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INDUSTRIES: Business History of Weapons
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August 26, 1346 - Cannon, firing a round ball carved from rock, first used in battle in France (Edward III of England reportedly used 22 cannons during the defeat of Philip VI of France at Crécy);  chief effect, in the beginning, was psychological: burst of fire, loud noise effective in getting enemy's attention, made it impossible for them to forget that their lives in danger.

May 15, 1718 - James Puckle, London lawyer, received patent for a "Portable Gun or Machine...Call'd A Defence"; world's first machine gun.

1816 - Eliphalet Remington founded E. Remington and Sons in Ilion Gorge, NY; 1888 - acquired by Marcus Hartley and Partners, major sporting goods chain; May 1933 - majority interest acquired by DuPont; 1993 - acquired by Clayton, Dubilier, and Rice for $300 million; 2007 - acquired by Cerberus Capital $118 million; oldest company in United States which still makes its original product, oldest continuously operating manufacturer in North America, only U.S. manufacturer of both firearms,  ammunition products; one of largest domestic producers of shotguns, rifles.

February 25, 1836 - Samuel Colt, of Hartford, CT, received patent for a "Revolving Gun" ("Improvement in Fire-Arms"); revolving barrel multishot firearm; August 29, 1839 - received patent for "Improvement in Fire-Arms and in the Apparatus Used Therewith"; percussion-repeating revolver (revolving barrel multishot firearm that combined a single rifled barrel with a revolving chamber that held five or six shots); chamber revolved automatically, when the weapon was cocked for firing, to bring the next shot into line with the barrel; could be aimed with reasonable precision at a 30-40 yard distance because the interior bore was "rifled"--cut with a series of grooves spiraling down its length which caused the slug to spin rapidly as it left the barrel, gave it gyroscopic stability; five or six-shoot capacity made accuracy less important, since a missed shot could quickly be followed with others.

December 5, 1846 - Christian Frederick Schönbein, of Basle, Switzerland, received a U. S. patent for an "Improvement in Preparation of Cotton-Wool and Other Substances as Substitutes for Gunpowder"; mixture of concentrated acids to convert cellulose present in well-cleaned cotton-wool into cellulose nitrate.

January 4, 1847 - Samuel Colt  won contract to provide U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers (rescues his faltering company); 1850-1860 - Colt sold 170,000 "pocket" revolvers, 98,000 "belt" revolvers, mostly to civilians looking for a powerful and effective means of self-defense in the Wild West.

July 31, 1849 - Benjamin Chambers, of Washington, DC, received patent for a "Canon"; breech loading cannon (sped up the reloading process allowing troops to fire more rounds per minute). Prior to this technology, troops using musket loading guns and had to run to the front of the gun to reload thus wasting time and risking their lives.

1852 - Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed their first partnership in Norwich, CT with the aim of marketing a lever action repeating pistol that could use a fully self-contained cartridge; sold company to Oliver Winchester, a shirt manufacturer; February 14, 1854 - received a patent  for a "Magazine Firearm"; improvement in repeating firearms; August 8, 1854 - received patent for a "Cartridge" ("new or improved cartridge for Pistols, Rifles, or other Fire-Arms"); metal bullet cartridges; 1856 - formed second partnership to produce a small revolver designed to fire their patented Rimfire cartridge; first successful fully self-contained cartridge revolver available in the world (patented the revolver); 1869 - designed new revolver, Model 3 American, became known in the United States, was the first large caliber cartridge revolver, established Smith & Wesson as a world leader in handgun manufacturing (two most important customers - United States Cavalry, which purchased 1,000 units for use on the Western Frontier, and the Russian Imperial Government); February 3, 1914 - Smith & Wesson Voluntary Association registered "Smith & Wesson" trademark first used in 1857 (revolvers, pistols, [automatic pistols, rifles and guns and ammunition]; 1987 - acquired by Tomkins of London for $112.5 million.

