Made in Maine: Evans Firearms

Between 1868 and 1881, a pair of brothers from Mechanic Falls had a dream.

Evans Firearms
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

John Malloy, right, of Auburn and Ed Suckow of Minot look over Doug Foglio's collection of Evans Sporting and Military Firearms at the the Auburn Exchange Club's 34th Annual Twin City Gun Show in Lewiston Saturday. Malloy was interested in the Evans' because he grew up in Mechanic Falls, near where Evans Firearms were produced between 1868 and 1881. "It was supposedly behind the old feed store where the blacksmith shop was," said Malloy.

Evans Firearms
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Doug Foglio of Waterboro only has a handful of Evans Firearms that were produced in Mechanic Falls between 1868 and 1881, but he said he is always looking for more. "Look at them," remarked Foglio as he gestured to one. "They look completely different than any other gun."

Warren and George Evans wanted to build guns.

"They were the leaders in lever-action, repeater rifles," said collector Doug Foglio of Waterboro. "They were made in a time when people were still using (single-action) flintlocks."

The basic idea behind the Evans Sporting and Military Firearms was a 34-shot .44 caliber rotary screw spindle that fed the ammunition through the stock of the firearm. That meant the Evans weapon could hold 33 more rounds than the typical gun of the time.

"They were a high-powered, heavy-hitting gun for their time," remarked Foglio, one of only three Evans collectors (that he knows of) in the state.

Unfortunately, the Evans firearm never became the success the brothers wanted it to be.

John Malloy, now of Auburn, grew up in Mechanic Falls hearing about the Evans Sporting and Military Firearms.

They were rumored to have been manufactured "behind the old feed store, where the blacksmith shop was," Malloy said.

"I grew up hearing just that they were made in Mechanic Falls, but it wasn't a real success," said Malloy at the Auburn Exchange Club's 34th annual Twin City Gun Show in Lewiston Saturday, where he got a look at Foglio's collection.

A failure he thinks was due to the military not buying the weapons as hoped by the brothers.

"They were designed for the military," confirmed Foglio. "And they geared up to export to Russia. But when they showed up to get the guns, they wanted to buy on credit — which I think was the ultimate demise of the company."

Foglio, interested in the weapons because they were made in Maine, is still looking to buy them.

"Anything Evans," Foglio said. "Look at them; they are completely different than any other gun."

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