Arm of the month
Between 1916 and 1920 the Eibar-based firm "Beristain y Cía" obtained patents on improvements based on the ?Browning?1910 system.
These pistols were commercialised under the trademark BUFALO, identifying them with patent numbers 62004 and 67567, and the inscription "Model 1920" on the "Eibar-type" pistol. "Beristain y Cía" contracted the firm "Gabilondo y Cía" to manufacture the "Bufalo" pistols.
Production began in 1920, and the following year, undoubtedly foreseeing legal action by the "Fabrique Nationale" to defend their rights over the patent of the Browning 1910, "Beristain y Cia" presented a lawsuit to demand the repeal of the aforementioned patent basing their arguments on the failure of the Belgians to produce the weapon in Spain. In 1914 the "Fabrique Nationale" had submitted a certificate claiming that they possessed the means to start making the Browning 1910 in Barcelona, but production had never actually got under way. The Belgians alleged "force majeure" due to the war, but were unable to prevent their patent and industrial model being declared null and void, in a sentence passed on 6th of July 1926. Shortly before receiving the favourable resolution of their lawsuit against the "Fabrique Nationale", "Beristain y Cía" put an end to the manufacturing contract of their "Bufalo" pistols.
These two pocket revolvers are the Hammerless type for central-firing cartridges. Double action, with a folding trigger, a manual rod extractor housed in the axis of the cylinder and rifled bore. These pieces have the inscription: "Hammerless" and belong to the group known as "Velo-Dog".
The "Velo-Dog" revolver was the brain-child of the Belgian Mr. Charles François Galand in the decade of the 1890s as a defence weapon to allow cyclists to protect themselves from wild dogs.
Although initially conceived as an arm for a 6mm cartridge, it could also be loaded with pepper or a lead bullet for greater effect. Thus they exceeded the purpose for which they had been designed and became personal defence weapons. They went on to undergo modifications to accommodate 6,35 mm. and 7.35mm Browning, 7,62 mm. Nagant or 8mm. Lebel ammunition.
In Eibar this kind of weapon was first produced by Francisco Arizmendi, who in 1904 applied for the introduction licence, but a large number of Basque gunsmiths also showed interest, applying for patents of a wide variety of systems: automatic, automatic ejection, swivel mounted, oscillatory, etc.
The poor quality of the vast majority of these weapons meant they were generally looked down on, and such is their variety that arms collectors were far from keen to specialise in this kind of arm. However, this range includes pieces which, if only for their mechanical features, deserve our attention. They competed with automatic pistols in the field of pocket personal defence weaponry, until the latter finally prevailed.
Pair of "travelling" pistols made by Eusebio Zuloaga
This is a pair of single-shot "travelling" pistols, muzzle-loading and with English style stud chain locks. Of normal size, these weapons were for personal defence on dangerous journeys. Each has an octagonal-shaped smooth-bore barrel with the inscription, EUSEBIO ZULOAGA ARCABº DE S. M. EN MADRID AÑO DE 1840 (EUSEBIO ZULOAGA, gun-maker to H.M. in Madrid in the year 1840). The side plate is flat and is engraved with the same inscription as that on the barrel. The plate on the opposite side has a silhouette reminiscent of an open-winged eagle and is decorated with engravings. The large French-style stock, with criss-crossing grooves designed to enhance the grip, opens out at the bottom in an ovoid-shape with the edge engraved and a round base. The trigger guard with an additional hook for safer handling encloses a trigger with a hair device to adjust the touch of the trigger.
These pieces were made in Madrid in 1840 by D.Eusebio Zuloaga, (1808-1898), the last to hold the title "Gun-maker to His Majesty", granted by H.M. Isabel II in 1840. This gunsmith possessed a factory and shop in Madrid where he attended the needs of the Court. These premises were most probably used to assemble and give a suitably luxurious finish to arms that had been manufactured in the factory he owned in Eibar, which at the end of the 1840s was one of the best equipped in Spain. Eusebio Zuloaga closed his business in Madrid in 1854 and reorganised the factory in Eibar in order to achieve production that would not require subsequent finishing processes. In 1867 he handed management of the company over to his son Plácido, giving up any participation in the gun-making trade.
Length of arm: 380 mm.
Length of barrel: 216 mm.
Calibre: 17,2 mm.
