By Axel Pantermühl
This is a story of one of the smaller gun makers of Suhl who is not as well known amongst the many of that city, but of no less importance.
Kaspar Edmund Stobbe, the son of the shoe last maker-Johann H. Christoph Stobbe and his wife-Marie Lisette, née Keller, was born on July 27, 1842 in Suhl. After he served an apprenticeship and learned the System maker’s trade and after acquiring further technical and commercial knowledge, he founded the business- “Albert Stobbe-Systemmacher” in 1865 at 76 & 77 Rasenstrasse. He purchased the building in 1870 from Johann Paul Sauer for 900 Thalers. Later this address became Roschstrasse 11 which was demolished in 1987/88. The August Schüler rifle factory was next door to it. In 1921 Albert purchased the neigboring property at Roschstrasse 9 which included a garden.
Edmund Stobbe usually employed 8 to 10 skilled workers, usually two of these being apprentices. One of these apprentices- Christian Lang later became a trades teacher at the local technical school. In 1870 he married Emilie Benz, the daughter of the master stock maker Jakob-Kaspar Benz.
Heinrich Albert, (pictured at the right) the son of Edmund Stobbe was born on January 19, 1871. After completing his schooling, he learned the trade of Gunsmith and after compleing his two year military service, he joined his father’s company in 1892. Gradually, through appropriate advertising and the production of quality weapons, a well-to-do customer base was built up within Germany, as a result of which the number of orders for quality guns became well established. The workshop at Roschstrasse 11 mainly consisted of the Assembly shop, repair shop and completion department where the hunting gun models preferred at the time was carried out. The other necessary work such as stocking, engraving, etc. was carried out as wage work outside the Company. The weapons were marked with the name “A. Stobbe-Suhl” on the barrel rib or the barrels and a stamp on the barrel hook or some other prominant place consisted of the letters “AStS”. As with the majority of gun making companies in Suhl, the Stobbe company also made guns for the retail trade which were sold with the purchasers name on them. For example, they made guns for the court gunsmith J. J. Reeb in Bonn, Johann Peterlongo in Innsbruck, and Robert Schüler in Cologne. They also purchased guns made by others such as the Röhmer Werk and sold them with the A. Stobbe name on them.
On August 11, 1900 Heinrich Albert Stobbe married Emilie Schilling, the daughter of the master gunsmith Gottlieb Schilling. Four children were born of this marriage- Paul (1901-1902), Walter (1903-1916), Rudolf (1907-1976) and Erich (1910- ). After the death of company founder- Kaspar Edmund Stobbe in 1909, Heinrich Albert Stobbe took over the company , which he called Albert Stobbe, Waffenfabrik Suhl from then on. The Albert Stobbe rifle factory was only entered in the commercial register under no. 321 on January 8, 1921. The production of hunting weapons continued with a Vierling or 4 barrel gun being a specialty as stated in a 1923 advertisement. The finished weapons were fired at the shooting range of the August Schüler company in Rimbachstrasse. Heinrich Albert Stobbe was elected as an assessor at the commercial court.
On Nov. 10,1911 he added his signature to the above list as a founding member of the Suhl Manufacturers Association and among other things , a member of the privileged rifleman’s guild in Suhl. Albert’s sons Rudolf and Erich grew to maturity and Erich continued in the gunmakers trade. Rudolf learned the trade of a Merchant at the higher business school in Meiningen and he worked as an accountant in the Schlegelmilch porcelain factory in Mäbendorf. Erich learned the trade of system maker from Friedrich Peter who specialized in that work. He eventually specialized in fitting stocks and Scopes and completed the gunsmith courses I and II from 1929 to 1930 at the local technical school for the rifle industry. He then spent six months in the Ernst Röll stock shop and another six months in telescope assembly with Oskar Bock.
In February 1928 the periodical Der Waffenschmied reported that “After spending only a few days in a sick bed, Mr. Albert Stobbe, gun manufacturer, Roschstr. 11 resident. The deceased, who has reached the age of 57, belonged to the middle-class City Council faction, which the Graveur August Heym, of Reustal 26, who was a member of the last City Council meeting, will now take his place in accordance with the order of the election proposal.” After the sudden death of Heinrich Albert Stobbe on January 28, 1928, his son Rudolf took over ythe management of the company from a commercial point of view. The “Der Waffenschmied” stated in July of 1928: “The widow Emilie Stobbe, at the same time as the legal representative of her underage sons Erich Stobbe and Rudolf Stobbe, runs the gun factory for the deceased. “
Erich worked in his father’s company from the middle of 1930 until January 31, 1932. The global economic crisis, which resulted in the collapse of 60,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Germany, did not go unnoticed by the arms factory-Albert Stobbe either. Despite the efforts of Rudolf Stobbe, who made several trips to the Rhineland to secure the customer base primarily found there, the company closed in 1932 due to a lack of orders. Rudolf found a job at Simson & Co., where he rose to become head of payroll accounting. Erich was a filer, fitter, foreman and materials planner at Simson & Co. (Axel Pantermühl thanked Michael Stobbe for his editing and additions to the draft.) This story was interpreted using Google interpreting and edited by Larry B. Schuknecht.
Click HERE to see the 1905 Albert Stobbe catalog.
Following are images of a drilling made by the Röhmer Werks in Suhl and sold by Albert Stobbe. It was recently (Oct. 2009) sold on the Gunauction.com web site. Click HERE to read more about the maker of this drilling.