1856 - Julius Gottfried Anschütz, son of gunsmith (Johann Heinrich Gottlieb Anschütz) established J. G. Anschütz in Zella-Mehlis, Thuringia,. Germany, to manufacture Flobert and pocket pistols, Teschings, shotguns, Lancaster Terzerole; 1896 - 76 employees; 1901 -Fritz and Otto Anschutz (sons) took over; 1909 - 175 employees; 1923 - Fritz Anschütz continued company (brother died); 1935 - Max and Rudolf Anschütz (Fritz's sons) tyook over; 550 employees; 1945 - shut down; 1959 - founded J. G. ANSCHüTZ GmbH (7 employees, 20 machines); made air pistols; did repair work; started to manufacture Flobert, target rifles; 1968 - Dieter Anschütz (4th generation) took over; 1972 - "Die Meister Macher" slogan created (after success of ANSCHüTZ Match Rifle); 1992 - Jochen Anschütz (Dieter's son) became president; March 31, 2008 - took over sole management of J.G. ANSCHüTZ GmbH (Ulm, Germany); acknowledged as world's leading producer of accurate target rifles.

Julius Gottfried Anschütz - J.G. ANSCHüTZ GmbH (

March 25, 1856 - Ambrose Everett Burnside, of Bristol, RI, received patent for a "Breech Loading Firearm"; Burnside carbine (eliminated problems with the Hall carbine: leaked gas terribly, fouled miserably, cases stick in the breech block).

July 8, 1856 - Charles E. Barnes, of Lowell, MA, received patent  for a "Machine Gun" ("Improved Automatic Canon"); crank operated machine gun.

October 16, 1860 - Benjamin Taylor Henry, of New Haven, CT, received a patent for a "Magazine Fire Arm" ("improvements in a repeating breech-loading gun designed and arranged for the exclusive use of a hollow loaded ball with a primer inserted in the base...thus greatly increasing the power and certainty of fire of the arm"); first practical, lever action repeating rifle.

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July 8, 1862 - Theodore R. Timby, of Worcester, MA, received patent for "Discharging Guns by Electricity" ("Method for Firing Guns by Electrical Agency, particularly applicable to my revolving tower, to be placed on land or water, for offensive or defensive warfare"); revolving gun turret; September 30, 1862 - received a patent for a "Gun-Turret" ("Improvement in Revolving Battery-Towers); for battle ships.

November 4, 1862 - Richard J. Gatling, of Indianapolis, IN, received U.S. patent for a "Machine Gun"  ("Improvement in Revolving Battery-Guns"); Gatling gun ("battery-gun"), first to successfully combine reliability, high firing rate and ease of loading into a single device; hand-cranked to rotate a cylinder of ten barrels loaded from a gravity-feed magazine on top and fired on each revolution; believed rapid-firing gun could enable one man to do what previously required many, armies could be smaller, saving men from exposure to battle and disease; May 9, 1865 - received a patent for a "Machine Gun" ("Improvement in Battery-Guns").

1866 - Winchester Repeating Arms Co. founded on same original lever action design created by Smith & Wesson.

1920 - General John Taliaferro Thompson received patent for submachine gun ("Tommy gun"); 1921 - major production began; quickly gained notoriety in the hands of gangsters and popularity in Hollywood films.

October 19, 1926 - John C. Garand, of Somerset, MD, received patent for an "Automatic Gun"; semi-automatic rifle.

June 14, 1942 - First bazooka rocket launcher produced in  Bridgeport, CT; designed by Edward Uhl, United States Army Ordnance Officer; used piece of scrap metal tubing to create recoilless rocket launcher to propel M10 shaped charge as anti-tank weapon for use by infantry; launched from shoulder, avoided danger of burns to face of operator.

1947 - Mikhail Kalashnikov, obscure 26-year-old sergeant with little formal education, only few years of experience designing weapons, won contest to design "Avtomat Kalashnikova 47 ("Automatic of Kalashnikov 1947"), automatic rifle, for Soviet Army (minimum of parts, stronger than necessary, loose fit between major moving parts, fired even when clogged with powder residue, dirt); 1950 - mass production AK-4 7 began (15 years before U.S. introduced M-16 automatic rifle); 2010 - production of AK-47s estimated at more than 100 million, still rising (one for every 70 people in world, more than 10 times number of M-16s produced; widely, cheaply available for less than $200, including air delivery, in international arms market).

