Ed Johnson

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About Ed Johnson

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  • Birthday 05/16/1940

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  1. 8/17/2018 Fri 7:15 PM EDT Over the years, many folks have asked about my family history relating to firearms. The following is an article assembled by my niece, Shannon E. Johnson. It is based on the military inventions of my father during WW II and thereafter., Copyright sources for research on the topic that was used for this article include, “Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns” by Bruce Canfield, with material from Robert Lamoreaux and Edward Johnson, published by Andrew Mowbray, Inc. (2002); “The Johnson Rifle Site” at www.johnsonautomatics.com managed by James Pullen; “Practical Marksmanship” by MM Johnson, Jr., published by William Morrow & Co. (1945), as well as information provided in the two videos attached. The videos themselves, a short one towards the beginning and the longer one later in the article, were produced by the National Rifle Association. Speakers and narrators include Mark O'Keefe, Martin Morgan, author Bruce Canfield, Kenneth L. Smith-Christian and Michael Parker. The link to the live article is https://hookedoneverything.com/melvin-maynard-johnson/ (cut and paste to your browser if necessary) The link will also bring up the photos and video, and the article is also on Facebook, complete. Below is the basic article. Hooked on Attorneys • Hooked on Education • Hooked on Inventions • Hooked on Legends Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. 2 weeks ago Add Comment 213,426 Views Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr – Lawyer, author and more notably inventor. Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. goes by many titles all of which are well deserved by this fledgling overachiever, but to his family and friends, he was known as Maynard. Google Photos Ambitious to a fault and ingrained with a proven sense to innovate, Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. was born into a rather affluent Boston, Massachusetts family in 1909. He was the son of renowned lawyer, college professor, author and co-founder of Johnson and North law firm, Melvin M. Johnson Sr. Unsurprisingly, Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. took a calling in law, graduating Harvard in 1934 before going on to practice until 1939. However with his fervor for law also came a contrasting passion for firearms, a reality that ultimately shaped his eventual path in life as the persistent lieutenant. Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. was commissioned into the Marine Corps Reserve as a second lieutenant in 1933. By virtue of this position, he was privileged to attend a slew of Marine Corps firearms programs and in the following years managed to develop and demonstrate a keen understanding of the mechanism and operations of firearms. So profound was his understanding that it influenced the decision of the United Automatic Rifles Corp to contract his father’s law firm, Johnson and North, as legal representatives. U.A.R.C’s foray with Johnson and North provided the young Johnson an avenue to test his skills. And test he did. In collaboration with the former, Johnson developed a semi-automatic rifle system based on the M1903 Springfield. Unfortunately, the prototype failed to meet preliminary expectations and was subsequently scrapped. Google Photos Rather than bow out in disdain, failure on the first attempt had instead sparked creativity and a zeal to innovate in the young lieutenant. By 1936, he was back on the drawing board, this time perfecting designs for a semi-automatic rifle with a unique short recoil operating system. Johnson had succeeded in coming up with a working model that when implemented could compete against the Garand, – the de facto rifle of the US army. August that same year the first prototype of what would become the M1941 Johnson rifle was fabricated. Johnson named it Betsy. Betsy had a cousin named Emma. It was his attempt at developing a fully automatic light machine gun capable of firing 1,200 rounds per minute. Emma would go on to form the basis of the M1941 light machine gun. Seeing the Johnson light Johnson’s prototype firearms were innovative, no doubt, but amongst other things, they provided practical solutions to the many deficits commonplace in weapons at this time. Video Player 00:00 03:13 In designing his guns, Johnson made certain to address these inherent flaws. The Garand, for instance, as Johnson noted had an ‘en bloc’ clip that was hard to reload in combat situations and a gas bleed system that was particularly susceptible to damage. On paper, his designs were technically more superior, and a number of key stakeholders saw this light. In 1937, Johnson entered a contract with Marlin Firearms that would see the later manufacture models of Johnson’s prototype firearms. By March 1938, three rifle pieces aptly named rifle number 1, Rifle number 2 and Rifle number 3 were fabricated for testing. Google Photos After extensive rounds of testing by both Britain, America and Netherlands, it was the Dutch who saw it fit to procure 500 units of light machines guns and another 14,000 units of Johnson semi-automatic M1941 rifles. Johnson had made his first official sale, and it was a sign of better things to come producing better and more capable firearms Johnson went on to set up the Johnson Automatics Trust, which later evolved into Johnson Automatics Inc. Under this umbrella, he was able to further advance the practicality, efficiency, and ingenuity of his firearms. The light machine gun as at the time of presentation to the Dutch featured a magazine support assembly in place of rotatory magazines, integrated feed lips, and like the rifle came with the inherent capability to be refilled with single cartridges without removing the magazine. Johnson’s Light machine guns would then go on to be adopted and used by the Marines and Specialized units of the US army for the most of world war II. Google Photos Sequel to WWII Johnson expanded his firearm production reach to cover for civilian demand. By the early 1950s on account of his burgeoning expertise and knowledge of firearms, he was brought into Winchester as a weapons designer and advisor by the then chairman of the company, John Olin. At this stage, Johnson had four unique patents to his name some of which were later used on the AR-50 and AR-10 by Armalite. Video Player 00:00 11:07 If anything Johnson’s continual involvement in the scene of firearms production up until his death in 1965 emphasizes just how pivotal he was to the development of firearms in the US. More importantly, however, it paints a lucid picture of what determination, intelligence and a knack for the daring can transcribe to in the real world setting – a persona that breaks barriers and leads the charge on innovation. Sources: Copyright sources for research on the topic that was used for this article include, “Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns” by Bruce Canfield, published by Andrew Mowbray, Inc. (2002); “The Johnson Rifle Site” at www.johnsonautomatics.com managed by James Pullen; “Practical Marksmanship” by MM Johnson, Jr., published by William Morrow & Co. (1945), as well as information provided in the two videos attached. Here is the basic article itself: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr – Lawyer, author and more notably inventor. Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. goes by many titles all of which are well deserved by this fledgling overachiever, but to his family and friends, he was known as Maynard. Ambitious to a fault and ingrained with a proven sense to innovate, Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. was born into a rather affluent Boston, Massachusetts family in 1909. He was the son of renowned lawyer, college professor, author and co-founder of Johnson and North law firm, Melvin M. Johnson Sr. Unsurprisingly, Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. took a calling in law, graduating Harvard in 1934 before going on to practice until 1939. However with his fervor for law also came a contrasting passion for firearms, a reality that ultimately shaped his eventual path in life as the persistent lieutenant. Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. was commissioned into the Marine Corps Reserve as a second lieutenant in 1933. By virtue of this position, he was privileged to attend a slew of Marine Corps firearms programs and in the following years managed to develop and demonstrate a keen understanding of the mechanism and operations of firearms. So profound was his understanding that it influenced the decision of the United Automatic Rifles Corp to contract his father’s law firm, Johnson and North, as legal representatives. U.A.R.C’s foray with Johnson and North provided the young Johnson an avenue to test his skills. And test he did. In collaboration with the former, Johnson developed a semi-automatic rifle system based on the M1903 Springfield. Unfortunately, the prototype failed to meet preliminary expectations and was subsequently scrapped. Rather than bow out in disdain, failure on the first attempt had instead sparked creativity and a zeal to innovate in the young lieutenant. By 1936, he was back on the drawing board, this time perfecting designs for a semi-automatic rifle with a unique short recoil operating system. Johnson had succeeded in coming up with a working model that when implemented could compete against the Garand, – the de facto rifle of the US army. August that same year the first prototype of what would become the M1941 Johnson rifle was fabricated. Johnson named it Betsy. Betsy had a cousin named Emma. It was his attempt at developing a fully automatic light machine gun capable of firing 1,200 rounds per minute. Emma would go on to form the basis of the M1941 light machine gun. Seeing the Johnson light Johnson’s prototype firearms were innovative, no doubt, but amongst other things, they provided practical solutions to the many deficits commonplace in weapons at this time. In designing his guns, Johnson made certain to address these inherent flaws. The Garand, for instance, as Johnson noted had an ‘en bloc’ clip that was hard to reload in combat situations and a gas bleed system that was particularly susceptible to damage. On paper, his designs were technically more superior, and a number of key stakeholders saw this light. In 1937, Johnson entered a contract with Marlin Firearms that would see the later manufacture models of Johnson’s prototype firearms. By March 1938, three rifle pieces aptly named rifle number 1, Rifle number 2 and Rifle number 3 were fabricated for testing. After extensive rounds of testing by both Britain, America and Netherlands, it was the Dutch who saw it fit to procure 500 units of light machines guns and another 14,000 units of Johnson semi-automatic M1941 rifles. Johnson had made his first official sale, and it was a sign of better things to come producing better and more capable firearms Johnson went on to set up the Johnson Automatics Trust, which later evolved into Johnson Automatics Inc. Under this umbrella, he was able to further advance the practicality, efficiency, and ingenuity of his firearms. The light machine gun as at the time of presentation to the Dutch featured a magazine support assembly in place of rotatory magazines, integrated feed lips, and like the rifle came with the inherent capability to be refilled with single cartridges without removing the magazine. Johnson’s Light machine guns would then go on to be adopted and used by the Marines and Specialized units of the US army for the most of world war II. Sequel to WWII Johnson expanded his firearm production reach to cover for civilian demand. By the early 1950s on account of his burgeoning expertise and knowledge of firearms, he was brought into Winchester as a weapons designer and advisor by the then chairman of the company, John Olin. At this stage, Johnson had four unique patents to his name some of which were later used on the AR-50 and AR-10 by Armalite. If anything Johnson’s continual involvement in the scene of firearms production up until his death in 1965 emphasizes just how pivotal he was to the development of firearms in the US. More importantly, however, it paints a lucid picture of what determination, intelligence and a knack for the daring can transcribe to in the real world setting – a persona that breaks barriers and leads the charge on innovation. Sources: Copyright sources for research on the topic that was used for this article include, “Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns” by Bruce Canfield, published by Andrew Mowbray, Inc. (2002); “The Johnson Rifle Site” at www.johnsonautomatics.com managed by James Pullen; “Practical Marksmanship” by MM Johnson, Jr., published by William Morrow & Co. (1945), as well as information provided in the videos. Excuse the accidental duplication of some material above. Old age is catching up to me! Ed J
