Winchester Broadside with Photograph of Top Gun ‘Ad’ Toepperwein
541. [TOEPPERWEIN, ADOLPH (“AD”)]. Broadside completed in manuscript: “Ad” Topperwein. World’s Foremost Fancy Shot. Free Exhibition of Shooting Showing the Amazing Accuracy of Winchester Guns and Ammunition Trade Mark at [Bauman’s Field, Harper Rd] Date [Apr 26] Time [3:00 P.M.] See just How “Ad” Toepperwein Tops Them All! Behold the phenomenal stunts that have spread “Ad” Toepperwein’s fame from coast to coast. An Amazing and varied exhibition of skill and Accuracy. Such a demonstration occurs seldom in a life-time. No Admission Charge. Don’t Miss it. Come! Printed in U.S.A. N.p., n.d. Broadside printed in black and red on heavy card stock with half-tone photograph of Toepperwein at center within fancy pictorial border, completed in pencil manuscript. 45.6 x 25.2 cm. Professionally conserved. Moderately stained (heavier at top), tears professionally restored (no losses). Ephemeral.
The poster documents one of “Ad” Toepperwein’s public shooting exhibitions to promote Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Handbook of Texas Online:
Adolph (Ad) Toepperwein (1869-1962), noted marksman, was born in Boerne, Texas, on October 16, 1869, the son of German immigrants, Johanna (Bergman) and Ferdinand Toepperwein. Soon after, the family moved to Leon Springs, where Ferdinand Toepperwein was a well-known gunsmith. When Adolph was thirteen his father died, and the boy went to San Antonio, first working in a crockery shop and then as a cartoonist for the San Antonio Express. After seeing the famed “Doc” W.F. Carter in an exhibition of marksmanship, he began perfecting his own shooting talents. In 1889 he quit his newspaper job and went to New York with San Antonio theater manager George Walker, looking for a vaudeville job. In 1901, after touring with a circus for eight years, Toepperwein began his fifty-year association with the Winchester Repeating Arms Company as an exhibition publicity agent and sales representative. In 1903 he married Elizabeth Servaty (see Toepperwein, Elizabeth S.), of New Haven, Connecticut, who had never fired a gun in her life. Within two years the Toepperweins were traveling as a team, billed as “The Famous Topperweins” (their name Americanized). She became an outstanding woman marksman, representing American Powder Mills. They traveled throughout the world until her death in 1945.
Ad Toepperwein’s first official record was made at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. In 1906, during a three-day exhibition, he made 19,999 hits out of 20,000 hand-thrown wood blocks. It was at the San Antonio fairgrounds in December 1907, that he made his famous world record, using a 1903 model Winchester .22 automatic. At about twenty-five feet he didn’t miss a single hand-thrown wood chip out of 8,000 and missed only four out of the remaining 5,000 during sixty-eight and one-half hours of target shooting. He attracted both rural and town dwellers to exhibits wherever Winchester guns were sold. After his retirement in 1951 Toepperwein conducted a shooting camp in Leon Springs. He was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Ad Toepperwein died in San Antonio on March 4, 1962, and was buried beside his wife in Mission Burial Park. A Toepperwein museum was opened in May 1973 on the Lone Star Brewery grounds in San Antonio to house some of the memorabilia of the team’s long years of marksmanship.
Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009