Gustav E. Fükert


R.S. Ellenburg
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Johann Fükert’s father(Gustav E. Fükert’s Grandfather) was named Gustav or Jan or Johann’s name included Gustav.

Circa 1872, after 1870 when Gustav E Fükert took the reins of the Company Gustav Fükert and prior to the 1873 Universal Exhibition in Vienna, Gustav E. Fükert had 19 craftsmen in his facility and was listed as Waffen-Erzeuger, Weipert, Böhmen offering scatterguns and a choice of rifles on the Remington, Martini, Snider and Polzenschläger(?) systems.

Odd though at the same time and as an adjacent listing Johann Fückert is listed.

The Company Gustav Fükert has it origins from 1830 and it was founded by Gustav Fükert’s father Jan or Johann Fükert.

Two possibilities arise: one being that Jan or Johann as a weapons maker having been in business for 30 years which implies that the company of Johann Fückert had its origins circa 1844(?) or Jan or Johann also had the Gustav name or it was a family name.

Johann is noted as a maker to folks in Austria as well as England and Russia. Circa 1872 Johann Fückert employed 50 craftsmen.

So why would there be two variations of Fükert/ Fückert being adjacent listings?

Fükertovo looks to be the root/surname with variants such as Fükert, Fückert, Fikert and Fickert.

All were either listed as gunmakers or associated with the gun trade in Weipert.

Johann Fükert, or Joh. Fikert as it is sometimes seen is one of a few of the Fükertovo variant gunsmiths, along with Vaclav (Wenzel) Fükert (mid to late 19th century) in the 1861 Weipert listing.

There are other variants like Jan Fükert / Fückert that are seen on percussion arms, as well as Lefaucheux / Lefaucheux Werndl sporting arms from the founding of Gustav Fükert up until 1870 when Gustav E. was at the helm. The circa 1872 listing both of Gustav E. Fükert and Johann Fükert is puzzling.

Jan / Johann, like many of the Bohemian / Weipert craftsmen, did not utilize mechanization and preferred to make their products totally by hand. This preference along with other factors led to the demise of the Bohemian / Weipert craftsmen.

At the time in 1859 the Grand Duke of Tuscany was taken aback by the level of craftsmanship and held the examples as equals, or higher, to their London and Paris counterparts. The Grand Duke of Tuscany may have been the largest purchaser, as far as nobility, of Jan / Johann Fükert.

Gustav E. Fükert was born on the 7th of August 1844 and departed this world on the 5th of December, 1918.

Being born in 1844 and using the average age for a Journeyman to obtain his brief; therefore, in 1868 Gustav E. would have sprung for the cost of his master’s party.

Either Jan / Johann, Gustav E., or both, worked in Antonín / Anton Vincent Lebeda’s shop in Prague.

Antionin V. Lebeda was born in 1795, and some sources give 1797 which would make him a master in 1821/1822, which some sources give as the date of his master brief, but most info suggests he founded in business in 1820 which with 24 years as an average would pair well with the 1795 date of birth.

Lebeda’s final exam in 1820 or 1821 was the completion of a very intricate and elaborately engraved set of locks. Lebeda’s name is synonymous with percussion ignition systems.

Lebeda on his Journeyman walkabout worked in Austria as well as Germany and although some hint that Bohemia was not influenced by the craftsmen in Suhl, I know there was a relationship there as many of Fükert Kronen have Suhl sourced tubes.

Upon return from his Journeyman walkabout, Lebeda became the head or purchased the shop of the late Prague gun maker Matthew Brandejsovi in 1820 or 1821 and soon married Ann Stumpfovou(?), the daughter of a produce merchant.

Gustav E. arrived on the scene at the end of the percussion era and was most active in the 1880 to 1910 period, by which time he had attended some 37 International Expos.

The 1873 Vienna Exhibit was where he caught the eye of Emperor Franz Josef I with his crafts. By 1876 the King of Saxony and the King of Würremberg were delivering letters of praise.

Then at the beginning of his peak in 1883, the King of Serbia issued/gave the Knight’s Cross of Serbia of the Takovo Order to ole Gustav E, who is an exception to my theory that most of the master gunsmith received their Kaiserlichen und Königlichen appointment prior to 1900 seeing Gustav E. received that honor in 1908, along with a gold watch, which gave him the title “KammerLieferanten Ihrer Kaiserlichen und Königlichen Hoheiten der Durchlaucht. Herren Erzherzog Karl Franz Joseph und Erzherzog Ferdinand Karl” as found on Gustav. E.’s catalogues.

It was a chance meeting and conversation in Liberec in 1906 at the Universal Expo that led to the appointment. Gustav E. Fükert was a keen designer had an interesting design ( maybe his 1882 patented firing mechanism in which the firing pins move parallel with the bores of the barrel) at the 1882 Industrial & Agricultural Exhibit in Trieste.

Then his greatest accomplishment was the Kronengewehr, which was patented in 1886. Gustav E. did acknowledge/embrace mechanization along with Gustav Bittner, Wenzel Morgenstern, Eduard Elias Schmidl and Schwab who in the late 1880s (1889?) formed a conglomerate to manufacture military arms which allowed them to heavily invest in machinery.

Post 1900 there are 4 Fükert gunmakers in Weipert: Edmund Fükert, Ferdinand Fükert, Gustav Fükert and Johann / Johanna Fükert, which was probably a son or grandson of Jan Fükert. Ferdinand is listed in Weipert from 1903-1911 and then in Opava from 1925 to 1937. Gustav E. had a pre-WWI address of Bahnhofstrasse 578 and also had clients in the Balkan States, Sweden and even the U.S. of A.

The following are courtesy of Daryl Hallquist.