Theodor Bergmann, a German industrialist, hired a gun designer and developed a series of automatic pistols at the turn of the century. This pistol is one of his earliest designs. It was a well-made blowback operated semi-automatic pistol. Its main point of interest was its complete lack of any mechanical system of extraction or ejection. In fact the action was so designed that the bolt opened while there was still enough gas available to blow the cartridge case out backwards. The case then struck the next round in the magazine and, in theory at least, bounced clear. Although, in practice this process was not always reliable. A gas escape port in the chamber served as a safety device should the case have ruptured under pressure.
The early cartridges had no rim of any kind and were sharply tapered to avoid any risk of sticking. Later versions were fitted with mechanical extractors, requiring the use of cartridges with grooved rims.
The pistol was loaded by pulling down and forward on the milled grip by the trigger-guard, which opened the magazine cover. A five-round clip was inserted and the cover was closed. A lifter spring pushed the rounds up under the bolt one by one and the empty clip was finally ejected downwards. Rounds could be loaded without the clip, but the feed system was by no means reliable in this case, since the rounds were liable to become displaced.
This gun today in good condition sells upward to $1800.