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Article created: Friday, March 03, 2006
Article modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2007

Parabellum: The first commercial production Luger
instruction manuals, the colored series.

  As early as February 1900, Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken, a.k.a. DWM had applied to register the ‘Parabellum’ trademark, patent no. 43353 being granted on 21 April 1900. Re: Görtz P.08, p.16. By the end of the year, the gun had been renamed ‘Selbstlade-Pistole Parabellum, System Borchardt-Luger’.1 Late 1900 would coincide with the first commercial Luger English language manual, tan cover with black lettering version titled: “Parabellum - Automatic Pistol - Borchardt-Luger’s System”, interestingly without a cover patent statement, suggesting the English language manual was printed prior to the patent approval date, at least for Britain or the United States of which US patent 753,414 was granted 1 March 1904.

As a matter of note Georg Luger submitted many patents dealing with individual features of the Luger. The “Patented in all the Countries” statement on the manual covers cited herein is assumed by the writer to be dealing with patent protection of the Borchardt-Luger or Luger as a “system”. These patents were applied for in several countries at different times with different acceptance dates.

The most interesting aspect of this first commercial manual is the choice of language. It appears that this particular manual was printed in English only as no other language version has been discovered. Possibly this manual was printed in haste in late 1900, using the then only available illustrations of the pre-production Borchardt-Luger, to be supplied to the United States Army in 1901 with the 1000 Test Eagle Luger order. There is no doubt that the manuals supplied to the U.S. Army are the circa1901 “Borchardt-Luger’s System” English language version, as certain numbered pages of the manual are referred to in the Army archives that correspond directly to the “Parabellum - Automatic Pistol - Borchardt-Luger’s System” instruction manual, not the Berlin 1902 dated red cover English language manual. Fifty copies of this later printed red cover manual were provided the U.S. Army in 1904 with the 50 Cartridge Counter Lugers. See article on “Early Old Model Commercial Production American Eagle Lugers” for additional information on both English language manuals.

Regarding the early, rather glamorous, large format (5-½” x 8-¾”) colored series manuals, it is the DWM green cover German language instruction manual on the “PARABELLUM” or Old Model Luger that is the most interesting for several reasons. That is one of two of the primary subjects of this article. This manual would logically be the first published, with the Parabellum (Luger) being a domestic German product, illustrating the production old model Parabellum. It is in all probability the rarest of these first four language manuals, being solely for domestic German consumption and additionally even if many copies were originally printed, of which 90 of these German language manuals were specially printed and provided to the Dutch military for the 1905 tests,2 any surviving manuals in Germany after two World Wars are lower, than say the first “Borchardt-Luger’s System” tan covered manual and red English „PARABELLUM” manual which was mainly distributed in the United States. An early tan cover manual with a Baker & Hamilton retailers stamp3 on the cover and one red cover, example shown, has a Hans Tauscher retailers stamp. Due to their awkward size many of these early large format manuals, when found have been folded in half.

With the introduction of the new model Parabellum, DWM published a similar four language series with a smaller, more convenient pocket size format (4-¼” x 6” vs. the 5-¾” x 8-¾” larger size of the first series) color series with the same title “Parabellum” and with the same “pistol in hand” on the front and rear cover and with the manufacturer DWM on the front cover, but without the street address. These later manuals, no doubt were printed for DWM for the international market including South America which still identified with the Parabellum name.

As stated above there was another smaller size, DWM Parabellum four language color series pre-World War I new model Parabellum instruction manuals issued, featuring the grip safety 30 cal and 9mm new model pistols. These manuals were printed for DWM for international distribution and the Hans Tauscher’s manuals were printed for the sole distribution in the United States. Only the French and English DWM manuals replicate the earlier manual cover colors. The Spanish language manual cover is brown vs. the earlier purple cover Berlin 1902 Spanish language manual.