October 3, 1952 - "Hurricane", first British atomic bomb (third country to test), tested at Monte Bello, Australia; used improved plutonium implosion bomb similar to U.S. "Fat Man"; explosion, 9-ft below water line, left saucer-shaped crater on seabed 20-ft deep and 1,000-ft across.

May 17, 1955 - Enrico Ferme, of Santa Fe, NM, and Leo Szilard, of Chicago, IL, received a patent for a 'Neutronic Reactor" ("relates to the general subject of nuclear fission and particularly to the establishment of self-sustaining neutron chain fission reactions in systems embodying uranium having a natural isotopic content"); described method by which self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction had been achieved;  assigned to the United States of America as represented by the Atomic Energy Commission.

February 27, 1997 - Legislation banning most handguns in Britain went into effect.

September 14, 2008 - Department of Defense has agreed to sell, transfer more than $32 billion in weapons, other military equipment to foreign governments in fiscal 2008 (vs. $12 billion in 2005); reflect foreign policy  (wars in Iraq, Afghanistan), broader campaign against international terrorism; direct commercial sales have grown (State Department-approved export licenses issued in 2008 cover estimated $96 billion, up from $58 billion in 2005); U. S. long been top arms supplier to world.


(Austrian Arms Manufacturing Co.), Maximilian Narbeshuber (1975). Der Pionier von Steyr: [Josef Werndl]: ein Tatsachenroman: das Schicksal eines grossen Erfinders u. Industriepioniers. (Ennsthaler, Austriua: Neuaufl, 362 p.).

(Austrian Arms Manufacturing Co.), Karl-Heinz Rauscher (2009). Der Konig von Steyr: Anmerkungen zu Josef Werndl. (Gnas, Austria: Weishaupt Verlag, 208 p.). Industrialists -- Austria -- Steyr -- Biography; Weapons industry -- Austria -- History; Werndl, Josef, 1831-1889. Built one of largest, most successful industrial companies in history of Austria; 1855 - took over family business after father's death; started to reorganize firm; produced high quality barrels, other parts for small arms; started to develop, with his foreman Karl Holub, modern breech loading rifle system; 1869 -1913 - leading European producer of small arms, delivered more than 6 million rifles of varying models to Austria, several other states of world; 1889 - more than 10,000 employees.

(Beretta), R.L. Wilson; photography by Peter Beard and Mauro Pezzotta (2000). The World of Beretta: An International Legend. (New York, NY: Random House, 370 p.). Beretta, Pietro; Beretta (Firm)--History; Firearms--Italy--History.

Pier Giuseooe Beretta  (

(Bullard Arms), G. Scott Jamieson (1988). Bullard Arms. (Erin, ON: Boston Mills Press, 245 p.). Bullard, James Herbert, 1842-1914; Bullard Repeating Arms Company -- History; Bullard firearms -- Catalogs; Firearms industry and trade -- Massachusetts -- Springfield -- History.

(Colt Industries), R. L. Wilson The Rampant Colt; The Story of a Trademark. (Spencer, IN: T. Haas, 107 p.). Colt Industries, inc.; Trademarks.

(Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company), Charles Tower Haven and Frank A. Belden (1940). A History of the Colt Revolver, and the Other Arms Made by Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company from 1836 to 1940. (New York, NY: Morrow, 711 p.). Colt, Samuel, 1814-1863; Revolvers; Pistols; Firearms; Colt's patent firearms manufacturing company.

Samuel Colt ( peop/people/images/ct_sc.jpg)

(Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company), Jack Rohan (1948). Yankee Arms Maker; The Story of Sam Colt and His Six-Shot Peacemaker. (New York, NY: Harper, 305 p. [rev. ed.]). Colt, Samuel, 1814-1862.

(Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company), Gertrude Hecker Winders (1959). Sam Colt and His Gun; The Life of the Inventor of the Revolver. (New York, NY: J. Day Co., 159 p.). Colt, Samuel, 1814-1862; Colt revolver.

(Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company), Ellsworth S. Grant (1982). The Colt Legacy: The Colt Armory in Hartford, 1855-1980. (Providence, RI: Mowbray Co., 233 p.). Colt, Samuel, 1814-1862; Colt family; Industrialists--United States--Biography; Colt firearms--History; Firearms industry and trade--Connecticut--Hartford--History.

(Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company), William Hosley (1996). Colt: The Making of an American Legend. (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 254 p.). Colt, Samuel, 1814-1862; Gunsmiths--Connecticut--Hartford--Biography; Colt revolver--History; Hartford (Connecticut)--History.

(Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company), Herbert G. Houze (2006). Samuel Colt: Arms, Art, and Invention. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 272 p.). Expert on Samuel Colt and firearms. Colt, Samuel, 1814-1862; Colt firearms--Exhibitions. Samuel Colt (1814–1862) first patented his "Colt" revolver in 1835. Evolution of invention (unsurpassed Colt firearms collections held by Wadsworth Atheneum). 

(FN-Browning), Auguste Francotte, Claude Gaier (1989). FN-Browning: 100 Ans d'Armes de Chasse et de Guerre. (Bruxelles, Belgium: Didier Hatier, 198 p.). FN (Firm ; Belgium)--History; Firearms industry and trade--Belgium--Liège--History; Liège (Belgium)--History.

(FN-Browning), Gene Gangarosa, Jr. (1999). FN-- Browning: Armorer to the World. (Wayne, NJ: Stoeger Pub., 334 p.). FN (Firm : Belgium)--History; Firearms industry and trade--Belgium--History.

(Gatling), Julia Keller (2008). Mr. Gatling’s Terrible Marvel: The Gun That Changed Everything and the Misunderstood Genius Who Invented It. (New York, NY: Viking, 304 p.). Cultural Critic (Chicago Tribune). Gatling, Richard Jordan, 1818-1903; Gatling, James Henry, 1816-1879; Gatling guns; Inventors--United States--Biography. First machine gun transformed America; discharged 200 shots/ minute with alarming accuracy; became vitally important to protecting, expanding America’s overseas interests; exemplified paradox of America’s rise as superpower.

Richard Jordan Gatling - machine gun (

(Krupp), Gert von Klass (translated from German by James Cleugh) (1954). Krupps; The Story of An Industrial Empire. (London, UK: Sidgwick and Jackson, 437 p.). Krupp family; Krupp'sche Gussstahlfabrik, Essen; Munitions--Germany. Translation of Die drei Ringe.

[Photo: Alfried Krupp, 1963] Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach ( objekte/pict/96006968/200.jpg)

(Krupp), Norbert Muhlen (1959). The Incredible Krupps; The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Germany's Industrial Family. (New York, NY: Holt, 308 p.). Krupp family; Krupp'sche Gussstahlfabrik, Essen.

(Krupp), Peter Batty (1967). The House of Krupp. (New York, NY: Stein and Day, 333 p.). Krupp family; Fried. Krupp AG.; Munitions--Germany.

(Krupp), William Manchester (1968). The Arms of Krupp, 1587-1968: The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty that Armed Germany at War : The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Dynasty that Armed Germany at War. (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 976 p.). Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Alfried, 1907-1967; Krupp family; Krupp'sche Gusstahlfabrik, Essen; Fried. Krupp GmbH--History; Industrialists--Germany--Biography; Steel industry and trade--Military aspects--Germany--History; Defense industries--Germany--History; World War, 1939-1945--Germany--Technology; World War, 1914-1918--Germany--Technology.

