General John Taliaferro Thompson had early on decided that private enterprise was an essential part of securing the best possible arms for America's military. With the aid of Wall Street backing and a Cleveland, Ohio, design team of young engineers, Theodore Eickhoff and Oscar Payne, the result was an innovative series of submachine guns that were sold through the Auto-Ordnance Corporation as the Thompson Submachine Gun. These first Thompsons initiated the production of over 1.75 million guns that served law enforcement as well as American and foreign military forces over the following decades.
One custom Thompson became the personal firearm of General Thompson and was specially regulated to fire in rhythm to the beat of the General's favorite musical compositions. Later, this submachine gun was given to Colonel Richard M. Cutts for use in developing the Cutts Compensator. In 1998, it received NRA Silver Medal #373 as one of the best arms on display at the NRA Annual Meetings in Philadelphia.
General Thompson's Thompson and dozens of other Thompson submachine guns are part of a unique exhibition, "Thompson: On the Side of Law & Order," showcased at the National Firearms Museum.
Reprinted from America's 1st Freedom, November 2004.