The "Little Tom" pistol was, much earlier than the Walther PP, the first double-action automatic pistol in history.
It was developed by Alois Tomiska, an Czech gun-designer born in 1867 in Pardubice. Tomiska learned the profession of gunsmithing in Vienna at the beginning of the 1890s and started around 1900 with the development of a double-action self-loading pistol. Eight years later he applied for a patent in England for his first double-action pistol with an external hammer. He nicknamed it "Little Tom" following his name "Tomiska". Some months later, he also got an Austrian patent for it.
In 1909 he founded the Wiener Waffenfabrik together with Camillo Frank and started the production of his pocket-pistol in caliber .25 and (much more rare) in .32 ACP within the same year.
The production was very slow until the beginning of 1918. World War I delayed the start of serial-production. In spite of this situation Tomiska enhanced single parts of his pistol again and again and got additional patents for them. The pistol got its definitive design around the year 1919. But in that year Tomiska sold his patents and rights to the Wiener Waffenfabrik and moved his home to the Bohemian city Pilsen, where he worked at Jihoceska Zbrojovka (South-Czech Weapon-Works), which later on became a part of Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ). He produced the Little Tom himself there as a licensed copy up to about 1929 (remark: some authors say, that Tomiska produced his own pistols BEFORE he sold the rights to the Wiener Waffenfabrik. But this is unlikely, due to the design, which is follows the later designs of that pistol). At the end Alois Tomiska was busy at Ceska Zbrojovka with the development of the pistol-types Vz22, 24 und 27. He died in 1946 in Prague.
The main production of the "Little Tom" in Vienna was up to about 1925, where in total (including the .32 types) about 40.000 to 50.000 pcs. were made.
The Little Tom had never been a big success - unlike the later Walther PP. One can only speculate whether the designers of that pistol got their ideas from Tomiska.
Besides its double action, the pistols had other strange construction details: most of the magazines were made of brass, even if there were steel magazines available too. You cannot pull out the magazine from the grip from below, either, it has to be pulled out the top, through the open slide instead, like some other Austian-Hungarian pistols (Frommer, Steyr). There were some smaller variations during the production period too, especially in grips and markings.
SYSTEM: self-cocking pistol with inertial system and external hammer
CARTRIDGES : 6
CALIBER : .25 ACP 6
BARREL LENGTH : 59 mm , 6 grooves right hand twisting
WEIGHT EMPTY : 370 g
TOTAL LENGTH : 113 mm
TOTAL HEIGHT : 83 mm
TOTAL WIDTH : 21 mm
TRIGGER : Double Action
SIGHT : none
SAFETY : safety-lever
FINISH : blued
GRIPS : hard rubber