Q. I have a question about a Rock Island Arsenal holster stamped "E.H.S." that contains a 1900 Eagle Test Luger serial No. 70XX. It has a U.S. Ordnance Dept. flaming bomb on the left slide. This is stamped really deep into the gun's right side. The initials "J.T.T." are also stamped on the right side of the trigger housing. Could this be the personal Test Luger of 1900 of John T. Thompson, Captain, U.S. Army Ordnance Department?
A. When the 1900 "Test Lugers" were supplied to the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, they were inspected and stamped with the initials of the inspector, John Talifierro Thompson. They were government property and not the "personal" arms of anyone. Thompson was simply the inspector assigned to the project. All of the test Lugers had "J.T.T." inspection stamps. The "E.H.S." on your holster, one of 1,005 made at Rock Island Arsenal in 1902, is also likely an inspector's stamp.
--Bruce N. Canfield, Contributing Editor
Originally published January, 2006