My Al Capone Museum     |   home
MY AL CAPONE MUSEUM   |   F.A.Q.'S   |   Al Capone's Personal Telephone   |   Al Capone's Personal Straw Boater   |   Al Capone Framed Signature   |   Al Capone's light fixtures   |   Al Capone's Silver Tray   |   John Torrio's Personal items   |   SVD Massacre bullet fragments   |   Interesting items retrieved from Al Capone's Lexington office suite and hallway   |   Alton Hotel Relics   |   7244 Prairie Avenue   |   93 Palm Avenue     |   93 Palm Avenue Part 2   |   93 Palm Avenue Part 3   |   93 Palm Avenue Part 4   |   New 93 Palm Avenue home   |   New Palm Avenue home Part 2   |   Artifacts from 93 Palm Avenue   |   The Capone era Cicero, Illinois   |   The Four Deuces (2222 South Wabash)   |   Al Capone's Bathroom Tile From The Lexington Hotel   |   Inside The Lexington Hotel   |   Geraldo's Capone Vault Grand Opening   |   Lexington's Destruction   |   X Marks the Spot magazine   |   Capone Magazines and Booklets   |   Capone Videos   |   Capone Books   |   Knick Knacks   |   Capone's Chicago   |   Chicago photos   |   Capone Documents   |   Capone Photographs   |   Capone Photographs 2   |   Capone Photographs 3   |   My History channel Shoot   |   Gravesites   |   Gravesites 2   |   FDR and Al Capone's Cadillac; Truth or Myth?   |   Al Capone and Friends:   |   Al Capone Goes to Cuba   |   Capone at the Ballpark   |   Al Capone's Death and Funeral   |   The St. Valentine's Day Massacre   |   The Massacre Pt.2   |   Massacre Victim's Stats.   |   Massacre News blurbs   |   Some Theories  on the Valentine Massacre   |   Discounted Valentine Massacre theories   |   Valentine Killers?   |   The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Wall bricks   |   The St. Valentine Massacre guns today   |   The Infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre forensic evidence   |   The Adonis Social Club Incident   |   When, Where and How did they die?   |   Mugshots   |   Gangster facts and side stories   |   The Obituaries   |   Gangster talk   |   Gangster Fashion   |   Gangster Molls   |   William Hale Thompson   |   Gangland Armourers   |   The Chicago Typewriter   |   Gangster Hitspots   |   Mae Capone   |   Louise Rolfe   |   Alberto Anselmi and Giovanni Scalise   |   Frank Parker   |   William Niemoth   |   Jack Guzik   |   Samuel "Golf bag"Hunt   |   Jake Lingle   |   Frankie Yale   |   Samoots Ammatuna   |   Jack Zuta   |   Leo Vincent Brothers   |   Edward David Vogel   |   Johnny Torrio   |   Joe E. Lewis   |   Rocco DeGrazia   |   Machine Gun Jack McGurn   |   Willie Heeney   |   James "Fur" Sammons   |   Jack "Three fingered" White   |   George "Red" Barker   |   Anthony "Tough Tony" Capezio   |   Frank Nitti   |   Dean Charles O'Banion   |   Samuel Morton   |   George Clarence Moran   |   Hymie Weiss   |   Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci   |   Fred "Killer" Burke   |   Fred Goetz   |   Joe Aiello   |   Edward "Spike" O'Donnell   |   The Genna brothers   |   Angelo La Mantia   |   Frank Rio   |   Ragtime Joe Howard   |   Hinky Dink and Bathouse John   |   Sol Van Praag   |   Theodore "The Greek" Anton   |   Joseph P. Bergl   |   Daniel "Danny" Stanton   |   Edward Tancl   |   Eliot Ness   |   Al Capone's tax trial and downfall   |   Al in Jail   |   Mario Gomes   |   Bill Helmer   |   Chriss Lyon   |   Rose Keefe   |   Daniel Waugh   |   Thomas Prior   |   John J. Binder   |   Allan R.May   |   Rick Mattix   |   Robert Gallo as Al Capone   |   Mr. Joe Walters   |   Gangster articles   |   Newspapers of the day   |   Newspapers part Two   |   Newspapers Part Three   |   Newspapers Part Four   |   The Green Mill   |   Colosimo's   |   Alcatraz   |   Alcatraz Part 2   |   Al Capone goes to Baltimore   |   Gangster sites today   |   Gangster Sites part 2   |   Dead Gangsters   |   Origins of the Scars   |   Collecting Al Capone?   |   The truth about Al Capone's signature   |   Al Capone and other Gangster related books   |   In Memoriam   |   Links   |   Contact Me
Gangland Armourers
Peter Von Frantzius, Louis Scaramuzzo,Von Lengerke and Antoine

Peter Von Frantzius
 A few sporting good stores in the 20's supplied the gangs directly or indirectly with their weapons of choice to create mayhem in Chicago.
The most famous of one of all was Peter Von Frantzius.Peter came from a rich German family whose father made his fortunes in market speculation.
Von Frantzius started selling guns via mailorder from his parents home.He became quite successful and with the funds acquired set up his own shop at 608 Diversey Parkway.
Many guns found at and around murder scenes were traced to his shop.Notably the machinegun used at Frankie Yale's murder and the machineguns found in Fred "Killer" Burke's posession.These were positively linked to the St. Valentine's day massacre and linked to Von Frantzius.
Peter Von Frantzius (right) being questioned by Herman Bundesen at the St. Val Massacre inquest.

