Manufacture d'armes de Châtellerault
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The Manufacture d'armes de Châtellerault, often abbreviated to MAC ("Châtellerault Arms Manufacturer" in English), was a French state-owned weapon manufacturer installed in the town of Châtellerault. It was created by royal decree of 14 July 1819 for the purpose of manufacturing swords, then (after 1850) firearms and cannons. Antoine Treuille de Beaulieu (1809–1885) began to develop from 1840 the concept of rifled guns in the French Army. The MAC was the place that saw the creation in 1886, and later the mass production, of the Lebel rifle which was the main French infantry weapon used during the First World War (1914–18).
Following the French tradition of state arsenal competing with other arsenals and private industry, MAC designed and manufactured some of the French famous small arms, among them the FM 24/29 machine rifle, its derivatives the MAC 31, and MAC 1934, as well as the MAC 1950 (later MAS 1950) semi automatic pistol.
Some features of prototypes developed by MAC like the MAC 48 SMG, the MAC 1950 Machine Carbine or the MAC 1955 automatic rifle were retained with other designers' adopted weapons.
The facility closed as a weapon manufacturing facility in 1968 and has now been transformed into the central repository (Centre des Archives de l'Armement et du Personnel) of all the French military archives related to armament matters. It is open, for the older declassified material, to bona-fide researchers upon written request.
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