Who Invented and Introduced the Sinoxid Primer and When?

I have been trying to sort out who invented the Sinoxid primer, Who patented it (would like to see the patent), Who produced it and when (did both RWS and Geco produce this primer?)

Brandt (Eirlmeier & Brandt) state that in 1926 RWS concluded a working agreement with I. G. Frabenindustrie AG of Frankfurt. Development of a stainless, non-corrosive priming composition, named Sinoxid at the Stadeln factory.

RWS in their recent catalogs state that they began using Sinoxid priming about 90 years ago.

Numerous other sources on the internet claim Dynamit Nobel owned the trademark Sinoxid and the formulation was developed by Rathsburg & Herz in 1928.
By Rudolf Meyer, Josef Köhler, Axel Homburg

1928: Sinoxid Primer
Dynamit Nobel patented the first lead-styphnate-based primer mixture. Non-corrosive, it is the basis for all current modern priming systems.
Outdoor Life

Note that
RWS was combined/taken over by Dynamit Nobel AG in 1931.
Dynamit Nobel AG acquired a majority share in Geco in 1937

It is obvious that Geco, and perhaps RWS were producing the Sinoxid primer with the impressed ring identification from the early 1930s

Does anyone have a coherent story on the Sinoxid primer?


Part of page 2 from a RWS pamphlet on primers

Bottom portion of the last page of the pamphlet, dated 1959 (?).

RWS pamphlet, complete.


Great info. Clearly states that it was done in RWS Lab. Can you share the date of this pamphlet?

Since ithe pamplet is DAG, it is clearly post-WWII. By the time this was written I have no doubt the Lab that invented Sinoxid was an RWS lab. It is possible that, in stating the priming composition was invented by RWS, they are referring to what is RWS today! Boeing does this when they talk about their Boeing aircraft, like the F-15 whose development and most of the production was done by McDonnell-Douglas. Same is true of the B-1 which was designed and produced by Rockwell but is now a Boeing aircraft.

In the 1930s Geco made extensive use of Sinoxid primers. Were these all bought from RWS or were they Geco made?

I suspect the DAG info above is not an accurate historical portrayal of the early history of the Sinoxid. It is perhaps more likely that the history of the registered ownership of the term Sinoxid would give a more conclusive history of the early ownership of the term.

I am not rejecting the possibility that RWS developed Sinoxid, but am still having trouble with reconciling their ownership with other information.

I have found references on the manufacture of precussion caps between the two companies. The 1927/1928 agreement between RWS ane Geco states that caps were to be made at Stadeln which may have included Sinoxid primers. Another reference (100 jahre Werk Stadlen) states that, in 1929 “The entire pistol- and shotgun ammunition production was moved from Stadeln to Geco at Durlach.” So did RWS develop this primer but Geco manufacture them???

All help appreciated.



Developed by RWS.



I paraphrase from: “100 Jahre Werk Stadeln”, Troisdorf: Dynamit Nobel 1993, page 20 and 52ff (you seem to have it?)
After WW1, RWS (I use RWS here as short name) started using scientific methods for working on ballistics problems.
To this end Dr. Hans Rathsburg was hired to head the new chemical laboratory, having Dr. W. Dehn and Dr. H. Stadler as his assistants. Exterior ballistics was researched by Walter Lampel, a former officer, who came from the DEVA research institution in Berlin to RWS [November 1920].

The independent Austrian chemist Edmund von Herz had proposed the use of Trizinat (lead styphnate) in primers. This turned out to be not sensitive enough for small arms primers. At the RWS laboratory, it was found that adding Tetrazene solved this problem. A patent was applied for, naming von Herz and Rathsburg as the inventors. It took a long time to find the best mixture of components.

The name (originally Sinoxyd, later changed to Sinoxid) was found by an open contest. Trials with primers for the military started in 1926.

The sentence on moving production to Geco 1929 (page 17) refers to “Laborierung” of shotgun and pistol cartridges “which never had been produced in larger numbers [at Stadeln]”. “Laborierung” means loading. No mention of primer production at Geco in the text.

The book by Elga Roellecke on Geco: "Die Munitionsfabrik. Das Zündhütle 1897-1972, Karlsruhe 1994
explicitly states on p. 50 that primer production there totally stopped in early 1928 as a result of the cooperation agreement with RWS, which she writes became effective on January 1st, 1928.

Remington based its Kleanbore priming on the RWS work, so I think there would be American patents for Sinoxid. Jack

Great Info! Still a bit confusing on who was making what when.

The bottom line question for right now is who made the “ringed” primers wth the “O” stamped on them.

Was this RWS Nuremberg or RWS Stadeln or Geco Durlach???

What year were they introduced??? This looks like sometime around 1931 and 1932 from the specimens I have seen.

