John Philip Sousa is best known as the “The March King” for the 137 marches he wrote, many while he was director of the Marine Band. But he also had a passion for trap shooting. He organized the first national trapshooting organization which became the Amateur Trapshooting Association, and authored a number of articles on the topic. Sousa registered more than 35,000 targets and was quoted in his Trapshooting Hall of Fame biography: “Let me say that just about the sweetest music to me is when I call, ‘pull,’ the old gun barks, and the referee in perfect key announces, ‘dead’.”
This ad from the September 1917 edition of National Geographic shows Mr. Sousa holding an Ithaca shotgun. Ithaca Gun Company’s troubled history begins in 1877 when Leroy Smith went into business with William Henry Baker to form the W.H. Baker Company, manufacturing double- and triple-barreled shotguns in Center Lisle, N.Y. They moved the company from Center Lisle to Syracuse, then in 1883, to Ithaca, N.Y. There they renamed it the Ithaca Gun Company and manufactured side by side shotguns.
In 1967 the company was sold to what would become General Recreation Inc. and in 1978 the company underwent Chapter 11 reorganization after a failed attempt to move to Colorado. The company moved to King Ferry, N.Y. in 1987 and was called Ithaca Acquisition Inc. In 1996 the company went by the name of Ithaca Gun Co. LLC. In 2005, after a failed attempt to establish a production facility in Auburn, N.Y., Ithaca Guns USA, LLC purchased Ithaca Gun Co. LLC’s assets and relocated production to Upper Sandusky, OH.
Based on the CPI Inflation Calculator, in 2016 dollars the $24 “double gun” would be $448.61 while the $85 “single trap gun” would run $1558.84. Ithaca’s web site store currently prices their shotguns from $784 to $1350, depending on model. [Note: TTAG has a Ithaca Model 37 in the midst of review.]