EAW is one of the renowned manufacturers of riflescope mounts in Germany today. We present some highlights and take a look at the history

Known today for its high-quality scope mounts, the German company was originally founded in 1919 by Ernst Apel in Würzburg, Franconia, as a factory for the manufacturing of dental instruments and equipment. In 1923, Apel was able to buy out Elektro-und Dentalwerke Frankfurt, which had gone bankrupt and was known under the EDW brand. Without further ado, Apel changed the trademark from EDW to EAW (Ernst Apel Würzburg). The company was thus able to expand further and added, among other things, competencies in metal finishing and electrical installation.

The Nazi era brought a break and Apel, who was not on the party line, saw all his production machinery confiscated, so that EAW could initially only act as a wholesaler and middleman for dental supplies. From 1941, EAW was then conscripted to manufacture goods essential to the war effort.

After EAW enters the design and production of riflescope mounts, this quickly becomes a successful core business

When the factory was rebuilt after the Second World War, the initial focus was once again on dental supplies, but EAW now also began to develop and manufacture its first target scope mounts. After Apel's son, Ernst Apel Junior, joined EAW in 1951 as a newly qualified engineer, the production of scope mounts eventually became the core business. Father and son were quickly able to establish contacts and supply relationships in more than 40 countries. 

The classic EAW pivot mount is still being manufactured. Today, however, it is made in EAW's state-of-the-art CNC machining centers.

Again and again, EAW attracted attention with innovations, some of which were trend-setting for the industry, such as in the 1960s with the 2/3 division of the mounting rings or in the 1970s with the EAW pivot mount, which for decades was considered the benchmark of all things in terms of repeatability, not only in German-speaking countries. In addition, the consistent manufacture of the components made it possible to use the same riflescope with the appropriate mounts on several firearms or, if necessary, to quickly exchange the scope on one gun for another without having to re-sight it in each time.

By 1977, the proportion of mounts destined for export abroad had risen to around 60 percent, according to company figures. The enormous success of the EAW pivot mount certainly contributed to this.

As early as 1970, EAW had moved its headquarters from Würzburg to the neighboring community of Gerbrunn, just a stone's throw away, for reasons of space. In 1980, the production capacities there were no longer sufficient and the factory building and the workshop had to be expanded. In 1992, a second production hall and new administrative buildings were added. Although EAW still had claw, roll-off and block mounts in its product range, the company apparently rested too much on the success of the pivot mount and – unlike other manufacturers – failed to concentrate on an important trend: the Picatinny rail. This increasingly popular mounting system and also the fact that many renowned hunting rifle manufacturers had meanwhile developed their own mounting types, left EAW increasingly treading water. 

Stefan Schilling as new owner gets EAW back on track for success

In 2018, the family business, now run by the founder's grandchildren, came under financial pressure to the extent that it had to file for insolvency. However, during the insolvency proceedings the managing director appointed Stefan Schilling who, together with the insolvency administration, managed to restructure the business and avert closure. Since January 2021, Schilling has also been the owner of Ernst Apel GmbH.

From the beginning, Stefan Schilling stuck to the established and traditional EAW brand, but added "Das Plus" (“Added Value”) to the company logo. Schilling also quickly recognized the signs of the times and relied on state-of-the-art CNC machining centers and a qualified team. In addition, Schilling quickly made up for what had previously been missed, and made mighty strides, especially in the area of Picatinny rails manufactured according to military standards. Today, thanks to a corresponding database and said modern CNC machines, EAW can manufacture Picatinny Rails for about 1,000 different firearm models on the fly. The rails can be made of both steel and aluminum and come out of the machine already with the geometry and all the necessary holes for the respective guns, so that they can be mounted by the gunsmith without further reworking and thus at low cost. Our team was able to get an idea of EAW's machinery and what the company manufactures in terms of high-quality mounts and components on site. 

In front here is a 3D-printed aluminum mount from the Black Line. Behind, EAW's latest 3D printed titanium mount.

EAW divides the mounts that fit the aforementioned Picatinny rails into the less expensive Blue Line series, which is intended for civilian use, such as on a hunting rifle, and the Black Line series, which is designed for professional law enforcement/military use. For both series, the customer can choose between quick lever clamping or screw clamping.

With the current company philosophy, EAW thus continues the long company tradition and imposes on itself the "commitment to innovation". The fact that Ernst Apel GmbH is still good for groundbreaking innovations today was proven again by the EAW team just recently with the patent application for the world's first mount manufactured using a 3D printing process.

As a second mainstay, EAW also undertakes contract for the manufacturing of smaller and larger components and assemblies. The offer here ranges from CNC milling or turning, through barrel finishing and bluing, to laser marking.

If you want to get an overview of EAW's current product range in the area of mounts and accessories, or if you want to see if EAW also offers special mount components for your own rifle or optics, you can do so in EAW's online catalog. We currently have all four mounts shown in the lead image for practical testing in the editorial office and will present these models and their special applications to you in detail.

For more information on EAW and the new 3D mounts please visit the EAW website.

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