Some of the most beautiful work of this craftsman, and many others, are in this book “Liège Gunmakers through their Work. 1800 - 1950”.

For more detail see: LIEGE GUNMAKERS

Pieper Nicolas

Here is a very interesting Legia toy rifle from one of the members of the Pieper dynasty, in this case Nicolas Pieper; it is more precisely the Model A, dating from the immediate post-war period (1 WW).

Since it is not a weapon per se, there is no punch of proofhouse. On the right side there is the mention Carabine Legia and a drawing of the Liège "peron" (which looks a lot like the trademark for the Legia pistol filed on 22 June 1915), on the left side there is the mention “fabrication Liègeoise” surrounding the initials NP by Nicolas Pieper which are very similar (but also convoluted...) to the trademark filed on 7 January 190 7.

On page 158 of Michel Druart’s book “Bayard, les hommes, les armes et les machines du Chevalier Pieper & Cie” (of which a new English version is expected soon), there is a historical background to the toy guns manufactured during and after the First World War as part of Operation "Panem Labore", encouraging the manufacture of many objects, including toy guns. to employ “technically unemployed” workers in the armoury industry.

The mechanism allowed to “pull with paper primers containing some black powder or capsules to extinguish a light placed at close range” (for all models). All of these toys – except Model A – also fired small projectiles (called Number 3).

The Model A toy rifle in question is covered by advanced patent 273370 dated April 18, 1918, applicable to main patent 270 792 dated December 24, 1915.

It can be found on the page of a 1919 catalogue reproduced below.

Two remarks: the trigger guard is not original but comes from an older weapon, perhaps Dutch.

I also wonder about the nature and use of the part near the lower strap hitch, which is not shown on the catalogue page. It reminds me of the extraction rod found on the Bayard 1912 semi-automatic rifles. But you’d have to unscrew it to find out more.

It is in any case a very rare piece, almost 100 years old, in very good condition, which has resisted not only the outrages of time, but also and especially those of children’s games!

GP with the effective and much appreciated help of PHL and MD.

The NP trademark was registered on April 21, 1906 while Nicolas Pieper was still in the Rue Hayeneux 64 in Herstal.

The Legia Pistol trademark was registered on June 22, 1915, when Nicolas was enrolled in Rue Bonne Nouvelle 5 in Liège, however, I can’t find any trace of a trademark registration for the Legia rifle logo.


 The "convoluted NP" seems to me very close to the one of the pistol plate, model registered in 1907.

For the Legia brand, didn't he just take over the trademark registered in 1915 for an automatic pistol? There is still a lot of unexplained in Nicolas' story..


Back to "Nicolas PIEPER"