individual tasks through the end of 1942.
In addition, knowing that getting equipment on premise, set up, and running would take time, IP decided to outsource to subcontractors a number of parts. These arrived on time - likely the only thing that IP ever had that could be considered on time.
Unfortunately, engineers don't make the best production managers and the metallurgist/heat treatment foreman was tasked with other duties which caused temper issues in IP guns and two of the five carbines actually submitted to the Ordnance dept for review exploded during the test firing - one of them after only 16 rounds. Saginaw Gear was called by the Ordnance Dept to review the situation at IP and to recommend a remediation path. The response from Saginaw is that it could not be fixed due to management problems. After the broken receiver incident during testing, the Ordnance Dept took the contract from Irwin Pedersen and transferred it ( bad negotiation of cost-plus included ) to Saginaw Gear.
So when you see Irwin Pedersen parts and receivers, know that it wasn't production quality as in parts fitting that caused the problems, it was mostly heat treatment. Saginaw Gear was able to bring in their specialists and check and perform the appropriate heat treatment to salvage some receivers and to preserve the memory of a failed venture.