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#459762 10/20/16 03:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
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felix Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 136
Text and photos by Felix Neuberger
It has been one dismantled drilling, a sidelock by Johann Kalezky's Witwe, which has triggered this post.
This is complemented by 3 other and different types of Kalezky sidelock guns, which I had the chance to strip and which all together have led me to try to contribute a little more to the Kalezky-saga.
DGJ autumn 1999 had my article on this enigmatic Viennese "boutique" gunmaker, preceeded by weeks-long research in different Viennese institutions, but mainly browsing through 50 years of Vienna proofhouse records. This was my first task in retirement, not anymore possible because access is shutdown by the legal counsel of the ministry. There has been a follow-up on this in DGJ spring 2011 (Austrian jewels). In addition there have been questions in Internet fora and contacts to me via DGJ or Internet by Russians. I would pay a fortune for the Kalezky records, but there is no indication that they did survive in any form. So any answer on a provenance-question is scarce or can not be answered at all.
The last info on Johann Kalezky ( the younger) is an entry in Viennese address book of 1942. There have been heavy bombing air raids onto Vienna during WW II and it is not known if he survived those.

Here come the 4 guns I could see and some more

Sidelock drilling
I have been impressed when I saw the "nuts/bolts/levers"
for the rifle barrel, the sidelocks are rather typical
backaction locks.
The barrels are 12-bore above a 400/360 according the owner.
The photos show Suhl-(pre)proof with "Krupp Essen" on
the gun-barrel flats, Vienna nitro-proof AND within
the Viennese records NO indication that source is Suhl.
Ergo gun finished in Vienna.
Sidelock 16-bore
Originated in the 1990's in US in incredibly crisp/near-new
condition. Intercepting sear acting on the top of the
tumbler ( a la Boss), safety catch operated by a small rod
from the closing bolt. Barrels by E.Joris&Co of Nessonvaux,
Liege preproof, Vienna nitro, NO Liege remark as origin,
ergo finished in Vienna
Lock internals
Gunplate - in black (not casecoloured)
according catalogue Kalezky calls this "Schweizer Oxyd"
(i.e.Swiss Oxyd), info from a Ferlach guru this has been
a "Beize" (mordant) no longer in use today
Sidelock 16-bore pair
Sold in 20xx by granddaughter of the original owner, from an Austrian castle/estate. Intercepting sear acting on the underside of the tumbler (a la Holland).
Liege barrel preproof, makersmark JBC within oval,acier Cockerill barrels, nitro proof Vienna, no remark of Liege origin,ergo finished in Vienna

Sidelock over-under combo
Emerged in 201x, 9-pin lock with intercepting sear acting on underside of tumbler, striker spring-operated, no engraving -just name script,oblique tumbler-head for angle-correct blow. Technically a much more solid combo than the ubiquitous 7-pin models, due to VCS (V.C. Schilling) mark barrel ex Suhl,
records quote inland,
ergo finished in Vienna
(for comparison photo of a 7-pin lock added)

Hammergun in deluxe version
Founders name on barrel, owning collector passed away few years ago, collection dispersed by the kids, whereabout unknown
Another hammerrifle in deluxe version
Photo taken years ago in a Czech museum.
There could have been more of Kalezky deluxe gun photos
over the years, but an owners wish "no photo, no
remark/comment neither oral or written" has to be respected.

Kalezky 20-bore nr. 3 ex Ukrainian Internet (nr. 2498)
I thought orginally due to Internet-lviv Address this could be a Kalezky retailed by Dmytrach from Lemberg/Lvov/now Lviv in Ukraine.
Additional photos which showed up later may tell another story. The barrel-flats show script of DIANAFA SZOMBAT..
Szombathely is a town in south-western Hungary and DIANA may be the name of a gunshop in this town. So an alternative could as well be that this is a WW II booty.
This nr.3 has not been proofed in one batch with the
nr.1 and 2. Question arises which are the pairing guns:
Pair of 20 bores have been proofed in 1912 with
proof-nr 1452/1453 and 3074/3075, none in 1911,
proof-nr 80/81 in 1910, earlier years I did not check.
Barrel of this nr. 3 has JBC-mark in oval and cockerill
trade name. It looks to me as if this has been buried,
may be not in a pigstable but in a not much less corro-friendly
This is one more "open trio" of Viennese high-end-shotguns.

