I have been scanning catalogs from RWS, GECO, GECADO and UTENDOERFFER from the 1930’s. All of these catalogs show products of all the others. In fact the 1934 GECADO catalog even lists Remington and Winchester cartridges. What is the relationship of the 4 German companies to each other? Were they all part of the same conglomerate ownership? If not, why do they all list products of the other companies?

Can anyone give me a chronology of years of operation of each of the companies?

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Heinrich Utendoerffer began production in 1855.

1886 Rheinisch Westfälische Sprengstoff-Actien-Gesellschaft (RWS) was founded.

In 1889 Heinrich Utendoerffer sold his business to RWS.

In August of 1887 Gustav Genschow started the company, Gustav Genschow & Co ( GECO is an abbreviation of this company’s name.)

In 1865 Alfred Nobel founded Alfred Nobel & Co. Some other dynamite and blasting caps companies were founded and merged, and eventually all became Dynamit Aktiengesellschaft (Dynamit AG) in 1876

1927 a contract was made between GECO and Dynamit. It seems they worked together, but were separate companies.

In 1931 ownership of RWS was passed to Dynamit.

1959 Dynamit AG changes to Dynamit Nobel AG.

1963 Dynamit Noble AG takes over Gustav Genschow & Co. (GECO)

1966 all of their brands (GECO, Rottewil and RWS) were consolidated under Dynamit Nobel

2002 Dynamit Nobel sold to RUAG


That handles the ammunition side.

GECADO was a trade name the German company, G. C. Dornheim marketed pistols under. GECO and then Dynamit Noble were their distributors.

Ah. There we go. I think this looks right. Anyone want to add any corrections? I needed to research this a little bit for my website anyway.

The 1927 “contract” was actually a working agreement between Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff A.-G. (RWS) and Gustav Genschow & Co. A.-G. (Geco). Although perhaps over-simplified, basically, it gave Geco the responsibility for making pistol and revolver ammunition for both companies, and RWS the responsibility for rifle calibers. That is why so many handgun cartridges with “GECO” and “RWS” headstamps look identical to each other - they were, from that time, all made by GECO. There are even a few known with “GECO-RWS” headstamps. RWS and Dynamit A.-G., vormals Alfred Nobel & Co., almalgamated in 1931. Dynamit Nobel A.-G. acquired all shares of GECO in 1959, at which time the Gustav Genschow Co. became a limited-liability company.

Reference: “Handbuch der Pistolen-und Revolver-Patronen, Volume I (Centerfire Metric Calibers)”, pages 257-260, by Hans Erlmeier and Jakob Brandt, published 1967 by J. E. Erlmeier Verlag, Wiesbaden, Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

Edited for spelling only

Aaron–So GECADO was never a ammunition manufacture, only a distributor, like Midway USA. The catalog I have is titled “GECADO MUNITIONS-PREISLISTE 1934”. There are no guns in the catalog, just ammunition from the other 3 companies plus Remington and Winchester. Being a distributor would explain this catalog. Thanks.

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.

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“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.”

Starting in 1911, the ammunition production of Lindener Zündhütchen- und Thoonwaarenfabrik had been moved from densely populated Linden to nearby Empelde (both on the outskirts of Hannover). In 1925 a big steel company (Lothringen AG) bought Empelde and in 1927 sold it to Dynamit AG. This factory, known to us by its codes “P 120” and “emp” was active up to the end of WWII.

Thoonwaaren (today: Tonwaren) = pottery. Egestorff was active in all sorts of business. The machinery tradename “Hanomag” also goes back to him.

Thanks JPeelen for the additional info re the Egestorff factory which helps but is still uncertain - I thought Lothringen took over the plant in 1923 ?. I hadn’t intended this to lead to a discussion of Egestorff but now that the topic has been raised…

Egestorff Company History wrt Ammunition++++ (amended)++++++++++++++

GEORG HEINRICH EGESTORFF (1802-1868) (see image) was a businessman of LINDEN (Hannover). From his twenties he built up a number of business incl: a Sugar Factory (1824), Saltworks (1831), Iron foundry and engine works (1835) and a chemical factory (1846). He was involved in Train manufacture from 1846.

In 1858, Egestorff acquired a factory for the manufacture of primers and by 1861 ammunition was being produced. After his death in 1868, Dr. Bethel Strousberg took over the works but from 1871 the company started to be broken up. The mechanical engineering part became HANOMAG (Hannoversche Maschinenbau AG, vormals Georg Egestorff, Hannover-Linden), still producing trains in 1899.

About 1872 the cartridge factory was renamed LINDENER ZÜNDHÜTCHEN UND THONWAAREN FABRIK VORMALS GEORG EGESTORFF ABTHEILUNG ZÜNDHÜTCHEN UND METALLPATRONEN FABRIK. This company continued to manufacture and market ammunition using the Egestorff name and hs.

The Egestorff “G anchor E” trademark (see image) was used from 1875 but wasn’t registered as a trademark in Germany until 22 Dec 1902 (IAA #367).

From 1911-13, for safety reasons, the entire enterprise shifted to Empelde, since at the past location the area was enclosed by housing developments. In WW1 it manufactured explosive devices and ammunition exclusively for the military.

