Belgian



The Belgian arms industry has a long history. Originally, it was a cottage industry, from which families would earn their income by mass-producing single components which in turn were sold onto the main armourers who would assemble them under their own name. As with some parts of the tribal areas on the Afghan-Pakistan borders today, you could purchase, or have copied, anything in Liege. Over time, the more formalised factory system took over and in 1889 the Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre (FN) was established in the small town of Herstal, just outside Liege.The major manufacturers formed a co-operative in order to fulfil an order placed by the Belgian Government for 150,000 Mauser 1889 rifles. In 1897, the factory was given a boost in the form of the further co-operation of John Browning. Along with small arms, FN also produced cars (1900-1935) and motorcycles (production continued until 1965). Possibly the most infamous gun produced by FN was the 1910 Pistol used to assassinate the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand, an event which sparked the First World War.

 

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