G.E. note : I tried to keep the 1895 spelling and typography )
If there be an industry of which there be generally little
known by the consumer, it is the manufacture of the genuine damask
Competition has benefited by this ignorance to work easily a counterfeit
and substitute by an ingenious proceeding an imitation or false
damask to the genuine one.
It is in order to caution the public against this trickery that
the " Union of gunbarrel manufacturers " take the liberty of sending
you the following notice together with a textuel copy of a request
submitted to Government for repressive measures.
Notice on the manufacture of
BARRELS FOR SPORTINGGUNS
False damask and steelbarrels.
The high favour in which damask barrels for sportingguns have
been for so many years, procured them lately the honour of another
attack by the manufacturers of steelbarrels. Several international
exhibitions and quite recently that of Antwerp, proclaimed the
unquestionable superiority of the damask barrel.
Nevertheless the Union of gunbarrel manufacturers of the Valley
of the Vesdre beg leave to enumerate the causes of this superiority,
which are so numerous and convincing, that whatever may be the
perfection, they pretend, the steelbarrel to have attained, it
can never be expected to compete successfully with the damask
raw material, iron and steel, used in the manufacture of the damask
barrels is always of good quality. This material, methodically
mixed, is formed into lumps mesuring at their sections 14 to 16
square centimeters, and after having passed a first time through
the rolling mill come out welded to 40 square m/m.
bar thus obtained is then cut into bandes of a certain length,
which are put again into the furnace and afterwards pass through
the rolling mill and mesure then 6 to 7 square m/m.These
rods are subsequently heated to incandescence, twisted, assembled
and soldered by the hammer in bundels of 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 rods, according
to the quality of damask to be obtained; they are hammered until
they form a band of a section 14 X 4, which is then spirally twisted
round a mandrel. Thence it is brought to the forge where the workman
solders upall the joints of the spiral, one to another giving
three glowings to each joint. Only after this work we have got
the rough outline of a barrel.
In order to obtain this result the material has twice gone through
the rollingmill and twice it has been hammered. We do not need
to remark, that after such work this material has got an elasticity,
a tenacity and compactedness never before obtained.
material of the genuine damask barrel thus wrought is not only
of an excellent quality, but it is disposed of in a way to obtain
the greatest resistance. Indeed in gunbarrel the transverse section
has most to sustain and in the damask barrel as a result of the
spiral rolling the section of the barrel corresponds, or at least
nearly does, to the section of the band, e. i. the most strained
section is at the same time the most resisting.
Each gunbarrel being tried with a shot double of that contained
in the cartridge generally used by the hunter, it must be considered
impossible to meet with an accident; however it sometimes happens
that a barrel bursts in the hand of the hunter. This accident
does not occur with the true damask barrel, for by reason of the
tenacity and, elasticity we have spoken of here above, it can
sustain the vibrations of an unlimited number of shots, while
the steelbarrel, the material of which has not undergone the same
operations, does not offer the same resistance and gives way after
a certain number of shots; its transverse section perpendicular
to the rollingcurve breaks like glass; this kind of accidents
mostly occur in winter.
We willingly admit the steelbarrel to be suitable for warguns
which require more thickness of the metal but it never can be
a substitute for the true damask barrel with sportingguns.
deed an essential condition with the barrel of the latter is little
weight united to resistance and elasticity.
qualities are the result of the combination of the different iron
and steelparts, so carefully arranged and wrought as to show distinctly
the deficiency of the workman or the defect of the material used
in the design in which the damask consists. Can it therefore be
astonishing to find the damask barrel unrivaled in the principal
markets of the old and the new world. Is it to be wondered that
Liege remains the principal purveyor of guns and fine gunbarrels
for France notwithstanding St-Etienne, for Germany and England
in spite of London and Birmingham ?
foreign firearms manufacturers have tried in vain to make the
damask barrel but the result they obtained has only more strikingly
shown the real superiority of our products. The unsuccessfulness
of the several trials made in foreign countries can easily be
explained if we consider the complexity of the manufacture of
the damask barrel and the importance of the skill of the workman
which for that kind of barrel hardly can be found outside of the
province of liege.
Being only manual, this manufacture has hitherto not found an
application for mechanical motors.
As a consequence of the inability to take the monopoly of this
manufacture from Belgium, it is quite natural that in other countries
they were looking for a substitute for the damask barrel and it
is necessary to caution the hunter against these imitations. There
is nothing to show better the superiority of the damask barrel
than the way in which certain fire arms manufacturers, by a disloyal
and deceptory competition sell their goods under the appearance
of an imitation damask, consisting in a coat of varnish given
to an ordinary iron or steelbarrel, imitating the genuine damask
by a cleverly combined design.
Other competitors try in a more loyal and honest manner to supplant
the damask barrel by the steelbarrel.
Considering the high favour in which steel stands in the iron
industry they advertise pompously in favour of the, new barrel.
