By Larry B. Schuknecht
The Helfricht family of gunmakers is another old and extensive one which has roots going back at least as far as 1700 and members practicing their skills in both Europe and the United States.
In the set of books Der Neue Støckel by Eugène Heer we find references to a Heinrich Helfricht working in Altenburg, Sachsen, Germany circa 1700 and a C. J. Helfricht working in Zella, Sachsen, Germany circa 1845.
The book Johann Samuel Koenig by Sam Koenig relates that the Koening and Helfricht families were joined by marriage while still in Germany before they emmigrated to America. Johann Friedrich Helfricht (1781-1847) was a gunsmith who was descended from a Gun Making family in Zella St. Blasii.
The following information was gleaned from two sources- the Trade Directory of German Gunmakers in Vol. II of the books Alte Schiebenwaffen by Tom Rowe and the Gunmakers Archive of Pape and Kellner.
It is important to note a few things here before we proceed to the list of names. On April 1, 1919 the independent cities of Zella St. Blasii and Mehlis were joined to make one entity known as Zella-Mehlis. Also it is not known if the addresses given in the following listings are for a Home, Shop or combination of both.
Arthur Helfricht- located at Bahnhofstrasse 57 in Zella-Mehlis circa 1929, listed as a Gun Maker & Gunsmith.
Artur Helfricht-A Gunsmith located at Grose Bahnhofstrasse 17 in Zella-Mehlis in 1924. (Note- It is note known if this is the same man listed above which may be a possibility)
Bruno Helfricht- Located at Hauptstrasse 54 in 1929 and Märzenberg 20 in 1936 in Zella-Mehlis. A Gunsmith who passed his Master Gunsmith examination in 1932, he was the son of Louis H. helfricht who was a Master Gun Maker. Not to be confused with Bruno Hugo Helfricht.
Gebrüder Helfrict- A Rifle manufacturer located at Forstgasse 9 in Zella-Mehlis in 1924, owned by Bruno Helfricht possibly as early as 1899 but documented in 1914, 1920 and 1924.
Bruno Hugo Helfricht- One of the owners of the firm Helfricht & Fischer which was located at Forstgasse 9 (1912-1939). The firm (a Luxusgewehrefabrik) was founded in 1859 possibly by Traugott Helfricht who was Bruno Hugo Helfricht’s father. Positively the firm was run by Traugott from 1899 to 1912.
Helfricht & Fischer- Forstgasse Strasse 9 (1912-1939), the firm was a Gun Factory founded in 1859 with production and distribution of hunting and Target Weapons, Ranger scopes. It was operated around the turn of the Century by Traugott Helfricht and his son-Bruno Hugo. 1929 they were listed as an Agent (Travel agency) for the Hamburg-America Line. On Aug. 15, 1908 they were granted use of a DRGM no. 351857 for the “Stabil” a rifle designed by Hilmar Stötzer. They went out of business around 1939. The identity of Mr. Fischer is unknown as is his role in the firm.
Above and below are two drillings made by Helfricht and Fischer and sold by Bonham’s Auctions on Dec.3, 2008 (lot #131) and May 18, 2017 (Lot#446).
Below are images of a Bock combination gun proofed in May 1920 and made by Helfricht and Fischer. It is 5.6 x 58 Sauer over 16 ga.
Edmund Helfricht- A Master Gunmaker located at Gr. Bahnhofstrasse 12 in Zella St. Blasii. He was born on March 22, 1853 and died on June 8, 1923. He was in business until around 1912.
Ernst August Helfricht- A Gunsmith located at Marzenberg 34 in Zella St. Blasii around 1912-1913. He became a Master Gunsmith and System builder working until 1936.
Ernst Helfricht (A)- Located at Ackerstrasse 1 in Zella St. Blasii circa 1912, he wasa Master Gunsmith and Restauranteur.
Ernst Helfricht (B)- A Master Gunsmith located at Marktstrasse, Zella St. Blasii in 1912, Marzenberg 20 in Zella-Mehlis in 1929 and at Damaschkeweg 16 in Zella-Mehlis in 1936.
Helfricht & Weber- Owned by Ernst Helfricht and Richard Weber the firm manufactured weapons and did Gunsmithing. Located in Zella-Mehlis circa 1913. Helfricht was from Zella-Mehlis while weber was from Bieberitz near Madgeburg. they wer off of the Commercial Register by 1923.
Franz Helfricht- A Gunsmith who was located at Friedebergstrasse 1 in Zella-Mehlis in 1924 and Rodebachstrasse 9 in Zella-Mehlis in 1936.
Fritz Helfricht (A) – A Gunsmith working at Hammerweg 8 and Hammerweg 21 in Zella-Mehlis in 1924.
Fritz Helfricht (B)- A Gunsmith who worked at Ludwig-Jahn-Strasse 18 in 1931 He passed his Master Gunsmith examination in Zella-Mehlis in 1936. He was the son of Otto Helfricht who was also a Gunsmith at Bierbachstrasse in Zella-Mehlis.