Hans Tauscher, the DWM agent in the United States based in New York City, started printing his own Luger manuals, with the introduction of the new model grip safety Lugers for self promotion and to popularize the Luger name in the United States. The Tauscher manuals, one with an orange cover and the other with a tan cover are 5-¼” x 6-¾” in size with less sturdy tissue type covers. These manuals were slightly larger and less convenient than the DWM new model colored series manuals, shown below, which were 4-¼” x 6” in size. Both the DWM “Parabellum” and Tauscher “Luger” instruction manuals were probably much less expensive to print than the bulkier, larger format DWM first series Old Model Luger colored manuals.

DWM new model colored series “Parabellum” manuals.

The first series green cover German language version states: Die - Selbstlade-Pistole - „PARABELLUM“ - Patentiert in allen Ländern which translates to The - Self loading-Pistol - “PARABELLUM” - Patented in all Countries. The French and Spanish language manual versions have the basically same statement: “Patented in all the Countries”. It is the English language version interestingly, dated Berlin 1902 that has no patent statement, which inferentially by its absence, contradicts the other manual patent statements.

The lower portion of the front cover text is typical of all four language manual variations stating the manufacturer and address in four lines:

However there are exceptions to this also, being the purple Spanish language manual cover which has the added line: “Fabricas Alemanas De Armas y Municiones” or German manufacturer of arms and munitions.

The blue cover French manual and the purple Spanish manual have added pages, two in the French manual and one in the Spanish manual devoted to other DWM (Mauser) products from a Mauser 7mm sporting rifle to chandeliers.

The contents of the green cover German language manual are best described by an excerpt from The Dutch Luger4  which also shows the only published until this article, albeit in black & white, cover of the variation 2 green cover German language “Parabellum” instruction manual.

Of these circa 1902 first colored series manuals there are only four colors or language variations known, the green cover German, the red cover English, the blue cover French and the purple color Spanish variation. All four have the same front cover text in gold lettering at the top in four lines along with very fancy four-sided border gold filled scroll work, except for the red cover manual which has a black color border scroll work and the green cover German language manual which has no border scroll work. All four sport the famous “Luger in hand” illustration on the front and rear cover. However, as with many things, there are exceptions. One of them is that some of these manuals have been identified without any DWM company information or border scrollwork on the cover. The recently located subject green cover German language Parabellum instruction manual is one of the exceptions, not having border scroll work nor the DWM name or company address on the cover.

Click to view
contents of manual.
Click to view
contents of manual.
Circa 1902 first colored series DWM “Parabellum” manuals.

As of this writing there are two cover variations of the green cover German language manual: 1) complete cover information including the title, DWM address without border scroll work, which includes the Dutch example with the manual title at the top and the DWM address at the bottom of the front cover, but also without border scroll work and, 2) the subject manual with the title information at the top but without the lower placed DWM address nor also border scroll work, i.e. neither cover variations have border scroll work.

Another of the first series colored manuals is also missing cover information, being a purple Spanish language manual which has the title information and border scroll work but lacks the DWM company address. No significance can be attributed to these cover variations of the green manual except of a cosmetic nature only, the lack of a stylized border can be attributed to printer preferences, nothing relating to the DWM promotional efforts of the “Luger” in Germany, especially since similar cover variations appear in the purple Spanish language manual. No doubt, over time other cover variations of this first colored manual series will surface. The lack of the DWM address though, does seem to be a deliberate omission rather than a typographical error or oversight in nature as there are two known green German language manuals with the DWM address and two manuals without the DWM address in addition to the noted purple Spanish language manual without the DWM address.

The Dutch example, being one of the 90 manuals specially printed in May 1905 for the M1900 Lugers provided the Dutch military. This special printing indicates a possible lack of availability of this particular manual at this late date, probably being printed on an “as needed” basis and representing a printing time span of approximately 3 years (1902-1905) and no doubt utilizing different printing establishments, which in itself could account for the cover variations.

