Weapons factory of Charleville

In 1667 Minister Louvois created around Charleville a network to recover weapons produced by numerous craftmen. In 1675 the Charleville arms factory became the first official french weapons factory. Although it was located in Charleville in the French Ardennes, it worked with many workshops in the Meuse valley, particularly in Nouzon. In 1688, the Royal Factory Charter was granted to all the city’s gunsmiths, and particularly to Victor Fourier, whose production was for the King only. In 1717 the first official regulated gun is produced by the factory, followed by the 1743, 1746, 1754, 1763, 1766 and the famous 1777 model. During the Revolution the city changed its name to Libreville (Free city) and reverted back to Charleville in 1800. The factory was at its peak during Napoleon reign. In 1816, Restauration slowed down its output, focusing on exceptional weapons like the King’s bodyguards guns. The factory closed out in 1836, considered too close to the border. Its guns are now highly sought after by collectors.