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Coltautos.com Gun of the Month - June 2001
Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP
Serial number 22076 Factory Inscribed
"Herbert W. Hegele M.D. Portland Oregon"

Model N sn 22076

Colt Model N serial number 22076 - a very interesting and unique factory inscribed Model N.  This pistol features a very large factory inscription on the left side of the slide, requiring the left side roll marks to be elevated.  The factory records indicate that this is the first Model N pistol produced with an inscription on the slide and the ninth factory inscribed pistol produced.  It was shipped on November 9, 1909.

Herbert W. Hegele M.D. was the first born child prodigy son of Charles Hegele (who was one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of young Portland - he owned the largest dairy operation in Oregon and supplied all the big fine hotels downtown with all their dairy products).  The dairy was so big it became the town of Scapoose, just 10 miles down the Columbia from Portland. 

Herbert Hegele’s family tree is traced back to Germany as Charles Hegele’s great grandfather was the famous German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Hegel.  The "e" was added when Charles Hegele came to America and didn't want to connect himself with what was happening with Kant, Marx, Engels, and Hegel during the time of the Bolshevik Revolution.  He came all the way out to Portland, Oregon and changed his name.  It’s not certain if he was "chased" as his politics at the time are not known.

In 1899 at the age of 22, Herbert Hegele graduated from Rush Medical College and the University of Chicago Law School at the same time.  Both graduation ceremonies were held on June 30th, 1899 in Chicago and since he couldn't be in both places at the same time, he missed the Law School Ceremony.  Medicine was his preferential profession, although he continued to practice law right up to his death in 1958.  Hegele was a most unusual man in that he could speak 11 languages and read and write Latin.  He played concert violin in Carnegie Hall when in his early teens.

Hegele owned the first "horseless carriage" in Portland, the first of many incredible cars (Duesenberg, Stutz Bearcat, Packard Limos, Rolls Royce, etc.)   He also had an affinity for the finest factory embellished arms.

Model N serial number 22076 close-up of inscription.

Hegele’s wife was the first Kellogg Cereal Girl (appearing on Kellogg's first cereal boxes as a picture of good health and beauty), born in Battle Creek, MI on March 26, 1889.  In 1908, she and Dr. Hegele were married and he found her a job through his friend down at the Union Pacific Railroad Depot.  The next year Dr. Hegele ordered from Colt this factory inscribed pearl handled .25 caliber pistol for his wife who, for 16 years, worked at the Union Pacific Railroad Depot and had to traverse “Man Town” along the tracks to catch her ride to and from work each day.  Dr. Hegele was the personal physician to the President of the Union Pacific Railroad during this period and a prominent local businessman.  He was also a practicing attorney and a deputy sheriff for Multnomah County, Portland, Oregon.

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