There is however, one other scenario that would explain the two green cover, German language manual variations. The Dutch Luger book on page 227 refers to the special order 90 copy printing of the green German language manual by the local DWM representative as “The First Dutch Luger manual” suggests this alternate scenario and that is seeing that these 90 manuals were part of a military program, specifically to be issued with DWM manufactured Dutch military Luger trials pistols that DWM and possibly the Dutch decided the commercially domestic sales motivated DWM name and address on the cover were not necessary or required with the special issue of theses manuals, being of a military nature. This theory gives credence to the Dutch claims to this manual variation as being the “First Dutch (Military) Luger” manual, despite the fact that the Dutch marked “file” copy manual shown does have the DWM address on the cover. If the above scenario is indeed the case, the subject manual could be one of the 90 manuals printed in May 1905 for the Dutch military trials program.

Page 1 of the subject German language manual is unusual as it has a single line entry stating „SYSTEM LUGER.“ on the first page and is also located on the top of the first three of four fold-out tables (Tafel) in the rear of the manual. The most interesting aspect of the „SYSTEM LUGER.“ statement is the lack of the name Borchardt, i.e. “Borchardt-Luger’s System” found on the first published English language manual, indicating an official or unofficial “dismissal” of Borchardt’s contribution early on and the beginning of the lasting association of Georg Luger and the Parabellum. This statement was no doubt included with the knowledge of the manufacturer, DWM.

This "(System Luger)" statement changes with the DWM new model "Parabellum" instruction manual, interestingly also only with the German language manual, where the "(System Luger)" statement becomes an integral part of the cover and inside cover page text printing and also part of all three fold-out drawings (Tafeln). For clarification this manual will be identified as Variation 1 without the DWM cover information vs. the more common Variation 2 German language version being the most seen, relatively speaking, having the same cover information as the English, French and Spanish versions.

The final significance of the green cover German language manual is not found in the contents specifically, but in the fact that this manual is referenced to by a recently discovered, extremely rare extant DWM German language 7-7/8” x 10-¼” four page flyer, (more of a brochure) introducing the Jagdkarabiner „Parabellum“ - Selbstlader - nach System der vorteilhaft bekannten Pistolen „Parabellum“ or Hunting Carbine “Parabellum” - Self loader - modeled after the well known System Pistol “Parabellum”. This brochure, which is the second subject of this article, has not been seen or published before, but for years some Luger collectors assumed that DWM had published some form of descriptive flyer or manual with the introduction of the circa 1902 Parabellum carbine.

Recently discovered, extremely rare extant DWM German language 7-7/8” x 10-¼” four page flyer
introducing the Hunting Carbine “Parabellum”, Self loader.

This German language “Hunting Carbine” brochure is precisely analogous to the earlier four-page Spanish language sheet or brochure (5-½” x 8-¾”) for the 175 mm barrel “Luger” pistol to be used as an addition or an insertion to the purple, Spanish language manual for instructional purposes. The main difference of the “Luger” carbine flyer is the change from push button to lever stock locking and the specifications differ only in the obvious lengths and weights of the weapons. The Spanish language brochure was not for a carbine, however, but for the long barreled “Luger” pistol intended for the South American market.

Page 2 of the German language flyer discusses the assembly and disassembly, specific to the new circa 1902 “Parabellum” carbine and directs the reader to page 27 and page 29 in the green cover German language manual for further disassembly instructions. This brochure clearly introduces the “Parabellum” carbine to the domestic European (German) market as the use of the Boar target information on page 3 perfectly defines the original purpose of the carbine for medium European game, especially the Boar, which is as much the definitive German hunting target as Deer are in America. This makes the green German language manual the de facto German domestic instruction manual for the circa 1902 “Parabellum” Carbine. Apparently DWM didn’t think the new hunting carbine was significantly different from the Pistole Parabellum to warrant its own manual, also a possible consideration, the fact that less than 3,000 were produced.

The number of Parabellum carbines found in Europe, including Germany, with any provenance back to the time of manufacture, is very small compared to the USA, and despite the fact that the Luger carbine introduced by DWM was originally intended for the domestic market. However, there is little doubt that most of the 1902 Luger carbines ended up in the United States as it was also viewed as somehow unsporting to use self-loaders of any sort (shotguns, rifles etc.) on game in Great Britain, and largely in Germany and other Continental countries. Also, the only "approved" use in Europe would have been as a vermin rifle, against which it had to compete with the large number of cheap "Rook and Rabbit" rifles of the era, firing a variety of small 6 - 8 mm caliber cartridges. Price alone discriminated heavily against the circa 1902 Parabellum carbine.

