Dietrich Apel and the Foto Gallerie Suhl Waffenkunst or Gun Makers Poster Project

By Larry B. Schuknecht

From the very beginning of the German Gun Collectors Association, it’s founder- Dietrich Apel not only wanted to collect and feature information about German guns and gun makers but also wanted to do all he could to promote the appreciation for the culture surrounding the City of Gun Makers- Suhl with the rest of the World. In 2006 while visiting Suhl he had a meeting with then Oberbürgermeister (Lord Mayor) Dr. Triebel and Mr. Ehrhardt who owned a premier car dealership in the old J. P. Sauer factory building known as Autohaus Ehrhardt. From that meeting came the idea for the creation of a series  of posters using the outstanding photographs of Sporting Guns that he had accumulated over the years.

In the summer of 2007 Dietrich made what he thought was to be his last trip to Suhl, Germany, the city that he grew up in. While there he learned that in the following year- 2008 many events would take place in Suhl that he and many other GGCA members might want to attend. One of those events was the re-opening of the Waffenmuseum after extensive remodeling.  This put Dietrich’s drive to create the posters into high gear and by Nov. of 2007 he had several posters done.  One of the first posters he completed was for the Museum in Tambach where the GGCA had a display of German guns.

As the project progressed he worked closely with Tom Bulloch in the United States who did the final layout and printing was done by Peter Bach in Germany, The world renowned engraver Hendrik Fruehauf also worked with Peter Bach to solicit and collect funds for the project, John Neumann in the United States helped with the business end of the project and Dr. Elisabeth Rockenstein in Germany, who represented a group known as The Friends of the Waffenmuseum, took an active part in soliciting support but more importantly took charge of their presentation and their placement. In all Dietrich created 18 beautiful art posters which were installed in many different locations around Germany and Suhl in particular. He had intended to create 24 posters and had 6 in the works that were never finished. To my knowledge all of the posters measured 50 x 75 cm but were made available in smaller sizes if desired. Also a montage of five of the posters was produced in a very limited number.

Following is a list of the 18 posters, their location and to whom  they were presented and displayed.

No. 1- Graviertes Sauer System- In the Autohaus Ehrhardt

No. 2- Sauer / Schilling Flinte- in the Autohaus Ehrhardt

No. 3- Meffert Drilling- Bank on Steinweg Strasse

No. 4- Caspar Schaller Gewehre- Oberbürgermeister Triebel

No. 5- Franz Jäger Vertikal Block System- Büchsenmacher School

No. 6.- Haenel Hahnflinte 1 & 2 pair- Dr. Rockenstein

No. 7.- Haenel Aydt Scheibenbueschen (Haenel poster no. 3)- Schiessport Zentrum

No. 8.- Lindner-Daly Querflinten- Goldener Hirsch

No. 9.- Doersch Zuendnadel Beuchse- Herr Rudolph

No. 10.- Abesser & Merkel- Museum Erfurt

No. 11.- Gebrueder Merkel- Firm Merkel

No. 12.- A. Fritze- Dr. Fritze

No. 13.- Sempert & Krieghoff- Voruebegehend Schiessport

No. 14.- Lindner Daly Trap Gun- Schiessport Zentrum

No. 15.- Haenel-Aydt Schiebenbuchse 2- Gymnaseum(Oberschule)

No. 16.- Waffen Museum- Same

No. 17.- Jagdmuseum Tambach- Waffenmuseum Suhl

No. 18.- Museum in Zella-Mehlis- same

No. 19.- Aydt pistol

The Posters that were never completed-

No. 20.- Kettner in Suhl & Koeln

No. 21.- Steigleder, Suhl & Berlin

No. 22- Meffert exhibition gun

Poster no. 1- The engraved Sauer action which was presented to the Autohaus Ehrhardt
Mr. Ehrhardt (on the left) accepting the poster from Dr. Elisabeth Rockenstein and Peter Bach (in the rear)
Poster no. 2-The Sauer- Schilling presented to Mr. Ehrhardt for the Autohaus Ehrhardt
Mr. Ehrhardt accepting the Sauer-Schilling poster from Dr. Elisabeth Rockenstein and Peter Bach.
The Sauer posters on display in the Autohaus Ehrhardt foyer in 2008
Poster no. 3- The Meffert Lichtmetallgewehre Drilling
The Meffert Poster on display in the Bank lobby
poster no. 4- The Caspar Schaller
Poster no. 5- The Franz Jäger vertical block drilling
Elisabeth Rockenstein presenting the Franz Jäger poster to the head teacher at the Suhl Gun Makers School
No. 6- Haenel Poster no. 2- Presented to Dr. Elisabeth Rockenstein along with the Haenel Poster no. 3
No. 6- Haenel poster no. 3- presented to Dr. Elisabeth Rockentein along with the Haenel poster no. 2
No. 7- Haenel poster no. 4 presented to the Schiessport Zentrum
A blue background version of the Haenel poster


No. 8- Linder Querflinte presented to the Goldener Hirsch Inn
Dr. Elisabeth Rockenstein presenting the poster at the Goldener Hirsch
The Linder poster hanging in the Bar area of the Goldener Hirsch Inn.
No. 9- The Doersch poster presented to Herr Rudolph ?
No. 10- Abesser & Merkel presented to the Erfurt Museum
No. 11- The Gebruder Merkel poster presented to Elke Weiss at Merkel
Elke Weiss receiving the poster on behalf of the Merkel Co. from Steve Meyer and Dietrich Apel
No. 12- the A. Fritze poster presented to Dr. Fritze
No. 13- the Sempert & Krieghoff poster presented to the Voruebegehend Schiessport
The recipient of the Sempert & Kerieghoff poster
No. 14- The Lindner Daly Trap Gun presented to the Schiessport Zentrum
No. 15 & 16- The Haenel poster no. 4 , the 2nd Haenel Schiebenbusche presented to the Gymnaseum (Oberschule) & the Waffen Museum
Poster no. 17 & 18- The Tambach Museum poster presented to the Zella-Mehlis Proof House Museum
Dietrich holding the Tambach Museum poster in front of the Zella Mehlis Proof House. Dietrich’s daughter Chris and his grand daughter Allison who accompanied him on the 2008 trip related the following back story to me- Dietrich had this poster framed in Suhl and the tour accommodations were at the Ringberg Hotel high on a mountain overlooking Suhl. He was carrying the Poster down the steps from his hotel room and somehow missed the last step. He landed OK and did not hurt himself but the glass was broken. He had it framed a second time at the same place… rush delivery. This time he got it to the car OK but in his haste, left it on the car roof and drove off to deliver it to it’s final hanging place. When he didn’t have it on arrival, he and Allison back tracked and found it on the side of the road…with broken glass again ! He had it framed a third time…same place…and it finally was delivered safe and sound.
No. 19- The Haenel Aydt target pistol
Dr. Elisabeth Rockenstein (left) presenting the Aydt Pistol poster with Peter Bach (right).
The old Meffert exhibition image which was one of the never completed posters


The montage of 5 posters in the vertical layout, there was also one done in a horizontal layout.