Evidently there are people who read this column with the same intent as those Democrats who hate Trump. That intent being to criticize and pick apart every small item, using dis-credited or fake news for their documentation. Unfortunately for them, this column is largely my opinion and grounded by factual research when so stated, and otherwise presented for the entertainment, amusement and edification of interested parties.
Unlike those who reference the internet for their research, visiting websites authored by such august research facilities as PETA or the Humane Society of the United States, I prefer credible, published print documentation, yet even that can be misleading at times. Suffice it to say that I feel those who quote the internet for documentation would also probably mix Glenlivet with Diet Pepsi.
Moving on, I was startled to read recently where the Sharps rifle company filed for bankruptcy protection, under chapter 11. After all, the big Sharps rifles are my favorite long arms. But no, this was not that company or even related to either of those Montana based companies that recreate the magnificent single-shot Sharps rifles of the early American frontier. Those Sharps rifles that built their reputation from casting thumb-sized projectiles across hundreds of yards of open prairie with deadly efficiency and accuracy.
Initially, years ago, when I heard the name and discovered the company was located in Glenrock, I thought that very thing – wrong. Further research indicated that this “Sharps” rifle company’s product had more to do with what we call the Modern Sporting Rifle or what newscasters and anti-gun zealots term “Assault rifles.” Which those firearms are not.
Anyway, according to the article I read, originally this “Sharps Rifle” company was bought by Art Alphin of “A Square” fame some years back before it was named “Sharps.” It was then eventually resold to the present owners who tacked the Sharps Rifle name on it, with the stated intent of recreating a couple of obscure models of early breech-loading frontier era rifles, which it never did. All of which led to another shift in ownership for this company a few years later and, eventually, a chapter 11 filing.
One thing that bothers me is the use of the “Sharps” name. I’m no expert at trademark infringement laws, but I know John Shoffstall in Big Timber, Mont., not only owns the C. Sharps rifle company name, but also owns the C. Sharps logo, “Old Reliable” and associated trademark stuff and is zealous about retaining its integrity. Also, Shiloh Sharps, located in Big Timber, Mont., is probably in the same boat, trademark-wise.
My being confused even extends to the Colt’s manufacturing company. Yep, that Colt’s Manufacturing Company. You know, 1911s and single action army revolvers and such. Another company that defends its product line and trademark with fervor.
What confuses me is that several decades back Colt’s manufacturing brought out a modern single-shot of advanced design, loosely based on the unsuccessful Sharps Borchardt model of the late 1800s and marketed it as a “ Colt’s Sharps” model rifle. That “Sharps” however was not a successful venture. Still, there’s that trademark thing.
I’d venture a guess that trademark law is as nebulous a speciality as Wyoming’s water laws, which seemingly take a water law master to interpret. Leave it to lawyers to build a set of laws only they can interpret. Of course, some would understand that’s only a smart business move. It’s what marketers would term, “sole source supply.”
To put it in context, realize that lawyers constitute many of the politicians running this country. To further comment on that sorry situation, I would defer to one of the fathers of the Constitution and a former president himself, Thomas Jefferson. You should look it up.
But not on the internet.