All items featured on the this site are part of the Land of Borchardt collection unless otherwise noted.
The first automatic pistol to appear in the English market was the Borchardt (1893). This pistol is the predecessor of the modern German official arm, the Luger-Parabellum, a weapon that retains the same base idea of a toggle joint breech action as the original Borchardt.
The Borchardt was clumsy, unwieldy, and so large that it was usually equipped with a combination holster stock for conversion into a carbine. The eight shot magazine was set vertically in the handle, and the action was both frail and complicated. When a cartridge was fired the barrel and breech bolt locked together, recoiled until a pair of lugs on the frame lifted the toggle-joint action of the breech and allowed the bolt to continue it s travel independent of the barrel. The bolt thus recoiled still farther, ejected the empty case and cocked the arm, then came forward again, feeding a new cartridge into the chamber, pushed the barrel forward and locked rigidly as the toggle joint fell into line.
The Borchardt was not a success, and its cartridges badly designed, but nevertheless, it was the ancestor of all the distinguishing characteristics of modern automatics for it used rimless cartridges, smokeless powder, nickel-cased bullets, a clip magazine in the handle and various construction details that still continue.
from --- Automatic Pistols by H.B.Pollard, published 1921