Chilean 9x23 by FAMAE

I just extracted these images from a FAMAE aniversary pamphlet of a 9x23 box and headstamp.
Maybe of interest to somebody.

EOD - of big interest to me! I had never seen that box label before. Of course, the 9 x 23 mm cartridges were of enough interest to me that I wrote a relative short book on them!

I have a 24-round box (of course, three stripper-clips full for the Steyr Model 1911/12 Pistol) but with a different label. Mine has the maker name in the form of “Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército” (“Maestranzas” abbreviated to “Maest.”). When I obtained the box, I did not know what the particular word meant in Spanish, so I took it across the street where an executive of the Spanish-speaking radio station lived. He was from Vera Cruz, spoke perfect English an was a graduate of the University of México in México City. He told me the full word in Spanish, and said it made no sense at all. Seems a “Maestranzas” in the dialect spoken there meant “Pig Sty” No, I am not kidding. When I sald that was impossible, he brought out a very big book, Spanish of the Americas, and went to the Chilean section. In Chile, it meant an Army Barracks or an Arsenal. Quite a difference.

Great box picture. Vielen Dank.


John, great to hear it is of use.

Though army barracks sometimes are pig stys too. :-)

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Alex, nice pictures, thanks for sharing.

The factory designation “Fábrica de Material de Guerra” (FMG) was used between 1910 a 1924, when it was changed to “Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército” (FAMAE).

@JohnMoss John, maestranzas (plural) has several meanings in Spanish depending on the country, context and timeframe, but when this box was made the meaning was “group of workshops and offices”. In Argentina it is used to designate cleaning personnel.



In Italian, “Maestransa” means the worker group, of whatever industry,
as employees (“Staff”).
In Spanish, it means by extension a place of work and the workers themselves.

Doc AV


Clearly, after my discussion many years ago with the neighbor, and from what Fede said,
what it means depends on what Spanish-speaking country you are in.

In Italian, of course, it means exactly what you said. I wonder though if it has different meaning in any of the Italian dialects, other than “proprio Italiano.” My mother-in-law was fluent in the national dialect, but normally spoke in Genovese (Zenese to her - I spelled it phonetically, by the way - I haven’t a clue how to spell words in Genovese). I spoke much better Italian before she passed away, but after 20+ years, I don’t remember much of it, unfortunately (ho dimenticato molto). Io sono tedesc’ non posso parlarle nella lengua della Germania.

At any rate, the difference in Spanish use of the word in question is so varied as to be somewhat amusing, especially to a Yanqui. Even my Hispanic neighbor, fluent in university-level Spanish and also in English, found the difference between the Chilean meaning and that of MĂ©xico a little funny.

Fede - the “group of workshops and offices” fits in well with my neighbor’s final translation, from his all-countries dictionary, of “Arsenal.” In English anyway, an Arsenal is, basically, just a word describing a military facility made up of workshops and offices.

This is fun. I love languages, even though my language abilities are mediocre in the extreme. However, the other members are probably wondering what this has to do with cartridges, and are ready to hang me from the nearest tree!

John M.

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