The photograph on the left is of the slide inscription that is found on the left side of this Dreyse model 1907 pistol. The early examples(as pictured) are marked with "DREYSE" along the top, then underneath that is "Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabrik" and then underneath that is "ABT. SOMMERDA." This inscription indicates that the model of the pistol is Dreyse and it was manufactured by Rheinische Metallwaaren-& Maschinenfabrik which translates to Rhineland Metalware and Machine Factory. The letters ABT. is an abbreviation of the word abteilung which translates to department, while Sommerda is a town near Erfurt in Thuringia, Germany, on the Unstrut river and is the capital of the district of Sömmerda.
Later pistols will usually have the Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabrik changed to RHEINMETALL ABT. SOMMERDA.
Some unique history about this particular pistol....
This Dreyse 1907 pistol was manufactured some time between 1912 and 1914. The Berlin police began purchasing the Dreyse pistols in 1912.
The picture on the right is a close up of the unit marking that is stamped into the left side of this pistol. As can be seen, this pistol was assigned to K.P.P.B. VII No. 82. I really enjoy collecting the unit marked pieces because it helps to tell the history of the item. The stamping, K.P.P.B. VII No. 82. indicates that this pistol was assigned to the Imperial-era Police force. Or more specifically, the mark indicates K.onigliches P.olizei P.rasidium B.erlin, Waffe no. 82. Which translates to Royal Police Headquarters Berlin weapon number 82.
The letter "K" in the "K.P.P.B." stamp was used only during the German Imperial era that ended with the abdication of the Kaiser in November 1918. The same basic marking was used on the pistols of the uniformed Schutzmannschaft(police force) as well as those of plainclothes detectives. The markings of detectives included Roman numerals, either IV or VII. The VII stands for Abteilung VII or Department VII of the Imperial-era Berlin police. This department was the political police. One source states there were no more than 21 of these detectives in the Imperial era although the property number 82 on this pistol suggests there were more. A friend and fellow collector by the name of F. Kennedy has also informed me that his records show that the highest known number for K.P.P.B. marked Dreyse 1907 pistols is 6862, but this pistol is lacking the Roman numerals.
The Berlin police were reorganized in 1919-20 and the political police became Department IA during the Weimar era. Ultimately, these formed the nucleus of the Gestapo. The word gestapo is a contraction of Gheime Staatspolizei which translates to Secret State Police. They were the official secret police of Nazi Germany and were under the administration of the Schutzstaffel(SS) or Protective Squadron. The gestapo was administered by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt(RSHA) or head office of the Reich's security service and was considered a dual organization of the Sicherheitsdienst(SD) or security service and also a suboffice of the Sicherheitspolizei(SIPO) or security police. This pistol remained in service with the political police into the 1930s as evidence of the K.P. 82 stamp located on the front grip strap as seen in the picture below, and probably even longer with the Gestapo.
I had considerable difficulty in translating all of the unit markings on this pistol. The unit markings found on this pistol are so rare that I have been informed by historians and researchers that it is the only one known to exist. In the words of one historian, he wrote to say "I will be very surprised if there is another marking like it in the world!".
The unit markings on this pistol will be featured in the book "History Writ in Steel - German Police Markings 1900-1936" by author Don Maus. This book will be in stores in March of 2009. It is to this author that I am indebted with the help of better understanding the complete meaning of the unit mark that is on this pistol. If it was not for him and his exhaustive research, this unit mark would still be a mystery and a little less would have been known to the firearm collecting world about the history of the Imperial-era police force and the many markings they used.