Heinrich Barella of Magdenburg-Berlin


R.S. Ellenburg
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Sources give Heinrich Barella as being born in 1819 in Soest, Germany and died in Berlin in 1893. I think these dates to be correct and additional info would aide in reconciling a name/date issue in Soest, Germany. Apparently Soest has been inhabited by Barellas from some time and even today a Waffen Barella owned by G. Kramer is a Sauer dealer in Soest-Ostönnen Germany.

But the quandary on Heinrich is that on January 3rd 1819 in Soest, Germany, a Friedrich Wilhelm Barrella was born to Anton Barella and Anna Gertrud Simon Barella. Then on June 2nd 1822 a Heinrich Philipp Johannes Barella was born to Anton and Anna Gertrud Barella. Since Friedrich Wilhelm’s brother has 3 names and considering the 1819 date, which for now I think to be correct for Heinrich Barella; therefore, I think his full name to be Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Barella. The other possibility is that his name is Heinrich Philipp Johannes Barella and his birth date to be June 2nd 1822.

Using an average age of 24 for attaining the level of Master gunsmith and considering a birth date of 1819, then he would have received his master gunsmith’s brief in 1843 and then in 1844 he founded his firm H. Barella Gewehrfabrik in Magdeburg, Germany, which was pretty typical in the German apprentice program.

Being purely conjecture on my part, I think in the late 1840s or early 1850s Heinrich married a Leue if he was the uncle to Heinrich Leue as I can’t locate Heinrich Barella having a sister born in Soest. But the possibility exists.

Heinrich Barella was an expert witness in the Trial of Soghomon Tehlirian.

The acquired title “HofBüchsenmacher”, either by appointment or payment, was similar to the K&K Hoflieferanten or Kaiserliche & Koingliche Hoflieferanten or Maker/Supplier to the Imperial and Royal Court and was pretty much used just a marketing tool. The makers were suppliers to the court but it could have been for the gamekeeper where the top cat hunts or some relative of the top cat or one of his servants. For each empire there were volumes which chronicled the suppliers to the court and some particulars. But take Heinrich Barella for instance. In the mid 1840s he worked in Magdeburg after becoming a master gunsmith, of which there was at least 1 per firearms firm. But the mid 1860s(1860-1871) he was a supplier or top maker to the Prussian Royal Court. And in 1871 he was a gunmaker and/or supplier to the Royal Court in Berlin, i.e. someone in the Royal Court sourced Barella for hunting arms. All examples supplied were supposed to be of benchmark quality but not all were owned by the Emperor/ruler and weren’t fully embellished. The appointment as a supplier was greatly sought after and I think there was a yearly fee involved. So some time between the 1840s and 1870s he probably made the transition to Berlin where the money was. Barella is purported to have had clients such as the King of Italy and Romania as well as the Tsar of Russia. After Barella’s death in 1893, his Berlin firm was trading from Französischestrasse 25 & 26, W8 and his heirs and assigns continued the business using the Hof-Buchsenmacher as a marketing tool and by 1916, or the end of WWI, I don’t think the suppliers were supplying to too many Royal Courts. By turn of the 20th Century, and definitely post WWI, HofBüchsenmachers didn’t make the longarms they supplied as they contracted to the best craftsmen, some of which were in Suhl and surrounding areas.

Berlin gunsmith Johannes Peter Andreas Heinrich Maximilian Barella who married Frieda Marie, daughter of Albert Wilhem Hollenbach, on October 7th, 1902, which was on Frieda's 24th birthday, was more than likely Heinrich Barella's grandson. Frieda Marie Hollenbach was born on October 7th, 1878 and I expect that J.P.A.H. Maximilian Barella to have been born in the same decade.

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