When investigators visited Von Frantzius' shop at 608 Diversey they found a tree trunk in the back of the shop used for target practice with thompsons. Most thompsons were purchased by gangland through an agent. Example of a popular machine gun dealer at the time was Frank Thompson. He would purchase dozens of Thompsons from Von Frantzius and in turn sell them to various gangsters at a higher mark up.

Front page of Von Frantzius 1927 catalog.
(Mario Gomes Collection)



Von Frantzius always made sure his customer came first.
(Mario Gomes Collection)



Catalog page showing theThompson for sale by Von Frantzius. One simple Thompson without the cutts compensator to prevent rise in firing the weapon cost only $175.
For $200, you could have the gun with the compensator and a 20 rd clip.
Also in the catalog you could seperately purchase 20 rd clip, 50 and 100 rd drum and 100 rds of .45 ammo at $4.72.
Just below, the Thompson gun, Von Frantzius also sold police belts according to the current regulations of 1927.
On the left, bullet proof vests.
(Mario Gomes Collection)




Peter Von Frantzius mail order form.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

All someone had to do was select item, enclose check and mail it off. The item could even be paid via cod upon arrival.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

Gangland rejoiced in the acquirability of the Thompson.
For $2.00 Von Frantzius would remove the serial number off any weapon sold.
This was done to avoid traceability to the crime.Von Frantzius employed an Austrian gunsmith by the name of Valentine Juch. Both he and Von Frantzius were very obliging at a price for certain illegal services such as selling weapons with filed off serial numbers and keeping the buyers name off the records in his shop. During the St .Val inquest Von Frantzius was asked point blank how he felt about the guns he sold ended up in the hands of gangsters. He simply replied that all he cared was to sell them and make his money.

Situated in the Northside, his shop equally served all the gangs of Chicago.The Northsiders bought many guns and were regular customers. Peter Von Frantzius was also an inventor with various patents to his name.



Louis Scaramuzzo


Another famous gangland armourer was Louis Scaramuzzo, who lived at 5347 S. Sawyer Ave. He ran his gun shop at 851 South Halstead street, and was noted by Chief of Detectives William Shoemaker that Scaramuzzo was known as a "Gun Mechanic" for the West side gangsters. He is also reputed to be a Capone gang armourer.
Scaramuzzo knew the Gennas and was once interrogated about the St. Valentine massacre by  authorities. Scaramuzzo had once brought a buyer to Peter Von Frantzius' shop, this in order to get a Thompson machine gun for his client. Scaramuzzo mainly did this in exchange for some gun parts Von Frantzius had. Detectives were also very curious as to how Scarmuzzo's own shop sold so many guns over the years, but never had any records of these sales.

1925 signed letter from Louis Scaramuzzo sent to the Smith and Wesson company for plating, and putting a four inch barrel on a .38 special.
(Mario Gomes Collection)


At the beginning of 1930's, Scaramuzzo relocates his shop at 604 Blue Island Avenue. On November 2,1931, Detectives raid his Blue Island shop in which they find liquor and several guns with the serial numbers defaced. Scaramuzzo claims these guns were simply there for repair and that he had nothing to do with the defacing part. On February 5,1932, Scaramuzzo is found guilty. He is sentenced to a year in the Bridewell Penitentiary, and fined $300. He never does a day in jail as his record is later stricken, and he is completely exonerated of all charges against him.

Another machine gun sporting goods store was Von Lengerke and Antoine, situated at 130 South Wabash (later 33 S.Wabash). They had sold Thompson machine guns used in a few gangland hits. Most notably, the guns used in the Hymie Weiss and possibly in the accidental McSwiggin hit.
Oswald Von Longerke, one of the owners of Von Lengerke. Just below that is the second store address at 130 South Wabash.

During a Coroner's inquest Edward Weidener, who was a manager at VL&A had testified that his company had sold 50 Thompson machine guns in the last 8 years.

After being 49 years at the corner of Wabash and Van Buren, Von Lengerke and Antoine move to 130 South Wabash. In 1924, Von Lengerke and Antoine moves their store to 33 South Wabash. In the Early 1940's,they move yet again to 7 North Wabash.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

John Alex Koracek, who was a one time hardware dealer had remembered selling a thompson he aqcuired through VL&A to a Capone associate named Charlie Carr.
Many found their way into the hands of ex- convict and sporting goods/ arms dealer Frank Thompson, who posed as vaccuum company salesman. Thompson had purchased at least 9 Thompsons from different Chicago sporting good stores. While most thompsons were purchased by legitimate means such as to protect companies etc..., some eventually fell to the wayside and ended up in gangland's grip. Some where purchased through crooked ex-cops who still had connections for the right price.



Von Lengerke and Antoine store st 33 South Wabash
(Mario Gomes Collection)




Thompson making it's first appearance in the Von Lengerke & Antoine catalog circa 1924.
For $185 you could get it with a 20 round stick mag. The Cutts compensator used to prevent rise while shooting was later added in the 1927 catalog below.






A peek into Von Lengerke and Antoine's store at 33 South Wabash, circa 1924.
(Mario Gomes Collection)






Bound 1927 Von Lengerke and Antoine catalog from 33 South Wabash. This store catalog used by employees and has special blank pages in between for price adjustments.
(Mario Gomes Collection)






The infamous Thompson machine gun for sale in Von Lengerke and Antoine's 1927 catalog.
(Mario Gomes Collection)



A well deserved special mention of thanks to my friend John Winkeler. He graciously helped me obtain these exceptional pieces of history.



First Posted September 2007