  2. Photos would be helpful....certainly on this forum.
  3. Thanks, Alasdair. I'm expecting my copy any day now. Been expecting it. We still have one more to go with F N in a few months. ej
  4. Yup. We had the two-plane flyover at ours, along with a high school band and our local band as well. Music makes a difference. But it sounds like your parade & politics might be a little different than ours.
  5. Art, I tend to agree with most of what you say, at least as I see it on a national level. And, yes, some political folks I won't mention can sometimes make very inappropriate comments in their attempt to promote them selves or their agendas. The pendulum of overall civic behavior has swung in an uncomfortable direction over the years. However, my sense is that smaller, hometown village parades and celebrations probably retain their historical traditions more firmly and without the political or commercial nonsense. I have seen this in CT and MA. and I hope it is true in some areas of VT, which is your turf. I live in such a village in CT, with a population of circa 1,500 residents, 6 marinas, 4 restaurants, 1 brunch counter, 1 package store, 1 church, 1 graveyard, 1 historical society, 1 water department plus a volunteer fire dept. with 2 engines & 1 rescue truck.. We just finished our annual Parade through the village today with stops at the cemetery and local war memorial to honor the fallen. Our parade is organized by the local American Legion, who also provide a picnic benefit at the end where locals can have lunch and visit with each other. Certain local politicians do participate by invitation, but they do not try to take advantage of the event and here is no hint of unusual commercialism. I feel proud to march in such a parade, even though the event itself requires time and energy for many of us, and my 78 year old knees complain to me afterwards. But I wouldn't change anything, and hope this spirit might, in time, help swing the pendulum back again.
  6. "You can't take it with you".....unless you think you'll need extra protection because of where you think you'll end up...... : - ))
  7. Correct on the use of the Johnson multi-lug bolt system. When Dad worked with Armalite in the 1950's on the AR-10 series, his bolt design was utilized, and the style of the AR-10 was patterned in appearance to the 1941 JLMG. Later, the M-16/AR-15 adopted that same bolt design and overall appearence. Thus, the M-16 is the "grandchild" of the Johnson SAR & LMG. As Joe indicates above, others later adopted that bolt design. Much of this is mentioned in the Bruce Canfield book "Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns" with info our family provided via myself in co-operation with research by Robert Lamoreaux. The book was initially published by Mowbray in 2002 and is in its 2nd printing.
  8. Doesn't sound like an actual shooting rifle. Perhaps more of a well ornament. Certainly not for $2000.00
  9. Thank you. I was able to obtain a copy of the magazine thanks to Alasdair. There will be 2 other articles coming over the next several months. More later when I have more info.
  10. This new entry is still holding at $2,500.00
  11. Possibly SARCO in PA ?
  12. Any photos would help. Also strongly recommend you purchase Canfield's "Johnson's Rifles & Machine Guns" now in its 2nd printing. Tells a lot about those rifles.
  13. I do try to encourage folks not to use loads that are too "hot" and also to make sure that the bullets being used are not too large for the bore of the carbine being used. We had problems briefly back in the 1960's with this. As for the loads themselves, we used Dupont IMR 4227 powder with 11.5 grains, a 40 grain speer soft-point or sisk fmj, #6.5 primer caps and .30 caliber M1 Carbine Brass which we necked down to a .223. Some other folks used .224. My last bullets were .2235 flat nose from Winchester. Everybody who handloads has their own concept of what's best. Just be careful, use gloves and safety glasses if you aren't sure.
  14. Also strongly suggest you obtain Bruce Canfield's "Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns" to go with your rifle....and it will give you a thorough history.
  15. Walt Liss has specialized in dealing with these bayonets. Problem is, a tree fell on his truck so he's trying to deal with that mess at the moment.