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Charleville Royal Armoury by ExpoAntique

Charleville Royal Armoury by ExpoAntique
Charleville muskets were used at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759


Charleville Royal Armoury by ExpoAntique : The Charleville Royal Armoury (Manufacture d'armes de Charleville or Manufacture royale de Charleville), founded in 1675 and in production until 1836, was a French arms manufacturer based in Charleville (Ardennes), with a network of craftsmen and numerous workshops in the Meuse valley. The famous Ardennes rifles and pistols made by the Manufacture Royale and then the Manufacture Impériale de Charleville have travelled the world, and existing examples remain highly sought-after by collectors.





Successive wars in the 17th and 18th centuries forced France and its various territories and colonies to build gun factories. The first and best-known of these was in Charleville. In 1675, a factory was founded in Charleville, initially through the creation of a network for the recovery of weapons made by numerous craftsmen and makers around Charleville, which would supply firearms exclusively for the king.


The Charleville musket, in its various models, was used by French troops on the battlefields of Europe, but also in North America, in particular for the troops commanded by Marshal de Montcalm who was killed at the siege of Quebec by the English in September 1759.


Use of the Charleville musket was also decisive at the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781, when Lieutenant General de Rochambeau, sent by Louis XVI to lead 10,800 French troops, and the American General George Washington, with 6,500 men, defeated Lord Cornwallis' English troops, bringing the American War of Independence to an end.


At the time, 20,000 guns were produced each year, many of them donated by France to the American Patriots. The Americans made copies of the Charleville 1777 model at their Springfield Armory. These Springfield U.S. rifles were their first regulation weapons.


In France, during the Revolution, Charleville became Libreville and the locks were engraved with this name for a short period. Under the First Empire, production increased steadily in Charleville, reaching 50,000 guns in 1812. 1,700 workers were employed at the time, marking the heyday of the Manufacture. In 1816, the Restoration and peace in Europe led the Manufacture to manufacture smaller quantities of exceptional weapons, including the very rare rifles for the King's bodyguard.

The factory was closed down in 1836, as it was considered to be too close to the new frontiers of 1815, in the event of invasion. The company's closure led to the ruin of many other Ardennes entrepreneurs and craftsmen.


Weapons produced


It is estimated that the Manufacture de Charleville produced around 72 models of rifle and 24 models of pistol. We are pleased to offer you the main models sought after by collectors:


The Charleville 1728 musket

The Charleville 1777 musket

The Dragon Charleville 1777 cavalry musket


We invite you to consult our catalogue of reproduction muskets, rifles and pistols from the 18th century to


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