After what has been said here before we can not hesitate to believe
this trial as vain as the others have been and that it will serve
only to assert more strongly the quality and value of our products.
official approval our gunbarrels receive after a severe trial
exacted at the Government trial of firearm highly confirm our
assertion; No wonder therefore that guns with genuine damask barrels
so very seldom meet with accidents.
With reference to the Government trialstation for firearms we
feel obliged to add a few words about this national institution,
the high management of which is entrusted by the Government to
a man of exceptional competence in this matter, Mr Jules Polain,
Engeneer and Doctor juris.
By his extensive knowledge and untiring devotion he has made out
of this institution an establishment unique of its kind which
contributes highly to the universal fame of Belgian fire arms.
Into this establishment there come dayly thousands of damask and
steelbarrels and it is astonishing how little the waste is with
Let us, to finish with, call attention to another quality of the
damask barrel e. i. that always before bursting the genuine damask
barrel calls attention to the danger by a certain, swelling, while
steelbarrels burst suddenly, and often cause very severe accidents.
(S.) The Union of gunbarrel manufacturers of the Valley of the
Vesdre Province of Liege (Belgium).
To the President and Membres of the House
of representatives at Brussels.
board of the "Union of gunbarrel manufacturers of the Valley of
the Vesdre" take the respectful liberty to draw your kind attention
to the actual situation of the industry of the fire arms manufacture.
The crisis of which it is suffering is growing every day. At Liege,
the principal place for fire arms and its environs, work is continually
diminishing and wages are depreciated to the last degree.
What are the causes of this general uneasiners? There are several
and we take leave to mention to you the most recent :
Protectionisme grown to excess in all the neighbouring
countries as well as in the United States dreaded to shut to us
all outlets of any importance.
In order to meet this eventuality the fire arms manufacturers
of Liege have made the most straining efforts to produce fire
arms at extremely low prices. To reach this result it was not
only necessary to lower the earnings of all those interested in
the manufacturers but even the quality of the goods. So it came
that the steelbarrel was in very numerous cases substituted to
the damask barrel. It would be tedious to show the superioty of
the damask barrel with the steelbarrel, which latter may be convenient
for warguns on account of the thickness of its barrel, it is dangerous
for the sporting gun, the lesser weight of which is an indispensable
quality; but this lightness, renders the steelbarrel unfit to
resist to the vibrations of repeated shooting, on account of the
want of elasticity in the used material.
This superiority is too highly apreciated by connoisseurs as that
we could be much frightened by the competition of the steelbarrel.
But, Gentlemen, we should not have asked for your high protection,
if there were not a second cause of ruin to our industry.
2. In order to hide from the inexperienced buyer the substitution
on of the steelbarrel to the damaskbarrel they have made it a
custom in the Liege fire arms manufactories to give to the steelbarrel
a varnish coating and by a clever proceeding they make a design
imitating perfectly that of the genuine, damaskbarrel and go even
so far as to put on the band the names of our choicest damasks
such as: "Bernard Damask", "Turkish Damask", "Damask Crollé",
It is necessary to mention here that with the damaskbarrel, in
consequence of the intelligent mixing of the different parts of
iron and steel and the elever working of the same, there appears,
under the action of sulfuric acide, a fine design pierces through
aud through the barrel aud is not ouly a mere changeable varnish
like that covering the steelbarrel.
imitation has not only as a consequence to diminish the manufacturing
of the genuine damask the price of which is higher, but also to
charge the damaskbarrel with the responsibility for the numerous
accidents which occur with the steelbarrel. There is for the industry
of the gunbarrel manufacture of the valley of the Vesdre a cause
to prejudice growing more considerable every day. On one part
the ignorant buyer is deceived an account of the quality of the
goods, on the other part this imitation is very hurtful to the
trade of the genuine damaskbarrel.
Under these circumstances the situation of the manufacturers as
well as the workmen of the Valley of the Vesdre is a very critical
the Union of the gunbarrel manufacturers is of opinion that nothing
better could be done than to beg you to forbid by an efficient
law a disloyal competition.
It is necessary by all means that strangers know what they are
buying and that imitation damaskbarrels be sold as such and that
they be at once decerned from the genuine ones.
nothing would be easier: In the same way as by the law an falsification
of eatables, the butterdealer is obliged to render it possible
by a label to distinguish butter from margarine, the Union of
gunbarrel manufacturers beg you to make a law obliging the firearms
manufacturers of Liege henceforward to grave on the barrel with
imitation damask the notice ? "False Damask" or the translation
of it in the language of the country for whichit is manufactured.
Gentlemen, we dare to hope that Parliament as far as possible,
will contribute to the maintaining of the secular and so essentially
Belgian industry of the damaskbarrel manufacture.
beg, Gentlemen, to agree the homage of our respectful consideration.
Union of the gunbarrel manufacturers of the Valley
the Vesdre (province of Liege, Belgium).