Josef Miller and Valentin Greiß


R.S. Ellenburg
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It may not be used with his express written permission.

There’s not much info on Miller and in the same time period there was a craftsman by the name of J. Miller and Josef might well be his first name. 

Josef Miller(1832-1912) was a gunmaker to the court of Count Ferdinand Kinsky/Prince Ferdinand Buonaventura Kinsky(1834-1904) of Zlonice, Czech Republic a town in the central part of the Czech Republic, which is around 180 to 200 miles from München.

It’s a long shot and about the only J. Miller I could find and on his walk-about, Valentin Greiß could have worked in Josef Miller’s shop. But Valentin Greiß, born April 24th, 1835 and expired December 12th, 1890, was the son of the prominent tube and gun maker Georg Greiß Hofbüchsenmacher, who was listed of bürg in an 1845 Munich listing and offered 4mm Zimmerstutzen circa 1870.

He offered scatterguns in either ordinary “band” pattern welded tubes or in Damascus tubes. Circa 1830, Mexico was a country that imported many of his examples as well as Russia and others. Miller & Valentin Greiß evidently purchased Fredrich Xavier(?) Baader’s Baader & Sohne firm, Hofbüchsenmacher at Louisenstrasse 3, and by 1877 Miller & Valentin Grieß advertised as being previously Baader & Sohn(e).

Seeing Valentin Greiß was born in 1835, then he was probably a master by circa 1860 and I guess him to have work for/with his father for the next 10 or so years, founding Miller & Valentin Greiß between the Franco-Prussian War and 1876.

Some sources give a founding circa 1870 and at least one example exist from just after the Franco-Prussian War in 1872 for the son Prince Albert?? of Bavaria or grandson?? of King Ludwig I of Bavaria(Mad King Ludwig, Louis II) born in Nymphenburg Palace which is very near Münich. Both Ludwigs were huge patrons on the arts in München.

The abbreviation Kgl. Bay.( Königlich Bayerischen – Bayern – stems from German name for Bavaria) Hofbüchsenmacher & Gewehrfabrik München on Miller & Val. Greiß’s advertisements notes the court of Bavaria. They were also sourced by other courts, probably German.

1884 was the year in which Valentin Greiß holds a patent for a “Double Gun with Block Action.”

1885 Miller & Valentin Greiß submitted pistols, which was a weapon his father Georg was renown for, to the army to be tested. In the say year Miller & Greiß was located at Pfandhaus Strasse. Circa WWI, Miller and Greiß developed the 10.5X73 Miller & Greiß Magnum(416 Rigby??) as well as the 8X73, 8x75, 9x63, 9.5X73 Mag., 10X42R & 575 M&G Mag which look to have arrived on the scene post WWI and were based on the 404 Jeffery case.

To muddy the water a bit, there also was a Georg Greiss in München in 1904 that holds patent number 156441 of January 21st, 1904 on the nitro powder topic. Listings are found circa 1900 for a “Waffen und Munitionsgeschäft Georg Greiß in Müchen”(Weapons and ammo firm Georg Greiss in Munich) and notes that he was a Hofbüchsenmacher who had given the reins to a Carl/Karl Backmund. The following is pure conjecture but I guess Georg Greiß, father of Valentin Greiß to have been born circa 1810 and it is possible but he would have been an elderly gentleman by 1900. He may have had another son named Georg and he worked in conjunction with Miller & Valentin Greiß on the development of the cartridge bearing their names.

The following is from GGCA publication No. 37, Fall 2008, page 13 and notes Oberhammer worked at the firm. M&G’s founding date was earlier than stated:

We will never know for sure who made the rife, who engraved it or who did the woodcarving, but we do know that Valentin Greiß founded the business about 1880. We do not know when Miller joined the company. In 1884 V. Greiß patented a “Double Gun with Block Action.” In 1885 the company was located at Pfandhaus Strasse & Greiß submitted a double action version of the 1885 army revolver for tests. At that time Oberhammer worked at the company as a master gunmaker and developed his Drillings inventions.”

This is work is copyrighted by the author. It may not be used with his express written permission