For many generations the family name Schilling has been associated with Zella-Mehlis, gun making center in Germany with a rich tradition. The first official record of aHammermeister (sledge hammer master) in Mehlis, Caspar Schilling, dates back to 1648.
Alfred Schilling, the son of the metal worker and innkeeper Veit Schilling, founded the company in 1898. Even back then he was able to produce complex machine parts for various other firms. With the acquisition and employment of the first automatic gear head engine lathe (Loewe, Berlin) in Zella-Mehlis in 1905, he could specialize in making revolver cylinders and other small parts for pistols. After the excavation of a mill pond and the erection of a water wheel for power generation in 1912, the small family business became one of the technically most modern businesses of this region. The revolver cylinders were delivered to different hand gun manufacturers such asAnschuetz and Weihrauch as well as to other manufacturers and artisans in the local rifle making trade.
With the end of World War II and the banning of firearms manufacturing of any kind in Germany, the Alfred Schilling Company and other businesses were challenged to find new products and new markets. As a result of the takeover of the firm in 1945 by Alfred’s son Veit (same name as his grandfather Veit), new business ideas were established. They ranged from resuming the mass production of cigarette lighters made of billets from the Junkers Werkein Dessau, to manufacturing complete small oil presses for rape and poppy seeds. This versatility assured the firm’s survival. By 1950 the company was able to provide high precision machined parts for the ZEISS optical factory in Jena, which needed industrial partners due to their lack of suitable machinery and production capacity.
The political changes and restrictions by the former government in East Germany led to the nationalization of the business in 1972. With the retirement of the former owner, Veit Schilling, the production was continuously neglected. However, with the re-unification of Germany and the return of industry to individual owners in 1990, it was possible to consider a new beginning in 1994 despite the deteriorated property and the aging machinery.
Alfred Schilling-Veit Schilling-Jörg Schilling
In 1998, exactly one hundred years after its establishment, the Alfred Schilling Company was re-founded by the grandson, Joerg Schilling. After finishing his studies in precision mechanics at the University of Jena and several years as an engineer for the Suhler Jagd- und Sportwaffen GmbH, the makers of Merkel firearms, he was able to take up his original goal, the continuation of the family business in the fourth generation. In the beginning the company produced and repaired aperture sights (tang sights) and parts for the older target rifles and pistol sights. In addition, accessories for traditional target shooting such as ammunition boxes in various configurations and canvas cases for the old rifles were also offered.
Since 2000 the Alfred Schilling Company offers its own target/hunting rifles with action reproductions of the originally ones made in Mehlis byBuechel with a tapered octagonal barrel. They are available in the common hunting calibers, including those with a light report for shooting in built-up areas and more powerful calibers for big game, when requested. Also available are also a lighter model for small caliber plinking or target shooting. Various styles of engraving and ornamentations are available, including gold and silver inlays and stock carving. The actions and parts are also available with traditional color case hardening done in-house. A full spectrum of options to suit the individual wishes are available. Special surface treatments such as color case hardening and Suhler Bluing is used in manufacturing of guns and also offered to other companies by the Schilling Spezialbeschichtungen GmbH that was founded in May 2000.