Ian over at Forgotten Weapons has come up with another interesting video: a tear-down and a range test of an Obregon pistol. Made in Mexico (many people forget that Mexico had an inventive and thriving arms industry at one time) it's sort of a John Browning meets Karl Krnka sort of affair. There are also a few surprises (like how the thumb safety is implemented.)
The gun is quite rare (there were, by most accounts, less than a thousand made circa 1930), and of course Ian not only gets the owner to let him tear it apart but also take it to the range and shoot it!
Many years ago I visited the now-defunct Harrah's automobile museum - the real, original one, not the neutered National Automobile Museum that currently bears the "Harrah Collection" monicker. It was amazing; I saw cars from companies that I didn't even know existed. One of the more interesting activities was having my picture taken with the two cars that bore my names: A Grant and a Cunningham. I had no idea those cars existed until I was standing next to them.
The Grant company sold what were apparently unremarkable vehicles, and was in business for a scant nine years. Cunningham, on the other hand, was a storied firm with an impressive pedigree.
James Cunningham, Son & Company of Rochester, NY was founded in 1862 as a carriage manufacturer. In fact, they became one of the largest such firms in the country. They were known for quality above all else, and were usually among the most expensive coaches available. They made the switch to automobile production in 1908, making both gasoline and electric models. They maintained their well-received focus on quality, and their first models sold for a whopping $3,500!
By 1916 they'd developed a 442 cubic inch V-8 engine which would become their trademark. By 1921, their town car model was selling for $8,100 - when a Ford Model T Runabout could be had for $370 and their four door sedan for only $725!
Around 1928 Cunningham's interests changed to aviation, and they dropped auto production entirely in 1931. In 1938 the company was reorganized to build electrical switching apparatus, which they did until the mid-1960s. The aircraft division, a joint venture between Cunningham and a fellow named Robert Hall, continued in business as an aircraft component maker until being closed in 1948.
Today all Cunningham cars are exceedingly rare and do not come up for sale very often. I've not seen another outside of the Harrah museum. In their heyday, though, driving a Cunningham - whether horse or mechanically powered - was the mark of sophistication and style (and a not-insignificant income!)
Here are a couple of videos of Cunningham autos; this first I included just because I like the word “Phaeton”!
(Never heard of the Model 1897 75mm cannon, an artillery piece so advanced that they justifiably considered it to be a state secret? Or the first high velocity smokeless powder rifle round, the 8x50mmR, aka "8mm Lebel"? Or how about the first autoloading rifle adopted by any military - the A6 Meunier? Or perhaps the first autoloading rifle to be in general service in any military - the Model 1917 RSC? Yes, all French. The toadying, indolent France of today is nothing like the truculent, innovative France of the early 20th century. Not everything ballistically innovative has come out of Utah or Springfield, and it would do us well to remember that.)
I've held - though never fired - both models, and must say that I was impressed with both the workmanship and design (given the vintage, of course.) I was particularly intrigued by the 1892, as its makers managed to construct a modern double action revolver with a surprisingly small number of very well made parts. The script engraving is, to my eye, quite fetching and makes them almost decorative.
The Model 1892 is fairly common, with nice examples selling for around $250-300. The Model 1873 is much scarcer, with very good specimens fetching north of eight bills. Very neat guns!