Updated: Aug 15
The Lewis holsters are as well-known as their Clark counterparts, and as commonly encountered on auction sites if one wants to collect them. But doggone it, we know f-all about who Ed Lewis was or his company.
Oh, I have bits of compelling information about Lewis, and examples of his holsters galore, but the research is too uncertain to say much more than that.
Right now I'm intrigued to find this one that is marked for the 2-1/2" K frame that I expect m/b the Combat Magnum. Likely this will lead to more dating certainty because we KNOW when the CM was introduced in 2.5" and we have more facts about Lewis at this end of its operations than at the beginning. I won't give up on his trail just as I didn't give up on finding out what happened to Jelly Bryce's English wife Minnie/Sandra from birth to death; when no one prior knew any more than the Sandra part.
I certainly had my bid in on this unmarked shoulder holster that is obviously a genuine Lewis; no copies are extant except for 'not quite' attempts that rule them out. Someone paid quite a lot for it:
Lewis' shoulder holsters (there were no horizontals) were made with this upright wireform spring for 4" and longer barrels (above) and with the abbreviated Clark-type curved spring clip only for the shorter barrels (below, as on both companies' belt crossdraws). It's my belief that Ed Lewis believed the Clark spring as used in the No. 15 Bucheimer-Clark was insufficient for the big heavy pistols.
The several makers of the Sunday scabbard made similar distinction between the two in designing their holsters. In the case of the Lewis is was the topheavy weight that led Ed to use a spring configuration that gripped better, very much as used by Bianchi Holster beginning in the '60s; while for Brill et al it was the lack of a long barrel that caused Charles Kluge to completely surround the trigger guard and use a safety strap vs for the longer barrels. And for the narrow but heavy automatics, too. Sam Myres did the same with his Threepersons range for the autos.
UPDATE: I've an example of that first image of the Lewis shoulder holster, with the twin vertical springs vs the curved single used on the belted crossdraws. I'll do a complete review and test of it and (horrors) likely will disassemble it to perform an 'autopsy'; which I've done often for the complex spring holsters such as the Clark 999 and the Jewett clamshell.
Read more in my book titled "Holstory -- Gunleather of the Twentieth Century -- the Second Edition" that is available at www.holstory.com and printed for you/shipped to you in USA.