|(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above, Fred Kohler, Sr. - wearing a Stembridge Gun Rentals gunbelt - versus Buck Jones in a scene from BORDER BRIGANDS (Universal, 1935). Hank Bell, with his usual handlebar moustache, is in the middle watchin' the action. A blowup/crop of Kohler's gunbelt is below.
The Stembridge Gun Rental company began around 1914 when James Sydney Stembridge was working as a laborer on Cecil B. DeMille's film THE SQUAW MAN, and volunteered his expertise as an armorer. Appears that Stembridge got some help/backing from DeMille, and the gun rental company was housed on the Paramount lot (but it was not part of the Paramount company).
In later years, Stembridge was run by Syd Stembridge, the grand-nephew of the founder. In addition to supplying all kinds of guns to the movie industry, Stembridge also specialized in blank cartridges.
My vague recollection is that circa 1999, Stembridge sold/auctioned much of their arsenal due to some estate issues. And around that time, they exited the weapon rental business, and may have also closed their doors. Hopefully, someone can supply information on the current status of the Stembridge company.
(Courtesy of Walt Grigg)
Above - Walt Grigg's collection includes the above box of "5 in 1" flash powder blank cartridges produced by Stembridge. These could be used in various calibers of the Colt single action and Colt lookalikes. This box of blanks has a 1948 date on it.
There is a Stembridge genealogy website and there's info on Syd Stembridge and Stembridge Gun Rentals, including a Glendale, California address: http://www.stembridge.us/2004/10/25/stembridge-gun-rental/
There's a 1998 Guns Magazine article on Stembridge (Adobe pdf file): http://www.originalprop.com/public_html/stembridge/gunsmag.pdf
There's a 1969 True Magazine article on the history of Stembridge: http://www.originalprop.com/blog/?p=2469 and in Adobe pdf format: http://www.originalprop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/true-magazine-stembridge-article.pdf
In October, 2009, ye Old Corral webmaster got an e-mail from Chuck Nicoud who lives in California, and he was kind enough to share the below photos of his recently acquired "Fred Kohler gunbelt". He bought it at an estate sale, and the owner used to work for Universal Studios in their prop room. Note the "Stembridge Gun Rentals "and the reference or serial number "39317" stamped in the inside of the belt. If anyone wants to contact Chuck about the gunbelt - and Chuck said that he may be willing to sell it - shoot the Old Corral webmaster an e-mail and I'll forward.
(Above gunbelt images courtesy of Chuck Nicoud)