The Meaning of "Ars Mechanica" (Ars Mechanica Foundation)?

FN titled their factory historical work “Ars Mechanica” and the foundation overseeing FN’s preservation efforts is called the Ars Mechanica Foundation.

Ars Mechanica is Latin for “Mechanical Art”, while this term of mechanical art is relatively new to FN, the concept was first brought forward by FN’s Master Engraver Felix Funken in the late 1920s. Funken wanted to embellish (engrave) automatic weapons, especially the Auto-5, and show that these could be appreciated as pieces of art. This was a direct response to the old European concept that high-grade and artistic shotguns had to be a side-by-sides.

Is “Ars Mechanica” an odd name? Certainly, but this can be explained by looking at the local culture. Belgium has always had a classical education, rooted in classic languages like Roman and Greek. Latin and Greek are common in high school curricula. So for people in Belgium, a Latin term or name makes perfect sense. Not so for the Anglosphere!

Than there is also FN’s referral and use of the name “Vulcan”, the mythological god of fire, which was historically used for professions dealing with metal working… but I will leave that history aspect for another posting.

Personally I would have selected a more internationally viable and understandable name, but it is nice to know the significance behind their choice.


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