After WW1 it remained in business and continued to produce (or at least market) sporting ammunition. In 1923 the plant was taken over by the Lothringen-Konzerns (Lorraine company = G.C. Dornheim ?). A 1925 catalog is known but may well be a re-dated version of an unknown <=1918 catalog (see Egestorff Catalogs).

[[??? In 1925 the Empelde factory was sold to Lothringen AG, a big steel company]]] and in 1927 this factory was sold to Dynamit AG which temporarily closed it. From 1928, it was reopened by DAG and continued production to the end of WWII (using the codes “P 120” and “emp”).

At least six Egestorff ammunition catalogs are known (see Egestorff Catalogs), most undated but likely to be from the 1890’s into the 1900’s with the last known catalog being dated 1925.

Egestorff generally produced ammunition designed by the other German companies such as Lorenz, Utendoerffer and Stahl. Some of their catalogs show as many as 177 different CF case types. Only a few unique new calibres were produced by Egestorff with the following being known:

8x45R Egestorff Express (EXP18)
8x72R Egestorff Express (EXP51)
9.5x47R M.Oe. (A17)
10.5x42.8R L.B. 88 (A16)
10.5x50R MB (MB95)
10.75x49R Werndl (A18)
11.5x53R Werndl (A20)

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Sorry, my error. Sale to Lothringen AG was in 1923.

Both 9mmP & 7.65mmP exist with G G & Co headstamps that appear to be WWI/pre WWI. I have seen quite a few of the 7.65mm but only know of 2 of the 9mmP with this headstamp. This implies to me that these headstamps probably date from 1910 or earlier.


I want you to share a few pictures for this RWS-GECO-GECADO-UTENDOERFFER subject.

On this GECADO box is clearly to see that GECADO is mentioned as “Marke”

Maybe also nice to see is a GECO salesmen-box from somewhere between WO1 and WO2.


Very nice Richard - thanks for sharing !

@ wbd,

You wrote:
In 1925 the Empelde factory was sold to Lothringen AG, a big steel company]]] and in 1927 this factory was sold to Dynamit AG which temporarily closed it. From 1928, it was reopened by DAG and continued production to the end of WWII (using the codes “P 120” and “emp”).

My question.
Who made in 1926 these cases.

The implication that Empelde remained active after 1928 until 1945, more or less came from my post.
“Der Munitionsverband” says it was closed down in 1927 and Trimborn even adds it was leased in 1928 to some other entity.

From your (outstanding, to put it mildly) headstamp list, it becomes clear that “P120” produced in 1926, stopped, and resumed from 1933 onwards.

From records in Militärarchiv it is known that about 1931 Empelde was enlarged(!) from 4 to 6 complete sets of cartridge machinery, at a cost of 400 thousand Reichsmark, enabling it to achieve a production of 7.5 million rifle rounds per month within 6 months after activation. (RH 8/v991b). This led me to the conclusion that in effect Empelde existed as a black factory continuously over the whole period and resulted in the wording of my post.

Dutch, military production is not my speciality and as JPeelen refers, I just tried to make sense of the information after the Empelde plant after it was sold in 1923. Clearly the P120 code (and possibly the “emp” code) was produced off and on for longer than any documents imply.

It is hard to make sense of all the references and even the “Der Munitionsverband” has errors (like ALL references) and can’t be entirely relied on.

I will modify my notes from the new info that the two of you have provided.

I just got this cartridge in a batch of oddities at a gun show this past weekend.
Attempting to find out what it is, after searching too many web sites, I finally discovered most of the info stated above, (thanks for filling in the blanks five years before I needed it!).
So, this cartridge has no caliber marking, only “GECADO” and a ‘star’, and is a rebated rim.
Original? Someone making a wildcat?

Look up 11mm Schuller’s

Pete, thanks.
I found three references for Schuler [one L], (1) 6.5mm, (2) 11.2mm, (1) 12.7mm, so:
11.2mm x72 Schuler, Rebated Rim Bottle Neck, Bullet Diameter .440, Case Length 2.80, Rim Diameter .469, Neck Diameter .465, Shoulder Diameter .510 , Base Diameter .536, Total Length 3.85, Introduced 1921
Sound right, figuring this is a shorter/lighter bullet?
I found little history on Shhuler, or the cartridges themselves, other than the .500 Jeffries was actually a Schuler cartridge.
Any suggestions where to learn more?

Yep the 11.2x72mm perhaps 12 or more known variations in HS’s & bullet types / weights.

Not so many variations with the 11.2 x 60mm CL. edited to change the case length typo

See Brad Dixon’s books for more information.

The Jeffery and the Schuler are two different cartridges. headstamps & a very close look at shoulder angle on the original rounds will tell them apart.

Most new production Jeffery shoulder angle & placement is all over the place. A wonder they function in an original .500 Jeffery, & probably some don’t.
Just discussing this with a local barrel maker yesterday, he re-chambered a rifle & it came back because the new production rounds he bought wouldn’t chamber.

Thanks, Pete.
What is the name of the book by Brad Dixon?
I will need to get a copy!

Here is what mine look like.

Great books!