Here is my company history on G.C. Dornheim (GECADO). Hopefully it will correct more Misunderstandings than it creates … ?
Dornheim is a city in Germany but in cartridge terms “Dornheim” is often used to refer to the G.C. DORNHEIM company which is better known by its tradename: GECADO (meaning : GEorge CArl DOrnheim) .
The firm G.C.DORNHEIM WAFFENFABRIK was founded in Lipstadt, 1863 by Gustav Carl Dornheim. This company was mainly a wholesaler with branches all over Germany but it also manufactured guns in Suhl/Thuringia. It is known to have produced airguns, shotguns, combination and repeating rifles. Gecado pistols were all made for Dornheim by other firearms manufacturers.
GECADO was evidently not involved with the manufacture of ammunition until in 1901 when it took over the B.STAHL ammunition factory at Suhl which then became G.C.DORNHEIM AG METALLHULSENFABRIK SUHL vorm. B.STAHL. In 1905 the ex-Stahl cartridge factory became the G.C. DORNHEIM GmbH, Suhl department with the “B.Stahl” name dropped from the title. However, the “B.Stahl” was still used as the hs of ammunition but the hs of “GECADO” began to get used more often with “SU.” used c1909-1914.
In 1907 it established a shot factory in Leer and due to demand another more modern shot factory was opened in Magdeburg in 1913 which replaced the Leer one. By WW1 G.C.Dornheim had addresses in Lippstadt, Koln, Magdeburg, Suhl and Berlin.
When legal regulations in Holland made the import and the selling of ammunition increasingly more difficult, a subsidiary, the Naamlooze Vennootschap Dornheim’s Jacht- en Sportartikelen in Zwolle was established in 1923. This was moved to Arnhem in 1934.
Also after WW1 in 1924, the firm of Selve-Kronbiegel-Dornheim (SKD tradename SELKADO) was founded which incorporated Braun & Bloem (Selve), Dreyse & Collenbusch (Kronbiegel) and the ex-Stahl factory (Dornheim) which was closed.
In 1925 (some say 1927) DAG acquires the “Lindender Zünderhütchen und Patronenfabrik AG” of Hannover (ex Egestorff) which was then owned by G.C. Dornheim. The factory is closed.
By 1929, gun manufacture by Dornheim had ceased. It had been rumoured that Dornheim had been incorporated into RWS in 1929, but this was false and in fact G.C. Dornheim appears to have survived until 1940 - catalogs up to 1939 are known. Some believe that G.C.Dornheim was acting purely as an ammunition dealer after WW1 but the first 500 (12.5x70) Schüler (W20) was produced from 1927 with a “GECADO” hs (but it may have been produced by RWS?).
So there does appear to be some relationship between RWS and G.C.Dornheim from c1929 (Geco also had a working agreement with RWS from 1927). Certainly before WW2 the wholesaler department was added to Genschow & Co. AG (GECO) with the GECADO brand name being acquired by Dynamit Nobel.
Most of the cartridges listed in the 1930 and later catalogs did not contain ammunition produced by G.C. Dornheim. Catalogs show bullets produced by “Durlacher, Utendoerffer, Stiegele, Heinze” and ammunition produced by GECO (rimfire, Flobert, shotgun, handgun), RWS, DWM, SBP, Winchester and Remington (for rifle ammunition).
The GECADO tradename survived WW2 and was (at least for a time ) owned by Dianawerk-Mayer & Grammelspacher (post WW2 use of name on some cheap weapons).
G.C.Dornheim marketed its products (both weapons and ammunition) using the tradename ‘GECADO’ producing limited amounts of sporting and military (WW1) ammunition. Dornheim used a ‘GECADO’ hs apparently on new cartridges but also continued to use STAHL hs until WW1 when ammunition production ceased permanently. It produced ammunition for SCHüLER and also other Suhl gun makers.
It is believed that the “B.Stahl” hs styles were still used by GECADO after 1905. Roman numerals on the “B.STAHL” style flat hs are believed to indicate the years leading up to WW1, rather than lot numbers or other codes. These are known from “B.STAHL * VII *” (1907) to “B.STAHL XI” (1911) and then normal numbers are known for 12 and 13 (ie “B.STAHL 13” may well be 1913).
Interestingly, The DWM casebook shows that cases #474C (9.3x62 : M54), #474D (9.3x62R : M55), #495A (10.75x52R G : GSP2): and #506, (9.3x82R : EXP16) were all c1905-06 and had the name ‘Dornheim’ of Lipstadt or Suhl. No confirmed DWM production of any of these is known.
During its lifetime G.C Dornheim used the ‘GECADO’ logo on the hs of cartridges and also evidently used a scarce “SU.” hs representing “Suhl” for a short period after the 1909 Erfurt Conference (known on 9,3x72R and 8.15x46R- see images).
Ammunition production seems to have ceased by or during WW1 and was never commenced after the war. However ammunition with “GECADO” hs is known from the 1920’s and 30’s and was most likely produced for GECADO by RWS.