Piece of the month
El Casco: M-15 stapler and M-200 hole punch
In May we have decided to show you this fantastic set: a stapler and hole punch by El Casco, in their luxury versions. It is a donation by the entrepreneur from Eibar, Mikel Izagirre, and comes in a cardboard box lined with black velvet.
The El Casco stapler has been manufactured since 1935 and is now considered a classic among designers. As piece of the month, today its luxury version, plated in 23.4 carat gold, is still available for purchase.
The desk stapler has an elongated base. At one end it has a device with a rounded head which is pressed to activate the stapling mechanism. The arm is fitted with a practical spring-activated system which pushes the staples out one after the other. The base on which the staple is closed once ejected has a selector on which the staple closing strength can be regulated.
In the case of the hole punch, its main characteristics are its shape and efficiency. By pressing the handle downwards towards the base, it can punch a hole in any kind of paper. Its rounded shape also makes it sit well with the hand. The base, on the other hand, is rectangular; straight at the front and rounded at the back, the same shape as the lever.
Given that the company originally manufactured arms, the El Casco parts and mechanisms are highly precise. Their objects are made in steel to very high standards and with an excellent finish; they are precise, hard-wearing and made to last. The mechanical production process includes reaming, drilling, rectification and shaping, after which it is polished (by hand, a minimum of six times) and plated in copper, nickel and chrome. Also, the fact that no welding is used on the pieces means they can be taken completely apart. They are made to last a lifetime and their fine quality guarantees that they will never fail.
The company was created by former workers at Orbea, Juan Solozabal Mendive and Juan Olave Bilbao, on 7th September 1920. Making most of their weapons knowledge, they started to make high-quality revolvers. However, as said above, they had already started making office accessories by 1935, precisely the M-5 stapler and the M-500 counter. In view of their success, they soon decided to diversify their production with pencil sharpeners, hole punches, etc., but always with the objective of guaranteeing that their articles were of high mechanical reliability. According to their creators, ?a staple should move through the stapler with the same precision as a bullet through the barrel of a gun."
The company was destroyed by bombing during the Civil War and moved into Blas Etxebarria?s new building in 1940. From then on, and until the 70s, they were the market leaders. Today they still export to more than 40 countries, above all selling their products in luxury stationery shops. Since 2010 the company has had its premises in Elgeta where, even if they have improved their manufacturing processes, they remain faithful to mechanical reliability and aesthetics.
Luxury shotgun by Ignacio Ibarzabal
Let?s start the spring with a luxury piece, and the Museum?s latest acquisition: a shotgun of excellent manufacture from the workshop of Ignacio Ibarzábal, and coming to us from Zaragoza.
Ignacio Ibarzábal Iriondo, son of Gabriel Benito Ibarzábal y Pagoegui, was one of the best known 19th century gunsmiths, having inherited the workshop from his father when he died in 1852 in strange circumstances. He was educated in England and would seem to be responsible for introducing the Whitworth screw thread standard. He signed several contacts with the institutions of the period, such as, for example, the commission to make a rifle with a smooth bore barrel for road workers. In the late 1860s he received from Gipuzkoa an order to modify standard issue weapons using Berdan?s 1867 trapdoor conversion, a contract he shared with the company "Orbea Hermanos?.
According to the documents of the time, Ignacio Ibarzábal was one of the four workshops to hold the category of factory in Eibar, together with ?Orbea Hermanos?, ?Zuloaga? and ?Larrañaga?; a category they maintained until the beginning of the Second Carlist War.
It?s not easy to understand the decline of one of the most respected arms manufacturers of the time; but it seems that after the 1868 revolution, the gunsmith from Eibar took command of the Battalion of Freedom Volunteers and was forced to leave town when it was occupied by the Carlists in 1873. Even so, he returned in 1876 with victorious honours, going on to occupy political positions, such as that of Parliament Deputy, leading us to suppose that he didn't concentrate his activity on the factory. He was also one of the promoters of the Eibar Proof House.