Hunting knife with percussion cap pistol
Hunting knife with incorporated percussion cap pistol made by Felipe Galbasoro in Eibar around 1850. The single-edged blade has a grooved back with a small percussion cap pistol lodged in the upper third of the blade. The pistol has a spiral-grooved barrel and also a grooved priming pan. The small dog that acts as a firing hammer is engraved, as are the side plate and stirrup. On the upper side of the weapon, just before the spiral barrel, is the inscription: "Galbasoro en Eibar". The trigger can be folded to allow the arm to enter its scabbard. The handle is made of wood with a brass fixture, ending with a small cone-shaped point and a button. The handle guard consists of a brass strip with each end spirally engraved and turning away in opposite directions. There is a nº 5 engraved on the end of the handle and the inscription: GALBASORO EN EYBAR.
Pedro Careaga Garagarza is regarded as one of the most influential inventors of his time (Calvó (1997) p.151). Thanks to his ties with the manufacturers Esperanza & Unceta, as from 1911 his models began to be produced by them under the "Victoria" trademark. The Victoria is probably the first pistol with Eibar-type characteristics to be produced. Esperanza & Unceta made Victoria pistols with calibre 6,35 mm and 7,65 mm, both the hammerless version and with the percussion hammer exposed. Some of their models included a device which enabled the firer to see at a glance if there was a bullet in the breech. Due to a dispute over trademark rights, in 1915 Esperanza & Unceta ceased to use the "Victoria" trade name and adopted instead that of "Astra", which from then on came to be the most commonly used. Other brand names used for the commercialisation of these pistols were: "Muxi", "Scott", "Brunswig", "Dewaf" or "Belgium".
The model belonging to the museum collection has a magazine for seven bullets. Safety catch lever, magazine lock and magazine indicator; hidden hammer and rifled bore with five striations. The pistol has the inscription: Automatic Pistol. Victoria Patent.
Campo Giro Pistol, 1913 model.
Created by Lieutenant-Colonel Venancio López de Ceballos y Aguirre, count of Campo-Giro, who presented the it to the commission (of which he himself was a member) of the Spanish Army which had been set up to decide on the semi-automatic weapon that would be adopted as Standard issue.
After an exhaustive study of the arms that had been submitted, it was decided that Campo-giro would be responsible for manufacturing the weapon. Though the initial order was not followed by more, the Campo-Giro was well known to the public at large and production continued for the civil market. 995 were made and it was one of the pistols used in the Civil War.
Its design is somewhat complex, but has perfect alignment and finish. This pistol has a fixed barrel and its semi-automatic mechanism depends on the Blow-Back system. In this bolt-free process, the breech starts to open as soon as a shot has been fired, endowing the recoil spring with great strength. Moreover, another small spring was mounted just under the barrel to help to delay the opening of the breech. Magazine for eight bullets. Rifled bore.
Star Pistol 1919 model. "Sindicalista"
Bonifacio Echeverría was the first to take an interest in the "Colt" Md.1911 pistol, which had been patented in Spain that very year by the Belgian "Fabrique Nationale".
In 1919 the Eibar gunsmith filed a licence to introduce an arm of similar characteristics to the Colt, and though he had no intention of making an exact copy, he did plan to use it as a basis for pistols which, given their appearance, are naturally included in the category of arms known as "Colt" type weapons.
The first model of this pistol, made by Star, was a 6,35 calibre, and it provided a basic weapon from which other models, differing in size and calibre, were manufactured. The frame resembles that of the first 1911 Colt, while the half-open slide is reminiscent of the Italian Beretta. This pistol remained in production until 1929 in calibres 6,35mm, 7,65mm y 9mm.
The best known and most popular of all these was the model known as the "Sindicalista" thanks to its widespread use among anarchist union members in Barcelona and Zaragoza. Of 7,65mm calibre, it was officially called the ?Star, Police model?. All have a similar shape, and the feature that sets them apart from other weapons is the location of the safety catch, at the front under the slide rail.
According to reminiscences recorded in biographies of members of anarchist organisations, given its small dimensions, it used to be hung inside the trouser leg on a length of string attached to the activist?s waist. If a situation arose in which the pistol was required, the anarchist drew the gun through a hole that had been made in the trouser pocket. This same hole was then used to hide the gun and deceive the police when the activists were searched.