A Kalezky 12 bore went years ago to Hungary, the pairing
gun emerged now in a Russian Internet.

A Kalezky 12-pair has been reunited 20 years after the first
emerged. The nr.2 with the typical specs for a hare-battle
gun, full choke in both barrels, min thicknesses 30+ thou,
tight actions and ribs... with these specs as a bird gun
only for chaps with olympic skills.
By oral tradition this belonged to the forester of
a big Czech estate.

Kalezky guncases

The few I have seen had some specific features.
Name/address embossed directly in gold letters on the inside textile-cover . Worms like this and esp. the animal-hide-glue used to fix it on the cover.
One photo shows a case pre-1889, the other one post-1889. The older one has brass corners with "Scottish" shape, the younger one with brass corners which are thinner and with a larger radius than on English ones.
Photo courtesy Bonhams/ Springer rifle case with this
type of rounded (probably drawn) corners
At the right back corner is a spring-operated hold-open lever.
There are normally 3 big compartments, one for the barrel , another one for stock /action and one for accoutrements(with cover).
Photo courtesy Bonhams / Springer rifle case with this
hold-open feature
Sometimes on the right -hand outside front corner name and calibre embossed. Have as well seen walnut in use for the case-body. Cover textile is padded and there is a small glue-strip along the sides to fix it on the cover, the padding is not glued.
One photo added to show the worm-damage at the glue-strip of a Springer rifle-case.

Johann Kalezky ( the elder and founder) passed away in 1889 and his widow Bertha took over ownership of the company.
The guns one encounters today normally date from post-1889
and have the script with the ... Witwe wording on the
barrel, but just Joh. Kalezky on action and plates.
One may wonder how the 29-year old widow could run such a
busines in a man-dominated customer set.
Long before my research and the article I had a comment from
a Viennese lawyer that due to oral tradition the company
was run by their "Werkmeister"/workshop-manager Mr. Hanusch.
He celebrated 40 years of continued service to the
company in 1910, never one day sick or blue.
There is Mr. Crudginton's remarkable trilogy on English
gunmaking, paying tribute to the real inventors and thus
naming the 2 famous English over/unders by their real
inventors Boss/Henderson and Woodward/Hill.
I guess that Kalezky's patent for the falling-block
double rifle has not been the genius-stroke of the widow
Bertha Kalezky but rather that of Mr. Hanusch.

What remains and I have no answer to it is the question
who built these different types of locks as being in use
on the sidelock guns.

There is a comprehensive article in the Internet
on the Wolverhampton lockmakers, with the big 3 names of
Stanton/Chilton/Brazier and all the others one may
find on the internals of English lockplates.
A wonderful example of Taylor's principle of work-
No comparable signature/documentation with all this Kalezky stuff.
Lock making requires a very distinct set of tools/gauges and I wonder who did the work on this different Kalezky weapon-locks.
Either bought in in the white with the lockplates already on .... or some lonesome lockmaking-guru in a backyard within the 2 famous workshop districts of imperial Vienna ... or in Hradec Kralove .. or in Fertörakos.
We dont know.
There exist a 720+ pages 2-volumes work on Viennese
gold-/silversmiths and their proofmarks between 1867-1922, issued 1976/1977.
Today there is just one silversmith with a workshop in Vienna.
Can we expect a fraction of such effort on the former Viennese gunmaking fraternity ?
Cui bono has been Cicero's citation.

I add here a summary of new weapons the Kalezky shop
submitted for proof in the Vienna proofhouse between
1900 and 1915. This is an extract of my notes I took
during my research for my DGJ article.
These are my 18-year old notes, dont take them as
court/auditor proof.
I did not check
any Weipert or Ferlach records for his entry there.
Not included are proofs of handguns,autoloader(Browning),
bolt-action, Winchester, reproofs/repair.
Inland means simply home-made, some records show as source
As the first 4 guns show, even Non-Vienna marks on
barrel could qualify the gun as Inland/home-made
depending on the volume of finishing work undertaken.
For simplification reasons I have assumed that this
reflects his production.