Between 1880 and 1890 he paid towards a waterfall where several arms manufacturers worked for themselves, and towards a gunsmith?s workshop with 1 or 2 workers. Despite the very few workers, several patents appear in his name, above all related to the PUPPY model of revolver. Although we know that in 1884 he was making revolvers of the Bull-Dog type, Ibarzábal?s arms production focussed above all on the PUPPY model, which he commercialised with the name of PUPPIY. However, it may be the case that all of these revolvers may actually came from the workshop of José Cruz Echeverría, who worked for Ignacio, and that the latter simply produced series of rifles, commercialising the articles made by different factories. Ignacio Ibarzábal died with no descendants on 14th February 1891.
With respect to the rifle at hand, given the quality of its making, of much higher standard than usual and worked with all kinds of details, we can say that it was a weapon made to order. Furthermore, having suffered no wear due to use or damp, we can fully appreciate the beauty of this muzzleloader. The set is made up of the following pieces: ? A varnished oak box, lined with red velvet, and with spaces for all of the different parts. ? A ?fine damascened? or ?damas? barrel, made with wrought iron and steel, revealing elegant filigree work. A wash with acidulated water gives us a better look at the damascene drawing. On the barrel we can read the following inscription: ?Eibar Anno 1858. Fbca. De Ybarzabal?. ? The rifle box is decorated with floral details in gold and various hunting animals in silver. There is no visible coat of arms or inscription to tell us who it was made for. ? The ensemble also comes with 13 pieces for cleaning and maintaining the gun. Among others: 2 spare nipples, an oil can, a ladle for pouring the lead, percussion locks, ramrod, gunpowder measure and lead cutter.
The weapon can be seen in the permanent arms exhibition; however, we would like to emphasize the importance of a piece which we consider to be one of the gems of the Eibar arms industry. Admission to the Museum will therefore be free from 19th-22nd April. Don?t miss the opportunity!
Lady?s GAC bicycle
To celebrate International Women?s Day on 8th March, the chosen piece of the month is a lady's GAC bicycle, dating from the mid-20th century.
We mustn?t forget that bicycle making and cycling have deep roots in the history of Eibar and that its origin, of course, lies in the arms industry. After the arms crisis of the early 20th century, many manufacturers converted their old machinery to meet the new needs. Outstanding in this sector were big companies like GAC, Orbea and BH. However, we mustn?t forget other smaller workshops whose work was also important: Nicolas Arregui, Zeus, Cil, Gamma, Abelux and Echasa-Fenix.
The golden age of cycling in Eibar occurred between 1952 and 1974, a period of excellent cyclists like Cándido Arrizabalaga "Apotxiano", José Mardaras Nazabal, Andrés Arriaga "Basarri? and Félix Gojenola. But this time round we'd like to turn the spotlight on the name of María Magunacelaya, one of the female cyclists of the time, and who also won numerous races.
María was born in Ermua in 1904, and she was nicknamed Maoma, like her father. She worked from an early age making cartridges with her father, also starting to cycle in around 1925, when she would ride her brother's GAC. Given that at that time only a very few women rode bicycles, she bore the brunt of constant insults. At the end of the Civil War, she stopped cycling and turned to motorcycles; she could regularly be seen on her Lambretta. This extraordinary woman died in 2000, and her ashes were scattered on mount Arrate.
As well as being cyclists, women?s work in bicycle-making is highly remarkable. Among other jobs, they were excellent at assembling, painting and putting the final touches to the bikes, as well as packaging. According to a mid-20th century census, 6% of workers were women, although the percentage must in fact have been higher. The differences between men and women were enormous, particularly in respect to wages, rights, time off and job classification.
We must also point out that GAC was a pioneer in hiring women to work in their workshops in around 1925. This company founded by the Gárate family in 1892 was initially dedicated to manufacturing arms, particularly automatic pistols and revolvers, although they also made rifles and shotguns. In 1897 they changed their definition of workshop, which had maintained a staff of 32 workers until then, to become a factory. After the First World War they were obliged to reinvent themselves and diversify; hence, in 1927, as well as arms they started to make bicycles. To do it they simply had to adapt the machinery they had used to make the barrels for their weapons. In 1930 they completely stopped making arms and focussed solely on bicycles.