WBD, Thanks for referencing the old Forum posts! I had forgotten those. One of the pleasures of being over three quarters of a century old is that I can engage in wonderful conversations and bits of research, without being encumbered by the fact that I had already had these conversations a few years ago. Perhaps I am not the only one on the Forum who enjoys these pleasures. From all of us, thanks for the reminders.


RWS Nuremberg is out of the question, because its location with living quarters being erected around it was the reason to build the factory at Stadeln from 1896 onwards. It became limited to metal work only.

According to Elga Roellecke, Geco Durlach (actually Wolfartsweier nearby) ceased production of primers entirely in 1928. My understanding of this is that Geco stopped making the old corrosive primers and no new production line for Sinoxid was set up there.

Thanks JPeelen,

Sounds like these “O” primers were made at Stadeln! But, GECO owned the tradename in 1930.

Has anyone got a box of these primers or other documentation identifying where they were made???

It looks like the relationship between Geco, RWS, Dynamit Nobel, IG Farben and probably others was pretty complex.


what is your source regarding Geco owning the trade name Sinoxid in 1930?

P.S. IG Farben owned Dynamit AG (DAG). DAG in turn owned RWS. Whether the Geco majority (minority by Genschow) was formally held by DAG or by RWS does in my view not really change the picture.
“Dynamit Nobel” is the postwar name of the company that came into being when it became independent of IG Farben, which was being liquidated.

I have been giving more thought to the relationship of the Sinoxid Primer and the letter “N” that appears on the 16-round military style boxes for RWS-marked 9 mm cartridges made in 1938, 39 and 40. The fact that the primers were made at Stadeln got me to doubting the meaning of the “N” which has been widely attributed to the city name “Nürnberg.” Then, I remembered that there is a precedent for RWS using the same code for the two factories, the downtown Nürnberg factory and the nearby factory at Stadeln.

In production of the 7.9 x 57 mm Mauser, Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff A.-G., was assigned the code “dnf” after the number codes were replaced (in the case of RWS, the code was P151). As far as I know, RWS was the only factory where the code was applied to two different factories, although both owned by RWS. To tell the 7.9 x 57 case production apart, since they were made at both factories, the downtown factory used lot number blocks 1-50. The Stadeln factory used lot number 51 and upwards.

Thus, the use of the letter “N” to represent RWS (likely “Nürnberg”) on those odd 9 mm box labels was not inconsistent with the practice of using the same code for this company’s two factories.

Of course, the “N” letter appears on several pistol calibers (the only types I am comfortable in speaking about) headstamps as the factory designator, likely for RWS . In 7.65 mm Browning, for example, they are found with an earlier, domed brass primer cup, as well as with the latter copper-cup “O” Sinoxid primers. The latter might have been made by RWS itself before the 1927 agreement was fully implemented, or perhaps loaded by Geco, using the Sinoxid primers made by RWS and older lots of the “N” headstamped cases. I have no idea which.

These were after-thoughts on my part, but are germane to the whole discussion of “who made what” between GECO and RWS, and the discussion of the Sinoxid primers.

John Moss

JPeelen, In a forum post on an earlier thread:

In the “Sinoxid” trademark registration the Genschow company claims use since April 16, 1930. I don’t know if the old style primers were entirely replaced but at least there is a documented answer giving a starting date for any cartridge with a Sinoxid primer. I couldn’t find any earlier reference to this type of primers in pre-1930 Genschow, RWS, Dornheim or SB Schönebeck catalogs.
Earliest Geco 9 mm Parabellum box Fede post 9


Fede has done some wonderful research on trademarks.


Note carefully the line “Genschow company claims use since April 16, 1930.” This doesn’t mean they made the primers there. If the information about cessation of production of primers by Geco in 1928 is correct, than these primers would have been supplied by RWS.

John Moss

I understand that the primers could have been made by RWS, but it would mean that they could only be sold as “Sinoxid” by Geco, unless Geco gave another specific authority to use the term!

If RWS originally owned the Sinoxid trademark-and I assume they would if they wanted to sell their primers under this name-why would the let Geco take ownership of the name in 1930 if RWS was still making the primers?

There appear to have been some pretty complex relationships set in the 1927-1929 agreements between the two companies.


You can reverse that question as well - why would Geco, if they owned the Sinoxid name, allow
RWS to so prominently display it on all their produce catalogs, not only in text, but in huge letters on the covers. It is on all of the catalogs from the 1930s, and even appears in the text of the “RWS Mitteilungen Nr. 4, Jahreswene 1953/54,” certainly one of the earliest post-war RWS publications? First, despite the claim, I personally doubt that GECO was the sole owner of the right to use that name. That is my own opinion pretty much etched in stone. The use by both companies of the Trademark name for RWS-made primers (see below) was likely part of the 1927 agreement. Even if it is correct that GECO owned the trademark, for whatever reasons seems beyond logic, likely would have given their “partner” under the 1927 agreement permission to use it. If this had not occurred I have no doubt that after GECO saw the prominent and wide use of the term on their catalogs and other advertising material, a lawsuit would have followed.