Year Inland Total Shotgun Liege Suhl Weipert England

1900 19 19 16 - - - -
1901 18 18 10 - - - -
1902 36 38 33 - - - 2
1903 32 32 23 - - - -
1904 22 23 15 - 1 - -
1905 16 19 15 2 1 - -
1906 25 28 20 - 1 - 2
1807 20 21 15 - 1 - -
1908 14 15 9 - 1 - -
1909 25 27 19 - - 2 -
1910 50 53 24 1 2 - -
1911 60 69 40 3 4 2 -
1912 87 119 87 20 6 6 -
1913 53 69 56 9 3 - 4
1914 38 41 35 1 2 - -
1915 1 2 - - 1 - -
Total 516 593 417 36 23 10 8
...Total foreign 77...

Our neighbouring Hungarians, descendants of an Asian tribe,
quickly realized the chances at hand after the communist
lost control and the country was free.
There are many nouveau riches,the parking lots before the
major shopping mall south of Vienna with comfortable
Porsche-Cayenne or -Panamera with Hungarian plates.
I am told there is not only a Hungarian Fückert club
but also a Holland club.
So here would be the ultimate kick for one of these
Puszta cowboys with an archeo-interest.
The last pair of 20-bore Kalezkys has been split between the
members of the well-known Storno-family of Sopron during
the 1930's.One is somewhere in Austria, the second was
hidden during communist times inside the Storno-museum
in Sopron.When the museum was up for refurbishing, the
gun was secured and got buried in a garden opposite
the Löver-bath /Sopron, the parcel belonging to the
late Karl Storno.

Label photos
Kalezky pre-1889
Kalezky post-1889
J. Nowotny / Praha (Prague)
I understand from 2 different sources that there exist
descendants. So after the Weipert book has now appeared
may be someone will undertake the endeavour to come up with
a more complete Nowotny-story than my DGJ article
from winter 1995.
Johann Springer's Erben
Guncase labels
Springer guncase label dated 1938 / no imperial crown
anymore /Photo courtesy Bonhams
Guncase accoutrements
An oilbottle with the engraved script on the body
together a rare type of grease-pot
(domed cover with central hole, grease squeezed out
when turning/screwing-home the cover)

To round up the story I have added a vintage photo of a
trap shoot somewhere in the Austro-Hungarian empire.
A time when the trap was a trap and pigeons were
pigeons and the gents properly clad with a top- or
bowler-hat and not yet a walking Litfass-column.
Also a time when a militant animal-protection-
apostle , obsessed with PR,
would not dare to command his cackling girlie-squadron
into a shoot to disturb it ....

Last edited by felix; 11/30/16 06:04 AM.
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 121

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 121

Interesting - will you tell us where you found these numbers?
Some curious questions:
I understand the majority of Kalezky's business were shotguns?
So just as an example, this rifle here
would be one of the 8 "non-shotguns" of 1906 (or later, as the year of proof may not be the year of sale..)

Would "Inland" mean "produced inhouse", or include guns sourced from Ferlach, Wr. Neustadt etc.?
Why is Weipert, then Bohemia listed as foreign?

Best regards

Last edited by fuhrmann; 10/21/16 03:20 AM.
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 136
felix Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 136
To Fuhrmann & others
Gentlemen, patience please.
Have 3 pages of text and many photos
Will do complete staffwork.

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 121

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 121

thanks, this is very interesting!
Today one does first think of rifles from Ferlach but not of shotguns from Austria.
But in the times of the k.u.k. empire, small game was abundant especially in Moravia, Bohemia, Hungary, and Vienna certainly was a good market for high-end shotguns.