The bicycle we have chosen as piece of the month has a typical lady?s frame; it is maroon in colour and has white painted details on the frame and mudguards. We can see the GAC shield on the vertical bar, beneath the saddle, and the plaque identifying the company on the vertical bar underneath the handlebars. Another of the characteristics of lady?s bikes at that time are the ?skirt-protectors?, a net deliberately fitted over the back wheel to prevent skirts and dresses from becoming tangled in it.
Alfa manuals, statutes and reports
The piece of the month in February is more than a piece; it is a collection of Alfa publications.
Thanks to these publications we know the working conditions of its workers, their rights, privileges and obligations from the 40s to the 60s. But let?s start from the beginning: How and why was Alfa born? Here we have a brief history of one of Eibar?s biggest companies. In 1920, a group of arms workers joined forces to create a cooperative, called the ?Sociedad Anónima Cooperativa de Producción de Armas de Fuego Alfa?, with a capital of 300,000 pesetas. The first workshop had its premises in the Calle Vista Alegre. Although it started making revolvers of the Smith & Wesson type, or ?esmitzak?, given the circumstances at the end of the First World War, the company soon took the decision to make and sell sewing machines. This turn to sewing machines wasn?t simply a whim: making these machines was compatible with the kind of machinery they had and with the workers? skills. By then Alfa had changed its address to Paseo San Andrés.
In 1927 they produced 1,750 machines; however, by 1935 they were turning out 12,000 and were pioneers throughout Spain. Between workers and delivery staff, more than 1,000 families lived off Alfa at one point in time.
In 1946 they started selling abroad, and by the 60s they already had their own market network: sales branches, representatives and agencies in all of the capital cities. They exported to more than 70 countries, above all to the UK, France and Mexico, where they also had a factory. As well as being the biggest factory in Eibar, it was also the most famous and respected. In fact, workers at Alfa seemed to have a different, more privileged status.
For decades they remained faithful to their purpose, or reason to be, as a cooperative created to provide a service to society. The workers at Alfa, as can be seen from these books, enjoyed greater benefits than the workers in any other company: financial assistance for their retirement, in the case of illness, for widows, and for buying medicine, among others. They also built houses for those who worked there; created schools and summer camps for their children; and provided canteens, shops and libraries for their workers and office staff.
Some of the most interesting curiosities we discovered when reading these documents are: ? The rules for those insured stipulating the steps to be taken in the event of being off work with illness. ? On the list of specialised doctors, Dermatology is explained as being a service that treats skin ailments; and the Endocrinology service is called ?Nutrition and Internal Secretions." There was also a pediatrics surgery for the workers? children in the Avenida del Generalísimo. ? If they were off work due to illness, the workers had the right, for up to six months, to receive 37% or their wages; however, they were subject, among others, to the following conditions: ?Not to enter any public establishment, and very specifically those selling food and drink? and ?To go home before 9 o?clock at night in summer and 6 o?clock in winter.? ? Workers at Alfa, or their wives, received a bonus of 500 pesetas (3 euros) when they got married and for every child born. Widows or orphans received 1,000 pesetas (6 euros), as well as a monthly pension, the amount of which depended on the number of children (90% of the wage for 5 children or more). ? Workers retiring after 20 years of service had the right to receive 70% of their wage as a pension; however, if they worked for 35 years, they received 85%. ? The library was open from 6:30 to 19:30. For every book taken out they had to pay 0.50 pesetas (0.003 euros), and, if they lost the receipt, the fine was 2 pesetas (0.012 euros). The worker could borrow one ?light reading? book and another on the subject of their work, but never two easy readers at the same time. Consult the documents here Don?t miss this chance of a first-hand look at the Museum?s small collection of manuals and statutes.
Damascene cigarette case by Pablo Sarasua
On January 18th the Arms Industry Museum will celebrate its 11th anniversary, and it has received a marvellous gift ahead of time: a damascene cigarette case by Pablo Sarasua.
