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Article created: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Article modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Early American commercial holster of unknown manufacture
for a 1906 120 mm barrel Luger
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The subject holster is difficult to classify as to manufacturer as it has no markings whatsoever on the leather or snap fastener, but it has many features unique to being made by a professional leather maker. The stitching is very tight and even; the single belt loop has a double line border piping as does the stylized, pointed cover flap and the straight line angled holster body lip. The unmarked 14.5 mm diameter snap fastener is of a very early design, similar to the snap fastener assembly used on certain early pre WW1 Abercrombie & Fitch holsters. The cover flap exterior brass colored convex snap fastener is steel with the back retention side being brass. The holster body snap fastener stud is all brass. The rather wide 50 mm x 117 mm long single belt loop is attached at the bottom with a “U” shape stitching pattern and folded over at the top, secured by two rivet type fasteners, retained by two bent-over tabs on the inside, curiously one of steel and the other of brass. The holster body leading edge is stitched from the toe, to just short of the holster body entrance lip being attached or secured to the holster body rear with a similar, but smaller 5.5 mm diameter, steel rivet type fastener with two bent-over tabs.

Regarding the multiple brass rivet type, tab retained 8 mm diameter “fastener” design around the cover flap border and the star shape pattern in the cover flap center, all with 8 mm diameter brass fasteners, except for the slightly larger 9.5 mm diameter center fastener being steel, initially, one would think was an embellishment by the holster owner, since they are all retained by the same type of bent tabs as the belt loop, are most likely period or added by the holster maker, and especially because of the extensive verdigris build up around the bent tabs as on the bent tabs of the belt loop rivets. However, this is not the case, as after some research the identical holster also with no stated manufacturer, has been identified as being offered by Hans Tauscher, the 1899-1916 period DWM representative in the United States, pictured in his circa 1911Footnote sales catalog titled; Catalogue of MODERN HIGH POWERED ARMS on page 24, to the right of a “Price List of Component Luger parts” and below it, three Luger rounds, two 30 Cal and one 9mm Luger round.

The American origins of the subject holster is confirmed by another ad, featured in Luger Holsters and Their Accessories by E. Bender on page 547, interestingly, in the US holster section under Audley. The ad shows the subject holster pictured, purportedly from a circa 1911 ALFA four language catalog, page 24 with ALFA being the Adolph L. Frank Exportgesellschaft (export company) of Hamburg, Germany with a black colored German Eagle trademark. However, in researching the Luger Holster and Their Accessories book “ALFA catalog” picture on page 547, it turns out that Bender was totally incorrect in his text caption description, as the pictured page 24 ad, identified, indirectly, as from an ALFA catalog is in actuality an ad from another, later circa 1912 Hans Tauscher catalog titled; High Powered Rifles and Automatic Pistols, picturing the subject holster, being one of four Luger accessories, interestingly, also on page 24. The specific 1911 ALFA catalog has been identified that Bender/Morris refers to and only one, page 129 advertises holsters, does not show either of these holsters at all, only a P.08 pattern holster.

This Hans Tauscher catalog and the pictured page 24 was published after his circa 1911 catalog discussed earlier, probably 1912-1914 based on the addition of the new (Patent Pending) pictured Audley “safety” holster, designed sometime after 1911 with "Patent applied for." in April 1912, with an approval date of October 13, 1914. Coincidently the subject holster has, as yet, ever been identified or pictured in any other earlier or period commercial sales catalog, domestic or foreign.

With three American based manufactures identified on the page; Lyman, Sheard, and Audley, there is the little doubt that the subject pictured holster, is also of American manufacturer, the only question remaining is what American manufacturer? Since the page shows four products or accessories for the Luger Automatic Pistol with only three manufacturers identified, all American, one can conclude, unless proven otherwise, that the subject holster pictured, in addition to the clearly recognized Audley “safety” holster pictured above it, was also made by Audley. However, the assertion of American manufacture can be challenged as the subject holster was pictured, by itself, in the earlier 1911 Hans Tauscher catalog, also with no identified manufacturer, meaning the holster could yet be of Teutonic origins.

The holster is a curious design with a combination of features, with the holster body being of a slender silhouette, similar to the early Swiss Luger holsters and the pointed cover flap is similar to a Portuguese M2 holster or Imperial German navy holster. The color of the leather is a light, mottled brown, the brown spots, a form of foxing, being a result of age. The type of leather used is unknown, possibly rawhide as it seems to have no surface epidermis. The leather itself is very supple, and judging by the clear rear frame toggle knob impressions inside the holster body, holstered a 4 ¾-inch 30 Cal barrel new model grip safety 1906 Luger, which fits comfortably in the holster body, allowing the cover flap to close perfectly with the snap fastener.

With two different pre WW1Hans Tauscher catalogs picturing the subject holster with a plain cover flap, it can be concluded that the cover flap embellishments were an aftermarket addition, along with the holster body toe leather lanyard cord which was also added later.