(Krupp), Eited by Klaus Tenfelde; foreword by Berthold Beitz (2005). Pictures of Krupp: Photography and History in the Industrial Age. (London, UK: Philip Wilson Publishers, 384 p.). Professor of Social History and Social Movements, runs the Institute for Social Movements, a central institute (Ruhr University in Bochum). Krupp family; Fried. Krupp AG--History; Fried. Krupp AG--History--Pictorial works; Weapons industry--Germany--History; Weapons industry--Germany--History--Pictorial works; Steel industry and trade--Germany--History; Steel industry and trade--Germany--History--Pictorial works. Business,  social history of company, photography as source for history of labor and technology. 

(Marlin Firearms Company), William S. Brophy (1989). Marlin Firearms: A History of the Guns and the Company That Made Them. (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 696 p.). Marlin Firearms Company--History; Firearms industry and trade--Connecticut--History.

(Putilov Company), Jonathan Grant (1999). Big Business in Russia: The Putilov Company in Late Imperial Russia, 1868-1917. (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 203 p.). Krasnyi putilovets--History; Firearms industry and trade--Russia--History.

(Remington Arms Company), Alden Hatch (1956). Remington Arms in American History. (New York, NY: Rinehart, 359 p.). Remington Arms Company; Firearms.

Eliphalet Remington II ( albums/album02/ERem.thumb.jpg)

(Remington Arms), Dimitra Doukas (2003). Worked Over: The Corporate Sabotage of an American Community. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 199 p.). Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology (Cornell), Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology (NYU). E. Remington & Sons--History; Big business--Social aspects--New York (State)--Mohawk River Valley; Social values--New York (State)--Mohawk River Valley; Local government--New York (State)--Mohawk River Valley; Distributive justice--New York (State)--Mohawk River Valley. 

(Ruger Corporation), R. L. Wilson (1996). Ruger & His Guns: A History of the Man, the Company, and Their Firearms. (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 358 p.). Ruger, William B., 1916- ; Ruger Corporation--History; Firearms--United States--History; Gunsmiths--United States--Biography.

William B. Ruger - Gun maker William B. Ruger ( RugerWilliam.jpg)

(J. P. Sauer & Sohn), Peter Arfmann, Rolf Kallmeyer; [translation into English by Phil Shaw] (2006). J. P. Sauer & Son: The Story of the Oldest Weapons Factory in Germany, Established in 1751; the Suhl Era, the Eckernförde Era. (Suhl, Germany: Peter-Arfmann-Verlag, 184 p.). Firearms industry and trade -- Germany -- History; J.P. Sauer & Sohn -- History.

(Smith and Wesson), Roy G. Jinks and Robert J. Neal (1975). Smith & Wesson, 1857-1945. (South Brunswick, NJ: A. S. Barnes, 434 p.). Smith and Wesson, inc., Springfield, Mass; Smith and Wesson firearms.




Horace Smith - Smith and Wesson (




Daniel Wesson - Smith and Wesson (

(Smith and Wesson), Roy G. Jinks (1977). History of Smith & Wesson: No Thing of Importance Will Come Without Effort. (North Hollywood, CA: Beinfeld Pub. Co., 290 p.). , inc., Springfield, Mass; Smith and Wesson firearms.

(Smith and Wesson), Roy G. Jinks, Sandra C. Krein (2006). Smith & Wesson: 1852-1965. (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 128 p.). Company Historian; Independent Historian. Smith and Wesson firearms. Company history, people, significant products from partners' first venture in 1852 to sale of Wesson family business in 1965.

(Sterling Armament Company), James Edmiston (1992). The Sterling Years: Small-Arms and the Men. (London, UK: L. Cooper, 146 p.). Sterling Armament Company; Submachine guns.

(Vickers), Dr. Richard Lewinsohn (1929). The Mystery Man of Europe, Sir Basil Zaharoff. (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott Company, 241 p.). Former Director and Chairman of Vickers. Zaharoff, Basil, Sir, 1850-. 

Thomas Edward Vickers (

(Vickers), J. D. Scott (1962). Vickers, A History. (London, UK: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 416 p.). Vickers-Armstrongs limited; Vickers Limited; Munitions--Great Britain.