Since DWM was a military weapons manufacturer, they had little direct contact with the sporting market and subsequently did not foresee the resistance, but just followed Mauser’s lead a year or so earlier with the Model C96 carbine, which was even less successful. The preceding factors alone would contribute to the scarcity of the German language brochure (which was mostly technical more than promotional in nature) intended as a supplement to the green cover German language Parabellum instruction manual being provided to domestic German retailers of the Jagdkarbiner „Parabellum“.

Additionally, the brochure has four punch holes on the left side. When the four page brochure is folded in half, the four punch holes align to perfectly to two holes. This suggests the holes were punched while the brochure was folded in half. Close examination of the brochure shows that the text on each page is offset to accomodate some sort of binding or punched holes without interferring with the text. Therefore, these holes were most likely not done by any previous owner/collector but by an early retailer who placed the brochure in a binder in his shop. The brochure was probably for reference only thus suggesting limited availability. In other words, it was not to be handed out for sales promotion or possibly not even with the sale of the new Parabellum Carbine. It shows evidence of being folded and unfolded many times. Folded in half the brochure conveniently fits into the German manual, however the fact that it has to be folded also errs toward the brochures’ original purpose as a reference document only.

An additional but somewhat tenuous observation regarding the domestic German printing origins of the German language manual and the carbine brochure is the identical and correct grammatical use of the German style placement of closed double quotation marks around a word. Specifically, the left side “low 9 quote” and the right side double reversed quotation mark in the German language green manual cover title word „Parabellum“. In the other three different language manual covers the right side double quotation mark is of non German usage, which is reversed and incorrect grammatically, being „Parabellum” or “” vs. “”. However, the German style left “low 9” double quote is still used at the front of the word. Even the totally Teutonic green cover German language manual which is consistent in the correct usage of German style quotes on the cover and throughout the manual, has one mixed closed quote „Parabellum” on Tafel V at the rear of the manual. The reason for the non German, reversed double quotation mark at the end of the word Parabellum in the English manual, French manual and Spanish manual covers, leads one to conclude that different printing firms were used for the gold embossed covers. This is also supported by the fact that three different colors, font styles and sizes were used on the different language manuals.

The possibility of two separate printing firms is raised because ironically, on the inside cover title page of the French and Spanish manuals, the mixed German-English closed quote, signature word „Parabellum” inexplicably reverts to the “correct” German language usage of the reversed quote at the end of the word „Parabellum“. The English language manual cover with the mixed German-English use of closed quotes interestingly uses the correct style of English language closed “Parabellum” quotes on the inside cover title page of the manual.

Despite the quotation mark issue the writers or printers, or both, of the German language manual and carbine brochure were familiar with recent changes to the German language as identified by the “Staatliche Orthographie-Conferenz” (German National Orthographic Conference) in late 1901 and made law by the Reichstag in 1902. One the changes is relating to the spelling of the German word “Caliber” of which the pre 1901 German language spelling is “Caliber” vs. the post 1902 German language spelling of “Kaliber”. The word “Caliber” where ever used in the text of the green cover German language manual or the German language carbine brochure uses the post 1902 spelling of “Kaliber” and based on this, dates both the manual and carbine brochure printing to 1902 or later. However, as usual this otherwise “clean” baseline dating of the subject documents is challenged, in this case due one exception in the German language manual, which is one pre 1901 German spelling of “Caliber” found not in the text, but in Tafel V or Table 5 at the end of the manual. This mixed or different spelling does not change the dating time frame of the manual proper but does point to the use of two different print houses since, in the case of the tables at the end of the manual, appear to be separately attached or inserted.

