In 2020 the Swedish periodical Jakt & Jágare contained an article by our good friend Fredrik Franzén about a pair of hammer ejector shotguns made by H. Roedl in Prague.
H. Roedl of Prague- a pair of hammer ejector guns
By Fredik Franzén.
Hammer-Ejector guns are rare. The ejectors were developed about the same time as the hammerless gun. With the popularity of the new hammerless guns, people who wanted ejectors naturally bought a hammerless gun. But there were some conservative hunters who for one reason or another wanted to use hammer guns even decades after the hammerless was developed. In England King George V and Lord Ripon used hammer ejector guns into the 1930’s. I have seen and heard about several Purdey, Boss, Grant and other English hammer ejector guns, but very few made by German, Belgian and other continental gun makers.
Around 1980 I found a very nice Roedl-Prague 20 bore hammer ejector gun (no. 2 of a pair) at a gun auction in Stockholm. Prague was the capital of Czechoslovakia at that time. The only marking on the gun, apart from the name, is a Liege (Belgium) provisional proof mark. This was used from 1852 on, so it was no help in dating the gun. If the gun was made in Belgium it should have had more Belgian proof marks such as ELG and others. I think that the gunmaker who produced the gun bought the barrels in a rough state from Liege.
But the question is- who really produced the gun. Was Roedl a gunmaker or did he buy his guns in a rough or finished state from Suhl, Germany? We know that Nowotny, another Prague gunmaker, had a shop in Suhl and probably ordered his guns from the Suhl gun trade. The Roedl is of a very high quality and it has ejectors, so it must have been made by a very talented and skilled craftsman. I doubt that a small gunmaker who only built a few guns could build such a gun. As it has no proof marks it must have been built before 1892 as both Germany and Czechoslovakia started to proof their guns at that time.
The ejector system is marked “Patent” but unfortunately there is no number for the patent. When one lock is fired the hammer hits a slide outside of the lock and this slide pushes a pin forward, which releases the ejector when the gun is opened. The principle for this is about the same as that used on some hammerless guns.
I have been happy with this Roedl no. 2 for 25 years, but I always thought about no. 1 and wondered where it was. I had written about the gun in Swedish gun magazines and asked for information about no. 1, but no answer. However a few years ago it was for sale by a gun dealer here in Sweden. I was a little slow in deciding to buy it and suddenly it was sold to someone else. It was bought by another dealer and went to France where it was for sale for a very high price. This price, very likely was too high and the gun was not sold and last year it was back in Sweden and I was able to buy it at a reasonable price.
Now I am the happy owner of a true pair of best quality 20 bore hammer ejector guns. I have shot no. 2 some during the years and no. 1 is also in very very good condition with thick barrels, so I can use them as a pair.
There is not much information about Heinrich Roedl’s life and career available that can be documented. He seems to have been a Gentleman who had an active social/business life with his fingers into many things, among them- manufacturing fine guns, Ink, Ladies leather gloves, and sales of other items made by other companies. He was the Chairman of the Merchant’s Association in Prague. The few following facts are from sources found in Google Books and translations were done with Google Translate so they may not be accurate.
On Sept. 7, 1863 The official establishment of the Women’s fashion and Nurnbergerwaarenhandel in Prague, Power of Attorney to Professor Heinrich Roedl under the signature-“J. V. Roedl, H. Roedl”.
From the Handels und Gewerbe Addressbuch des Österreichischen Kaiserstaates-1867 we find he following:
Roedl, J.V.- firm founder: Joseph Victorin Roedl. Women’s fashion and Nurnbergerwaarenhandel which he himself and in whose power of attorney Heinrich Roedl is entitled under the signature: “pp. J. V. Roedl, H. Roedl”.
From the above we can assume that Joseph Victorin Roedl was Heinrich’s father or brother.
Evidently at one time Heinrich and Isidor Schmidl were partners and on Oct. 1, 1868 it was officially declared that each had the right to operate independently at Bergmanns Gasse 7.
In 1874 Heinrich took over the Ink Factory of Julius Hofmair in Prague.
In 1892 he was located on Sternberggasse
On March 8, 1894 Heinrich Roedl in Prague was issued the German patent no. 73742 for the design of Ejectors for Break Action guns.
In 1900- Imperial Councilor Heinrich Roedl, Manufacturer & Chairman of the Merchant’s Association in Prague.
On Oct. 29, 1903 application for Registration of the business: Wandschuhfabrik: the Manufacture of Leather Gloves by Heinrich Roedl in Munich, Germany. Recorded on Jan. 27, 1904, no. 66436.
Following is the German Patent (DRP) no, 73742 of 1894 issued to h. Roedl for his Ejector Mechanism.