The incrustation of precious metals in iron or steel is a technique above all attributed to the Arabs of the Middle East. However, it would seem that the Greeks and the Romans too were familiar with this kind of engraving. With respect to the Basque Country, we know that by the 17th century both firearms and steel weapons were engraved, particularly using the ataujía and niello techniques. These two procedures can be considered cousins of the damascene work developed by Eusebio Zuloaga in Eibar.
To embed the gold thread in the steel, Eusebio Zuloaga would prepare the surface by carving out little diamond-shaped grooves with a bradawl. Thanks to this system, the rough surface became ideal for embedding the gold thread into almost microscopic grooves to create highly elaborate images.
This damascene system was improved by his son Plácido. He realised that, when observed with a magnifying glass, the grooves made with the bradawl were irregular. He therefore came up with the idea of carving the grooves with a knife, making for faster work on a more precise and regular surface. This system meant that damascene could be used to decorate more objects, like this cigarette case, and not only to embellish weapons.
The cigarette case is damascened by Pablo Sarasua (Eibar 1885-1969). Married to Gregoria Gisasola, Sarasua was one of the finest damascene craftsmen in Eibar, particularly when it came to shading and relief work. In fact, the trade and skill had been passed down through his family. His father Donato had studied under Plácido Zuloaga and opened his own workshop at Calle Errebal 16 in 1857. At the age of only 27, Queen María Cristina gave him the Cross as Knight of the Order of Isabella the Catholic for his merits as an engraver. Pablo?s work was also recognised worldwide when Pope Pius XI received him personally at a special audience.
The shading technique is enormously important in damascene work, since it brings the images to life. The shading is clearly appreciable in the allegoric images of this cigarette case.
This little gem is a donation by Joseba Sarasua Gisasola made in December 2017. But it is not the only piece donated by the family, given that the March piece of the month was an amphora in damascene work by Pablo himself also belonging to the family. Come on along to the Museum and take a close look at these works of art made in Eibar!
Kitchen utensils by Industrias Albizuri
Now that Christmas is just around the corner and we?ll be spending hours in the kitchen, our chosen piece of the month is a selection of kitchen utensils by Industrias Albizuri.
Industrias Albizuri was founded by siblings Ángel and José Albizuri in 1945. They initially machined parts for the automotive industry, but soon started to make dies, hardware and snap rings for safety belts.
They first of all set up shop in ground floor premises in the Calle Víctor Sarasqueta, formerly Calle Grabadores, not far from the family home. In the late 50s they moved the company to the area of Legarre, where they continued their activity, exporting to countries in both South America and Europe, until they closed their doors in 1995.
They mainly concentrated on producing bradawls and snap rings, and their kitchen utensil range was more of a side-line; but even so we thought it was interesting to show the public this selection of pieces, since they are part of Eibar's industrial history and heritage. From the dozens of pieces in our possession, we chose four in stainless steel with red wood handles: a potato peeler, an apple corer and two knife sharpeners (one large and one small). Also, given that they are unusual pieces, we have selected a nutcracker and multi-use tin opener ?for outings?, both in stainless steel. Also in the exhibit is a list of Industrias Albizuri prices and a visiting card.
If it?s cold outside, come along and see these pieces in the Museum!
These pieces were donated to the Arms Industry Museum by Ángel Albizuri Ormaechea in April 2011.
Orbea bicycle saddle
Making the most of the temporary exhibition of bicycles made in Eibar in the 50s, our chosen piece of the month for October is this leather bicycle saddle by Orbea.
The saddle has an iron base, two springs for good cushioning and 9 copper rivets. The maker?s logo is visible on both sides. The first leather bicycle saddle was made in Birmingham by JB Brooks & Co. John Boultbee Brooks, who left his Leicestershire hometown with 20 pounds in his pocket, founded a company in 1866 to make horse reins and leather articles in general. In 1878 Mr. Brooks lost his horse; being unable to replace it, he asked for the loan of a bicycle to ride to work. He found the saddle so uncomfortable that he set about looking for a solution, and on 28th October 1882 patented his first leather saddle. The new product was a success all over Europe.