There is little doubt that all of the colored series manuals were printed in Germany, despite the above dichotomies, as it just could simply depend on the printing house, their inventory of letters/printing plates, or the knowledge and skill of the typesetter. As a matter of note the smaller format brown cover DWM new model German language Parabellum instruction manual uses the correct German style of “low 9” and reversed quotes enclosing the title „PARABELLUM“ on the cover and the inside cover. Also, the 1901 Spanish language “push button” carbine stock flyer printed in Germany for DWM has German style quotes.

The blue cover French and purple color Spanish language manual, as stated earlier, are the only manuals that have added pages devoted to other DWM products, from a Mauser 7 mm sporting rifle to chandeliers, of which both manuals have one page that has a statement which coincides perfectly with the above German language flyer information on the newly introduced "Luger Hunting Carbine", advertising the Luger carbine as the “last or latest (DWM) invention, fabrication of the 1st order”. The Spanish manual is the only manual that identifies a publisher “R. EISENSCHMIDT” on the first page.

The lack of a printing house name in these first circa 1902 colored series manuals does not mean that they were not factory printed by DWM as it is possible that the DWM information on the front page of these manuals might indicate DWM as the printer, as well as the publisher and manufacturer. There is no doubt the English language and the Spanish language manuals were printed in Berlin in 1902 as printed on the first page. However, the German and the French language manuals are not dated as evidenced on the first page. Although the manuals were not printed by DWM but for DWM as Loewe and DWM manuals with outside “H.S. Hermann, Berlin” print house markings have been issued before and after the circa 1902 colored manual series. Specifically, the pre-1900 Loewe C93 Borchardt English language manuals with the statement; “Printed by H.S. Hermann, Berlin.” and DWM C93 Borchardt English, Spanish and German language manuals and the circa 1901 Borchardt-Luger manual with H.S.Hermann identified as the offsite printer. In 1904 with the offsite printing of the “1904 DWM Munitions-Katalog” identified on page 56 of the catalog with the printer as “G.BRAUN’SCHE - Hofbuchdruckerie - Karlsruhe”. Furthermore the Loewe and DWM histories also make no mention of in-house print works, and they were both pretty comprehensive in coverage of all aspects of the businesses.

Regarding the Mauser 7 mm commercial sporting rifle ad, which appears only in the French manual, apparently an arrangement was made, which evidently included advertising, since DWM had an interest or stake in Mauser as of 1896, concerning the production of Mauser-system rifles, orders of which were too big for one or two firms to handle by themselves.5


Usines de Berlin: Fusils Mauser, entre autres cal. 7 mm, modèle boër, fabriques de même comme fusils de chasse, aussi en forme de carabine. Pistolet automatique “Parabellum”, dernière invention, fabricat de 1er ordre. Ce pistolet qui est muni d’une crosse détachable, peut server en même temps comme carabine et comme arme de chasse; pour cela rattacher la crosse.

Rough Translation

Factories of Berlin: Mauser rifles, among others cal. 7 mm models of the same make and bore as hunting rifles, also available as an automatic carbine. Pistol "Parabellum", the lastest invention, is of premium manufacture. This gun, which is provided with a detachable stock, can function as a carbine or used for hunting with the stock attached.

The DWM/Mauser connection is further clarified in a recently located circa 1909 Hans Tauscher 1-page, 2-sided pink flyer advertising, “GENUINE MAUSER SPORTING REPEATING RIFLES” The flyer further states that the Mauser rifles are:

“Manufactured by Deutsche Waffen & Munitions Fabriken, Berlin, Germany.”
“Controlling Waffenfabrik “ MAUSER,” Oberndorf.”

In the same flyer Tauscher also advertises a curious manufacturers combination:

“Haenel MAUSER Repeating Rifles”

The featured French, near pristine manual, printed after the introduction of the circa 1902 Parabellum carbine has a green W.Glaser retailers’ sticker on the first page and was found in the W. Glaser shop in Zurich in the late 1990’s. Perhaps the French manual was directed more to the French speaking segment of Switzerland than France and the Spanish manual, which was located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to South America than to Spain.