In conclusion, the only known published example of the subject holster, showing both the front and never seen rear side was most likely purchased through either of the two Hans Tauscher sales catalogs. It was also possibly purchased with a 30 Cal old or new model Luger. New model Lugers were advertised in the Tauscher sales catalogs, one on page 16 of the circa 1911 catalog and one on page 24 of the circa 1913 catalog. Based on the testimonials of many satisfied Luger owners, their comments/testimonials printed in one example of the 1911 Tauscher catalog, (see below for more information on Hans Tauscher catalog publication dates) coincidentally with a Seattle, Washington potential customer, ink stamped address, and with many testimonials originating from the western states, it is understandable that the Luger holster ended up in the turn-of-the-20th century west, where it was worn by a cowboy or rancher, based on the added leather leg tie at the toe that was used to keep the holster from bouncing around while on horseback and to the rather flamboyant or flashy added bling on the cover flap.

Further explanation of the Hans Tauscher sales catalog publication dates

The grey/green cover Hans Tauscher sales catalog entitled “Catalogue of MODERN HIGH POWERED ARMS” has been identified by some collectors to be published in 1910, however, based on customer testimonials on page 28, dated as late as December 31, 1910, places the printing of this sales catalog to no earlier than 1911. Additionally, the second Hans Tauscher sales catalog titled: High Powered Rifles and Automatic Pistols advertising the “Patent applied for” Audley Safety Holster for the Luger on page 24, dates this catalog to 1913 or later. Note that even though Hans Tauscher was arrested March 31, 1916 as a German spy, his agency at 320 Broadway was still in business as the DWM representative for the United States, Mexico and Canada, well into 1917.

New Information

Since the LOB web site publication of the above article on the Hans Tauscher sales catalog advertised commercial holster, another, near identical holster has been discovered and acquired. The new holster, which is in excellent condition, very supple and made of pigskin, is identical in style, materiel, thread, and stitching pattern to the Hans Tauscher holster advertised and original example pictured herein, with the exception of lacking border piping, not using rivets as part of the construction vs. the Tauscher holster, and a later style snap fastener assembly, made by Scovill Manufacturing Company, a very early American firm, coincidentally, of which the DOT snap fastener company is currently a subsidiary of Scovill. Also the holster is for a four inch barrel Luger and has a holster body toe leather plug, whereas the Tauscher holster body toe is stitched shut.

The most interesting feature of this holster is that it is stamped or impressed with the mid 1920s introduced GECO logo on the rear holster belt loop, of which GECO is the acronym for Gustav Genschow & Co. of Berlin. The holster is stamped GERMANY on the back side belt loop, along with the GECO logo, pressed into the leather. On the inside of the cover flap is an identical GECO logo except that it is ink stamped.

It can now be stated, that there is the possibility, that the subject pre-WW1 Hans Tauscher sales catalogs advertisement of a full cover flap Luger holster was made for, and possibly could have sold through GECO. Based on the GERMANY export stamp of the newer GECO marked holster, it was made in Germany, interestingly with an American manufacture snap fastener assembly. The newer pictured subject GECO marked holster, made for a 4 inch barrel Luger, and based on the GECO style logo, was made in the mid-1920s through the 1930s and definitely sold through GECO, although no GECO catalog has been identified that pictures this particular style holster in 4 inch or 4¾ inch Luger barrel lengths.

There is no empirical information to support an association or business relationship between Tauscher and the early pre- WW1 Gustav Genschow & Company, and that the similarity between the Tauscher sales catalog advertised holster and the GECO holster could simply be coincidental; however, with the unusual design pattern and features, unique to both holsters, such as the near identical cover flaps, the holster body entrance lips and the identical style belt loops and especially the integral wraparound holster body tapered leather reinforcing holster tab, seen only on this style holster, is difficult to deny, and subsequently, cannot be dismissed as merely coincidental. Therefore, until proven otherwise, both holsters can be assumed, at a minimum, to be made by the same leather maker, albeit spanning almost two decades between the two variations, with the unknown, unmarked leather maker Tauscher advertised Luger holster, having no established association with GECO until the mid-1920s, as attested by the subject, later circa 1925 – 1935 GECO style logo stamped Luger holster. Pictured below are side-by-side, front and rear views of the Tauscher and GECO commercial Luger holsters.

Mouse over holsters to see back side.

The early Gustav Genschow & Co. catalogs, did not advertise holsters, an example being the 1912 catalog, nor does the 1921 English language export price list catalog, which is unusual, as although primarily known for ammunition, rifles and shotguns, were also noted for their WW2 military and police holsters, more than commercial holsters, making the circa 1925 – 1935 GECO Luger commercial holster quite rare. Holster ads do appear in the mid to late 1920s GECO catalogs, coinciding with the later style GECO logo.1 Pictured below is page 115 of one such 1929 catalog, which, at the bottom of the page, directs readers to page 173: Leather Holsters see page 173. Unfortunately page 173 is not available.

The 1912 catalog, number 20 advertises the P.08 as a new DWM product, the 1921 English language export price list number 29 catalog advertises both an old and new model, 4¾ inch barrel Lugers and the 1925 catalog cover pictures the well-recognized GECO logo, whereas the 1921 catalog pictures a different, earlier “Trade Mark” logo, known as the “acorn” logo.


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