This fully functional 53mm breech loading rifle is mounted on a steel carriage with wooden spoke wheels and steel tires. The wheel hubs are fitted with large, automotive-type drum brakes with a lever on the side of the carriage, to keep the gun from rolling backward due to recoil. It loads through a lever actuated dropping breech block typical of the era, and is fired by a rope lanyard (present and serviceable). The traverse and elevation is controlled by round, brass wheels which are fully functional. A rapid fire thumb switch on the breech operating handle determines whether the firing pin drops only when the lanyard is pulled, or every time the breech closes. It is equipped with one sub-caliber insert for a 10 gauge shot shell, intended for use of a flare.
In 1811, Friedrich Krupp founded Gusstahlfabrik, a cast-steel factory, and in 1816 he was able to produce smelted steel. However, in 1826, Krupp died, and his 14 year-old son, Alfred Krupp, left school to take over the steel works. In 1847, Alfred developed his first cast steel cannon, a 6-pounder weighing 4,300lb, which he exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
In spite of Alfred’s belief in the superiority of breech-loading cannons, he knew the military remained loyal to muzzle-loaded cannons, and so he produced a 9cm muzzle-loading rifled gun made of cast steel in 1856. Shortly after, Krupp developed a cast steel breech-loading cannon, which unable to sell, he gave to the King of Prussia. Although the Prussian king used the cannon as a decorative piece, his brother saw its use, and upon becoming regent in 1859, Prussia began purchasing steel cannons from Krupp.
Throughout the 1860’s, Russia, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire purchased Krupp guns for their armies, and by the 1870’s, Krupp guns were being purchased by many countries around the world, from Chile to Siam.
His guns were so successful, that Krupp began developing naval guns which, starting in 1863, were manufactured for different navies, including the Astro-Hungarian and Russian navies. Krupp continued working on new developments, and in the 1880’s, introduced an 88mm naval gun, and a 75mm caliber gun, which was adopted as the official caliber for the army’s field and mountain guns.
In 1859, Friedrich’s son, Alfred Krupp, was taught about the Bessemer Process for mass production of steel, and eventually, he developed such high quality steel that the royal factory of Woolwich in England purchased steel from Krupp for manufacturing guns. Alfred Krupp developed a breechloading system with the use of the Broadwell ring, making him one of the first manufacturers to design practical breechloading guns for army use. His breechloading gun was considered the best of its time, and although initially he only sold his breechloading guns to Prussia, as of 1888, exportation began to countries all over the world.
A few years later, in 1897, the French introduced the 75mm quick-fire gun, prompting Krupp to develop his own 77mm rapid fire gun, which was used during World War I.