In 1927 JB Brooks & Co. launched the B66CH ?Champion? model, the most popular saddle of its time, very similar to this one by Orbea, with two springs and copper rivets.
Around the same time Orbea Hermanos y Cía left the arms business to start making bicycles. But what are Orbea?s origins? The first seed was planted in Eibar in the mid-19th century by brothers Juan Manuel, Mateo and Casimiro, with short steel-bladed instruments being their star product and the government their main customer. The Orbea factory was also a pioneer in electric power installations. In the 20th century, after the golden era of weapon making in Eibar with the sale of arms to the allied armies during World War I, demand fell and a limit was placed on weapon exports, prompting the company to take up new products and make the most of their skill with piping. By the 40s, Orbea was already employing 1,000 people and producing 50,000 bicycles a year.
During the 30s and 40s, saddles, together with tyres and wooden rims, were pieces brought in from places other than the mother company, for the quality of which the suppliers themselves had to respond. However, by the 60s, everything, except the rubber tyres, was being made at the Orbea installations. By way of an anecdote, saddles of this kind, which can be seen in photographs and catalogues of Orbea bikes in the 40s and 50s, take around 800 km of riding to wear in, but from then on, they tend to be incredibly comfortable.
Donated by: Carlos Narbaiza
NAI roller skates
The piece we have chosen for July is an alternative means of transport: roller skates made by NAI.
The first kind of roller skates made had blades and were invented in the Nordic countries for moving on ice. According to certain sources, they were used B.C. (the Common Era), but didn't acquire their current look until the 19th century (the first blades were made in bone and the skates were hugely uncomfortable). Skates with wheels, however, were created in the 18th century. We must remember that the earliest versions came as a sort of platform to which shoes were attached with straps. Roller skates with boots were invented last century, but before those there were many models (and probably injuries).
The piece we have here is clearly a pair of ice skates, specifically of the classic type (there are another two kinds: hockey and speed). The blade is a single piece of hardened steel, with seven teeth on the front going by the name of 'toe pick?. Although in roller skates this is usually where the brake is located, in ice skating use of the toe pick for this purpose is not recommended and it is normally only used to perform artistic skating moves such as toe loops. The upper part of the ice skates are high white boots, with their original laces. If we look carefully, we can see that the top of the laces are held in place with hooks to give freedom of movement while holding the foot firmly in place. The boots are made in strong leather to prevent the ankle from twisting. Also worth noting is that the blade is fixed to the boots with screws.
As an anecdote we have noticed the word ANOETA written on the lower part of the boots, perhaps because the only place with a permanent skating rink in Gipuzkoa is precisely in Anoeta and these skates were used there. But this is only an assumption.
The blade is also engraved, telling us that the piece was made by the Eibar company NAI, the workshop created by Carlos Narbaiza in the 50s. In this company which occupied different premises in Eibar all sorts of things were made: skates, skateboards and small automotive parts.
But Carlos Narbaiza did more than that. On retiring he set about compiling pieces produced in Eibar, creating a collection of enormous value. Bicycles, washing machines, pieces and tools of all sizes, damascene ware, etc., everything has its place in this collection of more than 2,000 pieces. After Carlos died, the family donated his collection to the town council and today the Museum is cataloguing the items. By means of this piece of the month we wanted to highlight Nai and its work from among all of the companies represented in the collection (Super-Ego, Abelux, Alfa, etc.), and thereby thank Carlos Narbaiza once again for his invaluable help in preserving Eibar?s industrial memory.
The piece we have selected for June is for the nostalgic among us: an Amaya typewriter.
In the 19th century, office work was already widespread. However, all of the documents were still written by hand, making the work very slow. Although at that time several attempts were made to develop an automatic form of writing, typewriters weren't commercialised until the 1870s. The first company to do so was the famous North American brand, Remington.
Around 1920, typewriters overcame the initial difficulties and a ?standard? design was achieved. Despite the differences from one model to another, almost all machines used the following mechanism: each key was connected to a type with the corresponding character in relief on its opposite end. On pressing a key, the type would strike an inked ribbon pulled across a cylinder which held the paper in place and moved forwards and backwards. This is how the characters were marked on the paper.
