DIANA Mayer & Grammelspacher
|Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung|
|Founded||Rastatt, Germany (1890 )|
|Founders||Jakob Mayer |
|Michael Swoboda (CEO) |
Martin Zedler (MD)
|Owner||German Sport Guns|
Number of employees
|Parent||German Sport Guns|
DIANA Mayer & Grammelspacher is an air gun manufacturer founded and based in Rastatt, Germany. The company, named after Diana, the mythological goddess of the hunt, is best known for producing quality air rifles.
Mayer & Grammelspacher GmbH was founded in Rastatt in 1890 by 24-year old toolmaker Jakob Mayer and financier Josef Grammelspacher, initially focusing on household metal goods. Two years later they introduced their first air gun, a pistol, based on the Haviland & Gunn model of 1872. The first rifle, a break barrel design, followed in 1895. Early products were marked "MGR" (for Mayer, Grammelspacher and Rastatt) before the introduction of the now-famous "Diana" brand name. In 1901 Grammelspacher left the company for reasons unknown, whilst Mayer was awarded his first patent.
A steady stream of improved designs characterized the first decade of the 20th century, culminating in the classic Model 27. This successful model was produced in various forms from 1910 up to 1987. The popularity of shooting as a leisure activity prompted development of a range of children's toy guns (firing arrows tipped with suction cups) under the Eureka brand.
WW2 and aftermath
The Second World War stymied Diana's early success, with sanctions imposed on the Nazi government severely limiting export opportunities. By 1940 civilian production was halted and the factory was commandeered to produce parts for Mauser, which led to heavy Allied bombing. After the fall of Germany in 1945, the production of arms was outlawed. The occupying forces decommissioned the factory and sold the company lock, stock and barrel to England's Millard Brothers (Milbro), who moved production to Scotland. The sale included all assets, even the trademark "Diana".
The company formerly known as Diana was allowed to restart production of air guns in 1950, during the reconstruction of Germany. Due to the loss of their trademark, their products were sold under various other names including "Original" in Germany, "Diana Original" in England, Beeman, Hy-Score and Winchester in the USA and "GECADO" in the Common Wealth countries. In 1963 they introduced an innovative recoilless air rifle, the Model 60.
In 1984, after almost 40 years, the company finally regained their trademark when Milbro went bust. At the 1988 Summer Olympics a silver medal was won by Silvia Sperber in the Women's 10 metre air rifle event using a Diana rifle. In 1990 the company celebrated their Centenary.
- Diana Model 27 - Classic break barrel spring-piston rifle, sold in various forms from 1910 to 1987
- Diana Model 60 - Early recoilless break barrel spring-piston rifle, sold from 1960 to 1982
- "Company Overview of DIANA Mayer & Grammelspacher GmbH & Co.KG". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "DIANAWERK 1892-1932: BIRTH OF THE TRADEMARK". Blue Book of Gun Values. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Hannusch, Larry. "Diana's First Air Rifle?". US Airgun. October 1995: Page 30.
- Gaylord, Tom. "Fun at the flea market: Finding a Haviland & Gunn BB pistol". Airgun Academy. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Gaylord, Tom. "The Diana 27: Part 1". Airgun Academy. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "DIANAWERK 1933-1949: LOSS OF THE TRADEMARK". Blue Book of Gun Values. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "DIANAWERK 1950-1984: REGAINING THE TRADEMARK". Blue Book of Gun Values. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Gaylord, Tom. "Diana model 60 recoilless target rifle: Part 1". Airgun Academy. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "Company History". www.diana-airguns.de. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- Tendas, Pierangelo. "GSG - German Sport Guns GmbH in DIANA Airguns takeover". all4shooters.com. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "DIANAWERK RIFLES". Blue Book of Gun Values. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
- "DIANAWERK MODEL 60". Blue Book of Gun Values. Retrieved 23 October 2017.