Gebhardt Helfricht- A Master Gun Stocker who was located at Hauptstrasse 61a in Zella-Mehlis circa 1929.
Hermann Helfricht- A Gunsmith or Gunmaker located at Heinrich-Erhardtstrasse 13 in Zella-Mehlis in 1929.
Hermann Otto Helfricht- A Master Stock Maker located at Vorderhügel 10 in Zella-Mehlis circa 1929-1939.
Karl Helfricht- A Master Stockmaker located at Köpfchen 13 / Langewiese 7 in Zella-Mehlis in the late 1920’s.
Kuno Helfricht- specialized in the design, manufacture and sale of pistols and revolvers in the 1920’s he held German patents one of which was for a semi automatic handgun manufactured by A. Krausser- the Helkra.
L. Richard Helfricht- Located at Märzenberg, he was aGunsamith documented in 1925.
Louis Helfricht- a Master Stockmaker located at Heinrich-Erhardt-Strasse 13 in Zella-Mehlis in the late 1920’s (documented in 1924, 1929)
Louis Helfricht- A Master Stockmaker Located at Kleintiegel 138 in Zella-Mehlis in 1929. ( is this the same man at a different location or is one location a home while the other is a business location?)
Louis Helfricht- A Master Gunsmith and System Builder located at Märzenberg 20 in Zella-Mehlis from circa 1912 to 1936.
Max Helfricht- A Gunsmith at Hammerweg 15 in 1929 and at Bergstrasse 5 in 1936, in Zella-Mehlis circa 1929-1936
Max Helfricht-A Stock Maker located at Kleine Anspelstrasse 3 in Zella-Mehlis in 1925.
Oskar Helfricht- The son of Hermann Helfricht, he was a Gunsmith who passed his examination for Master Gunsmith in 1932. he was located at Buddeusstrasse 24 in 1924, Buddeusstrasse 32 in 1929 and Rodebachstrasse 131 in 1936.
Otto Eduard Helfricht- A gunsmith located on Bierbachstrasse in 1929.
Otto Helfricht- A Gunsmith located in the new Walther building on Berstrasse in 1924.
Otto Helfricht- There are two Gunsmiths with that name in 1929- one at Berstrase 18 in 1929 and the other, the son of Louis Helfrich at Karlstrasse 8 and at Bergstrasse 18 in 1936. Also there are two Stock Makers circa 1912-1913 one at Märzenberg 41 and the other at Suhlerstrasse 1. (again these may be home and shop addresses for the same (2) men)
Paul Helfricht- A Gunsmith located at Katzenbuckel 8 in Zella-Mehlis in 1913
Paul Helfricht- Master Gunsmith at Obere Oberzella 4e in Zella-Mehlis circa 1924.
Paul Helfricht- A Gunsmith located at Kleintiegel 2 (circa 1912), Felsengasse 10 (1929) and Sternbergstrasse 4 circa 1936.
Reinhold Helfricht-Located on Anspelstrasse 3 in Zella-Mehlis, he was stock maker circa 1925.
Richard Helfricht-Located at Kleintiegel 16 in Zella-Mehlis he was a stock maker circa 1913
Rudolf Helfricht-Located on Anspelstrasse 10 in Zella-Mehlis he was a Gunsmithcirca 1929.
Traugott Helfricht- Located at Forstgasse 9 in Zella-Mehlis he operated a Weapons Factory which was founded in 1860 and described as a Luxusgewehrfabrk. He operated it until circa 1913.
Otto & Rudolf Helfrict were partners in a Stock making business at Vorderhügel 10 in Zella-Mehlis in 1925.
In addition to the above information, we have a listing from the 1949/1950 Einwohnerbuch for Suhl and Zella-Mehlis which lists quite a few of these individuals.
According to the book Steel Canvas by R. L. Wilson Charles Julius Ferdinand Helfricht (1825-1909) was a very talented gun maker who learned the trade in Germany before he came to America. one of the sons of Johann Friedrich Helfricht previously noted in this pages third paragraph. He was skilled in both wood and metal work as well as engraving. When he came to America he went to work for Colt as a Sub Contractor doing Stock and Gunmaking.
His son Cuno was born in Thuringen, Germany on January 26, 1851 and was in Hartford, Ct. by 1860. He apprenticed as an engraver under his father from 1860 to 1869 and went to work as a Sub Contractor to Colt. In the late 1860’s Colt sent Cuno to Berlin to formally study engraving, returning to America in 1871. He worked at engraving for Colt for the rest of his working life (nearly 50 years). He had a staff of as many as 6 engravers working for him in the period 1875 to 1885. Cuno passed away on Aug. 22, 1927 and was laid to rest in the Ceder Hill Cemetary in Hartford, Ct.