Gecado 32 S&W box - Interesting translation

Hi all

Just to show you an interesting (in think it is) box. The translation of Smokeless from English to Spanish typically is *Polvora sin Humo. In this case the translation on the box is Polvora Blanca (translation to English: White Powder)
Another interesting thing is the stamp printed over the label: the label says 32 S&W short and it was stamp over as a Long.

Both are mistakes of the manufacturer or it was common this translation and to re-use bases?


In Switzerland, using “Weisspulver” (white powder) as a name for smokeless powder (nitrocellulose powder) can be encountered in texts from the early days of smokeless powder. The translation therefore is not totally uncommon.
I still suspect that the B in French “poudre B” (for nitrocellulose powder) may really represent “blanche” (white, or is it blanc?) and not the often mentioned politician Boulanger. After all, if not graphited, nitrocellulose powder has a yellow color (not unlike spaghetti), which could easiliy be called white compared to black powder.

While it appears to be a translation from English to Spanish - it is not. Keep in mind that this is a German company and will be a translation from German to Spanish. GECADO boxes seem to just use the expression “Rauchlos” to indicate the use of Smokeless powder. “Rauchlos” is translated to English as “Smokeless” but does not appear to translate well to Spanish (even with modern Internet tools ??). “Rauchlos pulver” does translate to “Polvora sin Humo” but clearly this is not what they tried.

I’m sure that our German members will clarify this some more but anyway this is no big deal and neither is overstamping boxes with a different caliber/loading etc - it is quite common.

Daniel - I assume this very, very nice box actually contains cartridges of caliber .32 S&W LONG, as the overstamp says. This would call for a deeper box than .32 S&W (the shorter cartridge). So, it is probably simply using a label that was already printed for the shorter cartridge, and altering it to Long. This could represent the cartridges being one of the first lots of .32 Long loaded by Gecado, OR could simply represent using up existing labels for the sake of economy.

John Moss

The first Language to use “white” in the description of Nitrocellulose powder was France —poudre blanche, (p. is fem.).
The Swiss, being a Trilingual Nation, translated the P.B. into
Weiss-Pulver ( white Powder in German)…Swiss German has always had differences from both
High and Low Deutsch.
Germany described it more pragmativally…Rauch-loss ( smokeless) as did the British.
Translation into Spanish ( especially for Latin American Trade, would have been the more practical " sin Humo" ( without smoke), but initial Spain sales could have been the more European “polvora blanca”.
Interesting the language changes over time, with Ordnance Products,
and the influences of foreign languages on each other when a new terminology is introduced.
Eg, “borrowed terms” in Eastern
European Languages.
Doc AV

Is there a date stamp on the back of this box???


Same box style in .38 Special is illustrated in Dornheim’s 1935 export catalog. Side is also marked “Polvora Blanca” (correct spelling is “Pólvora” with accented “o”).

Thank you all for the information provided, now it is more clear where the translation came from.

This is a picture of the back of the enclosure, not sure what does this code means.


I don’t recall seeing this “all numbers” code before on, however my guess is it would simply be the date 20 June 1928 (or perhaps 1938-I don’t know when this box style was used)


Lew - Fede shows a box picture similar to the one that started this thread, and mentioned that the “cut” came from a 1935 Gecado (G.C. Dornheim A.-G.) Catalog. It is so identical to Daniel’s box that it even has the “Pòlvera Blanca” designation for the powder. I think it is safe to say from that catalog, that Daniel’s box dates from the mid 1930s.