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LSA engrave
London Small Arms Company Ltd
Country of Origin

Great Britain

Location(s)

Tower Hamlets, London (UK)

Year of Founding

1866

Year of Closure

1935

Fate

Closed

Weapon Types

Rifles

Famous Firearms

Martini-Enfield

Area(s) served

Great Britain


The London Small Arms Company Ltd (often shortened to LSA) was a London based firearm manufacturer that operated from 1866 until 1935. For the majority of its time the LSA played second fiddle to the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) and RSAF Enfield in terms of production figures and hence focused on producing high quality firearms instead (a reputation it has held to this day).

HistoryEdit

LSA was founded in 1866 by members of the London Armoury Company in the aftermath of its closure earlier that year. Based in Tower Hamlets in London, England, LSA had the aim of competing with RSAF Enfield (also based in London) and BSA (based in Birmingham) which had both been formed a few years earlier. It, like the other companies, started its production run with a contract to produce rifles for the British Army.

In 1867, LSA and BSA agreed (together) to maintain workers wages and fix rifle prices, ensuring that both companies could fulfill orders from the British Government. Both LSA and BSA continued in this fashion until BSA began to diversify, building vehicles and other equipment while at the same time expanding. LSA, on the otherhand, were limited to firearm production and, due to the lack of space in London, had limited expansion.

LSA factory

The LSA factory as it stood in c. 1906.

This fact is highlighted in years prior to the First World War. RSAF Enfield were producing 1,000 rifles (and repairing a further 1,000 or so) in a week and BSA were finishing 750 rifles in a single week, alongside the production of vehicles and equipment. LSA, however, were only capable of producing 250 rifles in a week (although it was conceeded by many that LSA's rifles were of better quality than the other companies). During the war the British Government put pressure on LSA and BSA to produce more rifles, although by 1915 LSA had no more room to expand and figures remained around the 250 mark.

The 1920s and 30s were an era marked by appeasment by the British and little interest in warfare (particularly as the Great War had resulted in an anti-war feeling in Britain). As a result LSA gradually fell from prominance, loosing out to BSA (as they diversified) and RSAF Enfield (as the British Army held a stake in them) and by 1935 was dissolved, although it is likely that LSA had ceased trading prior to that point.

ProductsEdit

LSA produced several of Britain's early breechloading rifles and early magazine rifles on behalf of the British Army. These rifles included:

Production continued post First World War, although the precise list of products LSA produced is unclear.

ResourcesEdit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Small_Arms_Co._Ltd

http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb1502-gm/2047

http://www.littlegun.info/arme%20britannique/artisan%20k%20l/a%20london%20small%20arms%20co%20gb.htm - Info + LSA engraving

https://www.facebook.com/LondonSmallArmsCoLtdhistory - Info + LSA factory image

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