The History of the Diana Airgun Factory
The History of the Diana Airgun Factory
Dianawerk valuation in Allied records.
Here are some details of the Inter-Allied Reparation Agency's records of the Diana factory just after the War. The factory is described as having built small arms and also aero engine parts.
Note that the factory was located within the French zone of occupied post-War Germany. (The French sold on the Dianawerke machinery, parts and intellectual property to Millard Brothers Limited, who set up Milbro's "Diana Works" factory in Carfin, Motherwell, Scotland, to produce airguns based on pre-War Diana designs for more than 30 years starting in 1949.)
The residual value of the (bombed out?) factory, estimated in 1933 German Reichmarks (the date the Nazis came to power), was just RM150,573. In January 1933 there were 14.1 Reichmarks to 1 UK pound and RM4.2 to a US dollar (strengthening to 2.61 to the dollar in Jan 1934),
So in 1946 the estimated reparations value of the factory was little more than 10,600 UK pounds (approximately UK £570,000 in today's money).
Sign at Diana factory forbidding entry.
The gist of this sign is that entry is forbidden and that the premises are under the control of the Allied occupation government. The legal authority cited is Military Government Law No. 52 (Relating to the Blocking and Control of Assets), which was issued in April 1945.
With thanks to Kurt for this pic:
M&G's post-War non-airgun products.
In the period immediately after the end of WW2 the production of guns of any kind was banned by the Allied occupation government. Its heavy machinery having been confiscated and sold off as War reparations, for a few years the Mayer and Grammelspacher company set about producing an extraordinary variety of manufactured goods.
Items it made included letter and pencil cases, shoe irons, horseshoe nails and a rudimentary potato holder - a wooden handle with metal spikes (in spirit reminiscent of the M&G patent kitchen grater of 1892!).
Strangely perhaps for a company known for its high quality metalworking, M&G also produced elaborate specialist furniture for typesetters known as "setzregale" (which apparently translates into English as "shelf" or "frame"). It named the varieties of this product "Diana 3", "Diana 4" etc.
There is even a rather tragic reference in the setzregal brochure to the fact that the company for decades made Diana airguns, a brand known for its quality worldwide.....
With thanks, as ever, to Kurt for these fascinating glimpses into M&G's history.
Historic pre-War photos of Dianawerk etc.
A retired former employee of Mayer & Grammelspacher has contacted me and kindly provided an article on the history of Dianawerk, which he wrote for a book on Rastatt before the Great War. I will have this article translated into English but in the meantime, here are the photos that illustrate it.
With huge gratitude to Kurt.
The two men who founded the company, on the left Joseph Grammelspacher (1855 to 1897), who tragically died aged just 42, and on the right Jakob Mayer (1860-1933).
Jakob Mayer again, photographed in 1930:
Here is the first M&G factory, known in English as the 'Upper Mill', photographed in 1891:
Here is an architect's drawing of the new M&G factory, dated 1900, although the actual building constructed in the same year seems to be quite significantly different.
The M&G factory, built in 1900:
The production hall:
Mayer & Grammelspacher company registration.
Here is another solid gold nugget of information on the Mayer & Grammelspacher company from Kurt, the Diana historian and friend to this forum. /images/happy.gif" height="14" width="14" alt="happy.gif">
This is a newspaper report dated 6.11.1890 giving details of the companies registry entry for the new M&G company. Here is a scan of the report, followed by an English translation of the contents done by Kurt with the help of his son.
Extract from the commercial register
A. Entry into the companies registry
1. On October 13th 1890 under entry 70: Company Mayer & Grammelspacher in Rastatt, plant Rastatt
The shareholders with the right of equal representation are the merchant Jakob Mayer and the mechanic Josef Grammelspacher. The first one married Selma Hofstetter from Rastatt without a marriage contract. Second one married Karolina Kumm from Gernsbach. Following the marriage contract, dated Gernsbach February 4th 1881, each of them brings 50 Marks of their disposable assets into the partnership. All other assets are excluded from this agreement.
The company started October 1st 1890.
Extracts from another 120th anniversary Prospectus.
This seems to be a different brochure/catalogue, although celebrating the same anniversary....
Anyhow, it has a nice English translation (thanks!) and some nice old ads and pics, a few of which appeared in the other brochure, plus a rather sparse timeline. Thanks to Frank for pointing this one out. /images/happy.gif" height="14" width="14" alt="happy.gif">