(Vickers), Clive Trebilcock (1977). The Vickers Brothers: Armaments and Enterprise, 1854-1914. (London, UK: Europa, 181 p.). Vickers, Albert, 1838-1919; Vickers, Thomas Edward, 1833-1915; Vickers Limited; Weapons industry--Great Britain; Businesspeople--Great Britain--Biography.

(Vickers), Harold Evans (1978). Vickers, Against the Odds, 1956-1977. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 287 p.). Vickers Limited--History; Weapons industry--Great Britain--History.

(Weatherby Inc.), Grits Gresham and Tom Gresham (1992). Weatherby: The Man, the Gun, the Legend. (Natchitoches, LA: Cane River Pub., 290 p.). Weatherby, Roy E.; Industrialists--United States--Biography; Firearms industry and trade--United States--History; Hunting rifles--United States--History.

(Winchester Repeating Arms Company), Herbert G. Houze (1994). Winchester Repeating Arms Company: Its History & Development from 1865 to 1981. (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 512 p.). Winchester Repeating Arms Company--History; Winchester rifle--History; Firearms industry and trade--United States--History.

Ollie.jpg (7775 bytes) Oliver F. Winchester (

Gábor Ágoston (2004). Guns for the Sultan: Mlitary Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 289 p.). Assistant Professor in the Department of History (Georgetown University). Weapons industry--Turkey--History; Turkey--History, Military. 

Stuart D. Brandes (1997). Warhogs: A History of War Profits in America. (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 397 p.). War--Economic aspects--United States--History; Profiteering--United States--History.

C. J. Chivers (2010). The Gun: The AK-47 and the Evolution of War. (New York, NY Simon & Schuster, 481 p.). Reporter (New York Times). AK-47 rifle --History; War --History; Machine guns --Technological innovations --History; Firearms --Technological innovations --History. From first attempts to create machine guns to invention, mass distribution of assault rifle, its effects on war; human account of evolution in experience of war: inventors, salesmen, heroes, megalomaniacs, racists, dictators, gunrunners, terrorists, child soldiers, government careerists, fools; origins of world’s most abundant firearm, consequences of its spread; miniaturization, distribution of automatic firepower.

Mikhail Kalashnikov - (AK-47) Avtomat Kalashnikova 47 (

Tom Diaz (1999). Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America. (New York, NY: The New Press, 258 p.). Senior Policy Analyst for the Violence Policy Center. Firearms industry and trade -- United States; Firearms ownership -- Government policy -- United States; Gun control -- United States. 

Helmut Carol Engelbrecht (1934). Merchants of Death; A Study of the International Armament Industry. (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Company, 308 p.). Munitions; Firearms industry and trade; War.

Jonathan A. Grant (2007). Rulers, Guns, and Money: The Global Arms Trade in the Age of Imperialism. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 304 p.). Associate Professor of History (Florida State University). Defense industries--History; Weapons industry--History; Arms transfers--History. How arms trade led to all-out arms race, ultimately to war; arms dealers pursued their own economic interests, convinced their homeland governments that weapons sales delivered national prestige, could influence foreign countries. 

Anthony Sampson (1977). The Arms Bazaar: from Lebanon to Lockheed. (New York, NY: Viking, 352 p.). Arms transfers; Defense industries; World politics--20th century.

Merritt Roe Smith (1977). Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 363 p.). Armories--West Virginia--Harpers Ferry--History; Firearms industry and trade--West Virginia--Harpers Ferry--History.

Eds. Donald J. Stoker, Jr., and Jonathan A. Grant. (2003). Girding for Battle: The Arms Trade in a Global Perspective, 1815-1940. (Westport, CT: Praeger, 236 p.). Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy (U.S. Naval War College); Associate Professor of Modern Russian History (Florida State University). Defense industries--History; Arms transfers--History. Aspects of global trade in armaments from 1815 to 1940; connections between diplomacy, domestic politics of procurement, private business, military technology transfers in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas.


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