Regarding GECO manufacture of primers, I am satisfied that items on this thread have documented that they did not make primers after 1928. A search of all my 16-round 9 mm boxes of Geco (dnh) manufacture, not as many as some collectors have, but still between 10 and 20, yielded none where Geco was the primer supplier. They were supplied by several companies, and RWS was one of them. In fact, RWS shows up on a very good percentage as the primer supplier on many of my boxes. They even used the plain initials RWS on some, and then the “dnf” code.

So, (1) I see no evidence that Geco even primers in the 1930s and 1940s; (2) RWS did make primers and were one of the suppliers of them to Geco. I cannot say that Geco did not make a single primer after 1928, although I am satisfied with the explanation of such on this thread, but if they did, they were likely for something other than small arms ammunition.

If anyone does have a 16-round box where GECO (dnh) is the loading factory, and the primers are shown as made by dnf (RWS) I would like to get a picture of it for my files. It would be very important to this discussion.

And yes, I agree 100% that agreements, and other interactions between corporations, certainly not limited to those between RWS and Geco, are often very, very complicated, sometimes simply because of various legitimate factors, and sometimes made that way for nefarious purposes.

Note: Edited to remove the “not” from “a lawsuit would have followed.” My thought is that Geco, under the circumstances discussed in that passage, WOULD have sued other companies. The word “not” was a confusion in typing, on my part.

John Moss

in my view, “use” of the Sinoxid trade mark by Geco does not necessarily mean Geco owned it. Geco loaded RWS Sinoxid primers into their cartridges and of course announced the use of this new technology. It was also in the interest of RWS to make the Sinoxid name more known via popular Geco ammunition.
Considering that Sinoxid was developed by Edmund von Herz and Hans Rathsburg at RWS Stadeln, I find it difficult to accept that Geco should for some reason have owned the brand name for Sinoxid.

By 1954, in fact much earlier, Dynamit Nobel/DAG owned both RWS and Geco so they could use any of the trademarks owned by either! Trademark law as I understand it is that one entity ownes a registered trademark. In the last few years a cartridge company was sued and had to stop using the word “HALO” with a distinctive style because it was owned by a computer game! You probably remember this. I agree with you that they would have given their partner RWS authority to use it, particularly on the boxes that Geco was printing for them to hold ammo Geco was loading for them as a subcontractor. I suspect they would also have allowed it in the RWS catalogs of the 1930 that advertised the pistol ammo Geco was making.

I agree that Geco doesn’t appear to have made any primers during WWII. I checked ~40 dnh boxes that were handy and the primers were faa (DWM K), dnf (RWS) and eem(the old Dreyse & Collenbusch). I had missed that apparently all my dnh boxes had primers made elsewhere. I wonder if that holds true for other calibers like 7.9mm? I suspect it does.

RWS may have owned the Sinoxid trademark at sometime, but Fede couldn’t find any record of prior ownership and from my experience Fede is extremely good at tracking trademark information. It would be great if someone could find prior ownership or confirm that there is no record of prior ownership. Without that it seems pretty clear that no company could use the Sinoxid name without Geco’s permission.

The answer may be in a comment by WBD in thread https://forum.cartridgecollectors.org/t/earliest-geco-9-mm-parabellum-box/13152/20 that the original spelling was Sinoxyd, which may be the RWS name and Geco established the Sinoxid which became popular. This could explain the Geco ownership of the name.

I know ringed or “O” primers are found in many pistol calibers. I assume that they are also found on rifle ammunition. Is this correct???


My understanding is that the "N in crest primer (N= Nürnberg) is the RWS SINOXID primer used in the majority of RWS sporting Rifle ammo since c1926-1928 but I cannot provide a reference for that at the moment. I don’t know of any RWS sporting rifle ammo with the “O” primer. Actually, I have never seen a reference that said that the “O” primer is a SINOXID primer but may well have missed it from one of the numerous threads on this subject ?

Note that the 1959 SINOXID Pamphlet has RWS all over it and doesn’t mention GECO at all ? (RWS Sinoxide Primers Pamphlet, 1959 (?))

The German code manual from 1941 shows dnf as RWS Nurnberg-Stadeln and dnh (previously Geco) as RWS Durlach. From that time they were apparently one company. By 1941 both had been owned/controlled by Dynmite Nobel for some years. After the war I think there was no real differentiation between the names anymore than there was between UMC and Remington, even though they still use the UMC name on some lines of ammo.

Interesting that the rifle ammunition,which we know was made by RWS has “N” primers and the Geco pistol rounds have “O” primers. I don’t know of any confirmed RWS pistol round with an “O” primer since from about 1930, the only pistol rounds confirmed to be made by RWS, as far as I know, were headstamped dnf or P151.

Boxes of both Geco and RWS ammo in the commercial blue and red boxes and “O” primers are marked Sinoxid. These were all obviously made by Geco,