Neither of the circa 1902 or the later circa 1906 DWM Parabellum colored series instruction manuals nor the circa 1906 orange and tan cover Hans Tauscher labeled Luger instruction manuals address the Luger carbine. Hans Tauscher literature does initially address the old model Luger carbine in the United States in a format similar to the circa 1902 DWM German language “Hunting Carbine” brochure. The first known sales literature promoting the “Old Model” 7.65 mm Luger carbine, printed in English was a Tauscher pamphlet titled “The Luger Automatic Repeating Pistol and Carbine” with a picture of an old model Luger pistol on the front page. This pamphlet was printed for and distributed by Hans Tauscher in about 1906, shortly after he moved to 10-12 Thomas Street. The initial price of the Luger carbine was $50.6 This particular “pamphlet” has not been featured in any Luger publication is a “6-page 2-sided advertising flyer” with one page dedicated to the circa 1902 DWM Luger carbine titled: “The Luger Automatic Carbine.”

The first ad, shown herein is one page of the 6-page 2-sided flyer mentioned above, titled: “The Luger Automatic Carbine”. This flyer was one of the contents of a 1908 dated Hans Tauscher envelope sent to a prospective customer. Based on the $50 initial advertising price, this 1908 mailed Luger Carbine ad was the first known Tauscher ad for the circa 1902 Luger carbine. However, this ad was printed after the introduction of the new model Luger which was also mentioned on the last page titled: Parts and Prices for Luger Automatic Pistols - “When ordering parts, kindly state old or new model.” This the first instance, in the United States, of the Luger pistol being referred to as “old and new model”. Along with the reference to “President Roosevelt” as the incumbent, places the printing time frame of the flyer to 1906-1909. Note that this is the only Tauscher ad to address the “Dismounting and Reassembling” of “The Luger Automatic Carbine.” This 1906-1909 Hans Tauscher English language advertisement flyer is almost identical in content and format to the second page of the circa 1902 German language brochure titled “Hunting Carbine, Parabellum” which coincidentally may not be considered a sales brochure or advertisement as it contains no prices.

Two other Hans Tauscher ads appeared later, the second being a 4-page 2-sided advertising flyer, shown herein, with the cover, again titled “The Luger Automatic Repeating Pistol and Carbine” except the front page features the old model carbine and a new model Luger pistol with a price of $45 for the carbine. The second ad mentioned above was one of the contents of a 1909 dated Tauscher envelope and 1909 dated letter and sent to a prospective customer. Based on the reduced $45 advertising price, this 1909 mailed Luger Carbine ad was the second Luger Carbine advertisement published for Tauscher. The third advertisement for “The Luger Automatic Sporting Carbine” is page 18 of a Tauscher general catalog. The ad is circa 1909 based on fact that in the same catalog on page 16 there is an advertisement for the new model Luger pistol. The dating of the advertisement is also based on the third Tauscher reduction in price of the Luger carbine from $50 to $45 to $30.

Schoverling, Daly & Gales was a period New York City retailer located at 302-304 Broadway and a “stones throw” away from Hans Tauscher at 320 Broadway who published a rather detailed advertising flyer on the circa 1902 carbine titled: “The Luger Automatic Sporting Carbine.”7 In this flyer the retailer states: “It is owned and used by the most renowned people the world over - former President Roosevelt, President Dias of Mexico, the King of Italy, and almost exclusively, for all kinds of game by His Majesty the German Emperor, Wilhelm II.” Citing one of the personages, namely “former President Roosevelt,” dates this flyer to 1909 or later as Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1901-1909. In the ad, the price has been reduced from $50 to $30, tracking the Tauscher price reductions. This indicated or implied slow sales of the Luger carbine in the United States that was introduced by DWM several years earlier. This lack of sales in the United States over the years up to WWI is unusual despite the limited worldwide production of barely 2500 Luger carbines manufactured by DWM. A noted Luger historian and author made a rather stark estimate of the availability of Luger carbines in the Unites States: “About 400 were shipped to the United States for commercial sale....Due to the greater cost factor and limited quantity produced, the Luger carbine is very scarce and highly valuable to the collector. …The price then was about $50.”8


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