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Posts: 136
felix Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 136
Postscriptum to above:
I got forwarded by Springer/Vienna an e-mail ex Belorus asking details on a
FR. NEUBER gun existing in this country.
An e-mail in perfect German and also very kind.
When browsing through the proofrecords of Vienna for the initial
Kalezky article I have seen
more entries there than just the big two, namely Kalezky and Springer.
One would find Neuber, Linsbauer,Stawinoha and many more.
It has been also my intention to come up with a summary on these
lesser known. But with the denial of further access to the
proofrecords, the game is over.
Now after Wikileaks, omnipresent NSA, Charlie Hebdo & Bataklan
/Paris the administration may have become more cautious
about non-working retirees digging into Austria's glorious
I could obvously escalate the non-access to the
regional Hunting-Kapo, but I do not consider to do it and
will refrain from commenting on this gentleman, as this
is a gun-forum and not a place for polemics.
Re Franz Neuber from Wiener Neustadt :
Killed in one of the bombing raids during WW II (this town
has seen the third-heavist bombing of Europe).
I located 2 men in/near Wr. Neustadt, one son of the
last Neuber-trainee, the other one son of the previous-
to-last Neuber trainee. There is a catalogue,
the place where the salesshop has been is known, as well
that of the factory.
What happened to the content is not known, looted or
finally confiscated by the Russian occupation forces.
I come back as I have got now a catalogue of
Franz Neuber & Sohn Gewehrfabrik.
I include some photos out of it.
What does this 191x catalogue tell us:
1. It must have been a solid business in this provincial/
industrial town of Wiener Neustadt, as it was already
transferred/run by the son.
2. Weapons with rifle barrels apparently have been the
dominant segment (boltaction,combos,drillings),
even drillings in sidelock version
3. The shotgun-section has hammerguns,3 Ansons-which
look to me like Weipert/Suhl/Liege-origin, no
high-end sidelock
Front page of catalogue
Backpage of catalogue
There is a medal shown dated 1910, which allows to
date it as post 1910, the currency being crown could
be pre 1925 ( the introduction of the currency Schilling,
but probably pre 1918/end of monarchy)
Catalogue-photo of a sidelock drilling
Catalogue-photo of a double-rifle-drilling
In the introductory page is the comment that the factory is
run by the son.
I asked the owner of the catalogue - son of one of the
Neuber's gunsmiths - if there exist any memorabilia
after his father. Answer: His mother had fled the
town, his father has been prisoner-of-war, when he returned
he found his appartment looted and occupied
by someone else. So this trail is void and I do not
intend to find/pursue any other trail in this bombing/looting/confiscation story....

Fr. Neuber de luxe gun
Photo taken 9 yeas ago

Last edited by felix; 11/18/16 09:32 AM.
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Posts: 136
felix Offline OP
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Posts: 136
...Kalezky addendum...
When editing the Neuber-post I got into my e-mail-inbox
- surpringly -
a dozen of photos of a vintage rifle.Looking on them I did not
believe what I saw , it must have been the ultimate kick for the collector of a vintage rifle. A Kalezky falling block single
shot in NEW condition. Built 1906, the proof mark & record
show 10,7 as calibre, all the hardening colour , the stock
hardly any mark/bruise, checkering crisp, no sign of "being
done up for sale". It turned out that it did emerge in a
local Viennese auction, made 4,5 times the original estimate
and was sold to a collector outside Austria. I did not
look at it at auction time as weapons for game which does
not fly are not my matter.
It is a Austro/Scottish joint venture, the system is a
Henry hammer falling block, with elements of an Ischler Stutzen, fully stocked with a stag horn piece ending, barrel internally mirror-clean. It is not known if Henry supplied the system
or it is Kalezky-shop made.
This system may have been the spark that Werkmeister Hanusch came along with the Kalezky-patented falling block double
(There has been one on the market in US recently)
Clarification of the exact calibre is ongoing. There is
speculation that it may be Springer's propriatory 10,75x52R.
If this is the case then there may be a story behind this.
Austrian crown prince Franz Ferdinand hunted in Egypt also crocs. A very proficient shot he did not bag what he shot
because the crocs still could make it into the water.
He returned very annoyed
and complained to Springer that - as successor to the throne-
is serviced with unusable weaponry.
Springer's answer was a.m. cartridge.
How can it be that after 110 years this rifle is still
like new.
May be the original customer did not return from WW I, may
be the cartridges were not available for 90/80/70 years...
If it emerged in Austria how did it survive the all confiscating
Russian invasion of 1945, when many guns in the country side
were buried at places where a Russian soldier would not
dig/open, preferably pig stables, an environment not very corro-proof.


