Karl Holub

Karl Holub was born at Stradonitz (Bohemia) on the 26th of January 1830. After school he learned the profession of a gunsmith. During his military service he was engaged at the gunsmith's workshop at the arsenal in Vienna were he would gain valuable experience. After his discharge in 1857 he was employed in an ironworks at Steyr where Josef Werndl became aware of the young mans talent. In 1861 Josef Werndl offered Karl Holub the job of Werkmeister (foreman) in his company and together they started to develop a breech loader. In 1863 both traveled to several weapon manufacturers in the USA where Karl Holub would further gain experience especially at the Colt company of Hartford. In 1866 Karl Holub implemented the decisive breakthrough by constructing a new gun lock for their rifle. When the Austrian army finally issued the rifle it became known as the "Werndl-rifle" while Holub's contribution remained widely unknown to the public. Together they developed a rifle which was still successfully used  - even during the 1st World War mainly by second line formations such as the Landsturm on rear area guard duties and the customs service - until 1918!

However Josef Werndl himself did not forget his co-developer; he made him technical director at the OEWG and compensated him generously for his contributions and patent rights. In 1874 Karl Holub was honored with the award of the knight's cross of the Order of Franz Joseph, an unusually high grade decoration, normally only awarded to persons with the equivalent of an officers' rank. As a rule those not of this status were decorated with merit crosses - with or without crown. Karl Holub died on the 23rd of May 1903 at Steyr.


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