First and Second Serbian Uprising, with which the Serbs began their struggle for liberation from the Ottoman Empire, have pointed to the lack of weapons and ammunition, and conceived the idea of producing Serbian weapons. Since 1836, there was an Arsenal in Kragujevac, for the repair of small arms, and it had three workshops. In 1847, the arsenal grew into the factory for military armament, and all the buildings were erected on the right side of the Lepenica, between the Gospodarevo Hill and Metino Hill, i.e. within the space of the future Gun Foundry.
At the suggestion of Ilija Garasanin (panel 2, showcase 1), the Council approved and opened the Gun Foundry in Belgrade in 1848, and the Artillery School in 1850, from which the Military Academy was created. Austria and the Ottoman Empire were making every effort to prevent the development of the Gun Foundry. Therefore, by the decision of Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic of March 1851 (showcase 2), the Gun Foundry was moved to Kragujevac, on the right bank of the Lepenica. Kragujevac was chosen because of its location, terrain and the central position that would contribute to the security of the facility, but also because it was the capital of Serbia from 1818 to 1841 and it had already had many public buildings.
By the commitment of Ilija Garasanin, and the work of Konstantin Magazinovic, the French War Minister approved the arrival of Charles Loubry, supervisor of a private gun foundry in Paris. He became the first manager of the Gun Foundry and would remain in office for one year. Apart from Loubry, a machinist Tausint Delurs and gun-maker Kinon came to Kragujevac. In order to train local staff for casting of cannons in Kragujevac, Artillery School professor Petar Protic (panel 6) came to Kragujevac. He would be Loubry’s assistant in work, but he would also look after the discipline of the employees. After Loubry’s departure, he would become the first national manager of the Gun Foundry.
A contract was signed with a Swiss, Karl Oreli, who was supposed to determine the type and caliber of the cannons that would be cast in future.
After a few delays, on October 27, 1853, the first successful casting was done and on that occasion, they produced four six-pound cannons and two short howitzers (panel 4). Prince Aleksandar was present there and gave Loubry a watch with Serbian emblem and gold coins. This was a significant event for the whole country. People were celebrating, and the people gave gold coins for the gun foundry and its development.
Loubry, looking at Western European centers, gave a suggestion to the state authorities, and they approved the creation of two new institutions: Arts and Crafts Workshop, founded by the decision of Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic of March 1854, for the education of qualified domestic workers (showcase 3), and the Workers’ Illness Fund, founded in June 1854, for the medical treatment of the workers. Labour Fund, the forerunner of today’s social security, was later established from this Fund.