As far as Spain is concerned, typewriters arrived in the 1920s, reaching their moment of greatest fame in the 70s. Despite the most famous brand being Hispano-Olivetti, a number were also made in Eibar: for example, the company Imperial Española S.A. located in the Calle Bilbao produced the Patria model, released in 1947. With time, this model, inspired in another Swiss machine, took on the name of Amaya. This is the origin of the piece of the month.
This piece arrived at the museum in 2009 thanks to a donation by Mateo Guilabert Lopetegi, and is in very good condition. Being portable, it comes with its plastic case, which has a handle on the top for transport. The machine itself is made in metal and plastic, grey with blue details. On the front we can read the brand name, with two wings on the sides. The keyboard has numbers and symbols.
As an anecdote, on the left of the keyboard the machine has a lever for choosing the ribbon colour (blue or red). Thanks to a patent for the invention in 1960, we know that this lever was invented by Pedro de Arieta-Arunabeña y Ruiz, and that for at least 20 years Imperial Española S.A. had permission to use it. It would seem that prior to this invention the lever for changing colour was very close to the segment, making its use difficult. Thanks to the new location, changing colour became faster and easier. Also, thanks to this detail we can say in complete certainty that the piece we have at the Museum dates from the 60s or 70s, and that it is not therefore the first Amaya model produced by the brand.
In today?s world, where we are up to our ears in computers, it's not such a bad idea to cast our eyes back every now and again to remember how things were not all that long ago.
La Paloma Shotgun Mod. PR, engraved by Mateo Careaga.
La Paloma Shotgun Mod. PR, engraved by Mateo Careaga, which was on display in the 1937 Paris exposition.
At the Museum we have prepared a very complete agenda for the month of May. Among the activities we will carry out, on May 6th (this Saturday), we will open the exhibition ?Gernika. The cry of pain?.
As is well known, Picasso?s enormous mural captured all the attention in the Spanish pavilion at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques held in the Paris of 1937: Gernika, painted by its author, moved by the events of 26th April in the town of the same name, and which became all of an anti-war symbol.
Although they went more unnoticed, arms manufacturers and engravers from Eibar were also present at that exposition, with the intention of displaying their work and showing the world just what the people of Eibar were capable of. The exhibition we have prepared is a homage to of those all artists, like the piece chosen for this month, whose work was shown at that Parisian exposition: the La Paloma shotgun Mod. PR, engraved by Mateo Careaga. This hunting shotgun was manufactured in 1928 by the company Viuda e hijos de Juan José Sarasqueta. Juan José Sarasqueta started working as a weapon maker together with his brother Victor Sarasqueta in 1887. However, with time each went his own way, and in 1904 Juan José registered the La Paloma brand to distinguish his shotguns. After his death, the company changed its name to Viuda e hijos de Juan José Sarasqueta and went about its professional activity from 1920 until 1975.
Concentrating on its more technical aspects, we can say that this is a single-shot muzzleloader, 12mm calibre and with central percussion. It is manually loaded, and the barrel is break-open. Both the hammers and the trigger safety lock are joined to the side plate. If we look carefully, we will realise that the arm has two triggers, the first activates the right-hand barrel and the second the one on the left.
Decoration too is enormously important in this piece, given that it is adorned with beautiful bas-reliefs created by the engraver Mateo Careaga. On the side plate we can see traditional hunting scenes and different floral motifs engraved in relief. As for the author, Mateo Careaga came from a family of engravers from Eibar. He created works of great historical value, such as the coins of the Council of Asturias and León in 1937. He is also known for having been given the task of raising the Republican flag for the first time when the Second Republic was proclaimed in Eibar on 14th April 1931. As well as being in the 1937 exposition, this shotgun was presented to King Alfonso XIII in a visit by the monarch to the Astra, Unceta y Cia factory in 1928. It is therefore obvious that this weapon has an interesting historical background and that it is a great example of the quality and value of the work of the Eibar arms manufacturers.
