Franz Thiele - Tyrollean Sharpshooter

Franz Thiele - Tyrollean Sharpshooter

Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

February 24th, 2016, 11:33 pm #1

One of the Girandoni airguns that I've been trying to obtain pictures of is the Girandoni copy made by Franz Thiele, Innsbruck, mentioned by Arne Hoff on p. 73, Airguns and other Pneumatic Arms.

Hoff mentions that this airgun was presented to the Elector, later the King Friedrich August of Saxony about 1800.

Fortunately, the director of the Innsbruck museum had a good contact at Dresden and was able to provide the following pictures.

The holding institution is Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden







Of course, as can be seen, this is another of the same English-type Girandoni that has been modified by shortening the barrel, adding engraving on stock and receiver. It also has the lever-type decocking safety on the left side plate.
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Joined: September 4th, 2006, 10:01 pm

February 24th, 2016, 11:52 pm #2

was the signature of the maker?! How could anyone produce such a beautiful rifle and then deface it with graffiti like that?

Thanks for sharing these pics and going to such lengths to obtain them.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

February 25th, 2016, 12:33 am #3

I think we are spoiled by the later Vienna airguns that are such masterpieces; of the few airguns that we've seen from the Tyrol, they, like this one, look primitive in comparison. Historically, there is a world of difference between circa 1800 Tyrol and circa 1820s Vienna.

Regarding if Thiele is the maker, the only information I have is from Arne Hoff's book.

To me, this Thiele gun emphasizes how English-manufactured goods so dominated Europe during this period. It wasn't until 1805/06 that Napoleon's Continental System, to exclude English manufactured goods, was applied to the Tyrol region.

It also important to note that the history of Tyrollean guns, in general, is difficult to trace, since the French army in 1809 was ordered to completely disarm the people. Then, whatever escaped that destruction was completed in 1945 by the American occupation army that ordered the destruction of all arms owned by the Tyrolleans; which is why all the Sch├╝tzenkompanies today only have Mausers. I believe that the only reason this Thiele airgun escaped destruction is because it was held in Bavaria not the Tyrol.
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Joined: January 16th, 2006, 9:40 pm

March 25th, 2016, 8:44 pm #4

I ask because there are any number of muzzle loading through center fire, pre-WWII German target rifles on the market at any given time. GI's were notorious for "bring backs". I doubt a museum piece air rifle would have been piled alongside K98's.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

March 25th, 2016, 11:29 pm #5

That's the history. All guns, regardless of history, type, or use, were destroyed (burnt), by US forces during post war occupation. Only when a French General took over that it was acknowledge the historic Tyrollean connection with rifles, which is where they all got the same Swiss (as I recall) K98s.

Understand that this is Tyrol only. So it was limited and any Tyrol guns that were outside the area would have had a better chance to survive.

What makes me think that it was pretty complete (WWII) is that all, not just some Tyrol groups have the same K98s. All of their historic "parade" guns are gone. If they had them, they would be displaying them.

When looking through what the Tyrol museums have in regards to guns, more often than not all they have are burnt bits and pieces. There is very little in the way of local history on their guns.

If you ever come across a "History of Tyrollean guns" let me know.
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Joined: September 4th, 2006, 10:01 pm

March 26th, 2016, 4:54 pm #6

One of the Girandoni airguns that I've been trying to obtain pictures of is the Girandoni copy made by Franz Thiele, Innsbruck, mentioned by Arne Hoff on p. 73, Airguns and other Pneumatic Arms.

Hoff mentions that this airgun was presented to the Elector, later the King Friedrich August of Saxony about 1800.

Fortunately, the director of the Innsbruck museum had a good contact at Dresden and was able to provide the following pictures.

The holding institution is Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden







Of course, as can be seen, this is another of the same English-type Girandoni that has been modified by shortening the barrel, adding engraving on stock and receiver. It also has the lever-type decocking safety on the left side plate.
Could you restore the pic links please DT? n/t
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

March 27th, 2016, 5:57 am #7

Can't really do that at the moment. The museum saw the pics on my Flickr site and, because it stated that I held the copyright (a byproduct of how I load them), they blew a gasket and accused me of trying to "steal" the copyright. etc, etc. So, not having the time to deal with such idiocy at the moment I just took the pics down.

There was another interesting reaction from the Dresden Director about my note to him describing the origin of this airgun being English. He apparently sent a message to the Innsbruck Museum about this, in uncomplimentary terms. To which the Innsbruck Director copied me on his response stating to Dresden that he indeed knew about the English connection.

I suspect that the Dresden museum may be a key repository for the old airguns. They are as likely as any to have original Girandoni-made examples and just don't have the means of understanding what they have.
So, I suggest contacting Dresden directly for permission to use the pic (they'll probably want to charge you for it) and see what happens.

IMO, the Thiele airgun is one of the more historically significant examples around; in particular, because we can precisely date it to 1800.
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Joined: July 22nd, 2011, 4:46 am

March 27th, 2016, 6:03 am #8

The Director is Prof. Dr. Dirk Syndram,

reference: Franz Thiele Girandoni type airgun (G 102)

The upset guy is at Bernhard.Roosens@skd.museum

I really think it would be good for you to inquire these guys. I think Dresden could be an extremely important resource.
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Joined: September 4th, 2006, 10:01 pm

March 27th, 2016, 8:09 am #9

Thanks for that information n/t
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