There may be an answer to the calibre question.
I attach here 4 pages of a 3-pages promo-flyer and page
28 of the Kalezky catalogue.
Catalogue cover
4 pages from the Kalezky catalogue
sidelock double gun - top model
corresponding explanatory text
sidelock double rifle - top model
Guncase details
I have taken a look on Austrian prices and income in 1914:
Workers monthly income 99 crown, man suit 45 crown,
1 kg bread 0,32 crown.
That means a top grade Kalezky shotgun was about
8 months income of a worker.
(Side-remark: If one takes 1914 price-index at 100 crown, the
index for 1918 was 1120, for 1921 16905 and for 1924 1378900.)
But happily there are still countries where a $ was/is a $
and also a GBP was/is a GBP).
Letter to a Kalezky customer ; postage stamp from 1931

The last page of the promo-flyer has calibre quotations.
The upper one is on this 10,75 mm .
I checked if in the original this is a 1:1 scaling, answer
is yes, the ubiquitous 9,3x74R shows a cartridge
length of 74.
So the big one is 10,75 x 68 R (+-).
The two Viennese cartridge gurus I knew are gone since long,
I assume someone in GGCA or in great old Germany knows
this by heart.
To translate:
10,75 Vo 725 ms, energy 600 mkg powder 5g
9,3 Vo 750 ms, energy 550 mkg powder 4,5 g
7,9 Vo 950 ms, energy 460 mkg powder 4 g

These loadings and Vo's were based on the new rifle-powder
to be introduced in Austria ( at this past time).
These are their Africa-loadings, for European use
they recommended a ligther-version with less powder and
less bullet-weight.
The catalogue page shows for their Euro-load 3,5 g for the
In addition these loads would also apply for Rottweil
powder 1293.

Last edited by felix; 11/24/16 04:15 PM.
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 9,069
Likes: 1

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 9,069
Likes: 1
Preach on as we wait w/ baited breath..... I've always wanted to be on a good cocodrilo hunt.



Joined: Aug 2007
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Likes: 1

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 9,069
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Johann Kalezky Wien DR in 9.3x74R with Kalezky Patent atop the block

Was it this variety of falling block? Also, examples suggest that Johann Kalezky sourced Alex Henry for components and were possibly chummy. Have you an information that there was a direct relationship between Alex Henry & Johann Kalezky?



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Posts: 136
felix Offline OP
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Posts: 136
To Raimey and others:
My previous post will have as the first 2 photos from
this promoflyer pictures of their double-rifle falling
I assume that they did not build the systems piece-by-piece
but had some system of optimal lot-size.
(A common question in university examens).
Some questions and no answers:
- What happened to the batch of raw-parts once
the horror of WW I had started.
- Did they continue to build after WW I

My impresssion is that some systems were left over
- even after WW II - and finally used up.
The proofmark would tell the story.

According Hans Jiricek ( now aged 86 and still toiling at the bench )there has been a gentleman agreement between Kalezky
and Springer not to unhook each others gunsmiths.
This came to an end when by the end of the 1920's
Springers business was booming and that of Kalezky rather
poor, so some of the Kalezky crew moved to Springer.

This is not only reflected with the number of items
submitted to proof but also visible with a Kalezky flyer from
end 1931 with just 2-pages of retail-guns, no high-end stuff
As to the question of business relationship between
Kalezky and Henry, the book of Jonathan Kirton/British
falling block rifle may
provide some insight.
This book has a very detailed list of Henry rifles
and their customers. Beside others also some
wellknown aristo names (Kinski,Nadasdy,..) of the
Austro-Hungarian empire, also 2 Henry rifles shipped
to the Vienna exhibition of 1873 and one full page 43
of a Ferlach/Henry joint venture with a rather unknown
retailer from the province.

I guess that Kalezky took/used the Henry system the same
style he used the prefabricated Belgian or Suhl barrels
for shotgun or drilling.
For both sides a win-win situation.

To conclude here is a photo of an ad page of the
contemporary hunting magazine, showing on the same
page Henry's ad and also Kalezky's ad.
What an absolute ad show by the Scot Henry about his royal appointments
HIM queen Victoria, HRH prince of Wales, HRH Duke of Sachsen
Coburg etc etc.
As told in my neighbouring post (Creeping Orwellian ...)
we are all missing hard and positive photo facts on these royal
adventures. Instead we get to see - in Dave Carrie's
great clip on Warter Priory - affluent commoners with
long-barrelled O/U Berettas and Brownings and other Japanese
weapons and in the yellow press this brace of ugly
pet dogs of the present queen. We are waiting to see instead alma mater Victoria with her x-th stag .....

Last edited by felix; 11/13/16 04:03 PM.
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 9,069
Likes: 1

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 9,069
Likes: 1
Lovely addendum and sleuthing. Provide access to the images & I'll get them on the page.



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