It is therefore hard to believe that the shotgun was lost after the Paris exposition, and that nothing was known of its whereabouts until the side plate turned up in an Eibar repair shop in the 50s. Astonished by the origin of the engraving, the workers contacted the damascene expert Pablo Sarasua, who just happened to be Mateo's uncle. Given that the barrel and the butt were missing, the weapon had to be rebuilt, but it finally returned to the hands of the Careaga family. Thus, 30 years after its creation, Mateo added the decorative details of the barrel.
- H. stationary bike
The piece we?ve chosen for April is a bike, but not just any old bike: this is the first stationary bike produced by the famous B.H. brand
The letters B.H. stand for Beistegui Hermanos, originally from Eibar. It was created in 1909 by three brothers (Domingo, Juan and Cosme) who had started out as weapon makers. But when the arms industry was thrown into crisis after the end of World War I, they began making bicycles in 1923. In no time they had a cycling team and were organising races. However, in 1959, realising the lack of suitable space to continue growing in Eibar, the company moved to Vitoria. It was one of the first big companies to leave Eibar, an early sign of the business exodus which was to spread in the 70s.
Today it is still a famous brand, particularly for being the first European manufacturers to produce mountain bikes (MTB in English) and for their international expansion. It is interesting to note that their Vitoria plant has been closed since 2012; today the company only produces in Portugal and China.
The bike we see here is a stationary model controlled by mechanical brake. It only has a front wheel, connected to a chain and a brake. The brake friction prevents the user from freewheeling and its resistance can be adjusted using the knob (between the two handlebars) to obtain a gentler or harder pedalling strength. It is pale green in colour, with a red leather sprung saddle and metal handlebars. It also comes with a chain cover printed with the brand name and the drawing of a gazelle. B.H. Gacela was one of the company?s brand designs and it brought out several models, particularly in the 60s and 70s. The chassis has two stickers displaying the company?s former logo (a red cyclist) and giving information about the bike in Spanish and English, such as the name of the patent and the year and place of production: Vitoria 1959. Thanks to this information, we know that this was the first model of stationary bike made at the new Vitoria plant. The stickers also tell us that the chassis is arc welded, i.e. that the parts are joined by electric welding. Lastly, the bike has three frontal elements that make it even more unique: a manual timer for up to 30 minutes, a speedometer and a kilometre counter. As an accessory, it has a key at the back to adjust the height of the handlebar, the saddle and the rear of the chassis to suit different users. This is a delightful gem of the cycling world, a unique piece that surprises us with a new detail every time we look at it.
Damascene amphora by Pablo Sarasua
Amphoras are vessels used since ancient Roman times; they are recognisable for their long neck and two handles. They have had myriad purposes down through history, but their best known use is for storing wine or oil.
This said, the small size of our piece (33cm tall) and the material used to make it lead us to believe that it was conceived for ornamental purposes. While amphoras are generally made of clay, the one we have here is iron, since damascene ware can only be made with iron or steel.
Damascening is a technique whereby fine strands of gold or silver are used to create drawings; it was first used and revamped in 19th century Eibar by Eusebio Zuloaga. With time it became the town?s most famous and highly appreciated technique, particularly for decorating weapons. When Eusebio?s son, Plácido, improved the procedure by introducing the cutting technique (which meant ?preparing? the metal by making incisions in three directions before inserting the thread), damascene use spread to other kinds of objects, such as this piece. Pablo Sarasua (Eibar 1885-1969), one of Eibar?s greatest damascene artists, made this amphora somewhere around 1948. He was particularly skilled at shading, the technique that brings damascene figures to life and can be particularly appreciated in the beautiful animal figures featured on the amphora. We must remember that Pablo inherited his trade and skill from the family, since his father was Donato Sarasua, an apprentice under Plácido Zuloaga and creator of the Sarasua Etxea damascening shop in the Calle del Rabal.
This piece was given to the museum in 2014 by Joseba Sarasua (Pablo?s son). He also donated numerous tools used by his father. That same year Naría Asun Nogues restored the amphora to ensure that it would maintain its ancient splendour for many years to come.
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.