The Reichszeugmeisterei, formally located in Munich, was the first and eventually the primary Zeugmeisterei (quartermaster’s office), as well as the national material control office of Nazi Germany.
As early as 1925, to avoid identification problems during street fighting in the Weimar Republic, Adolf Hitler ordered the wearing of brown shirts by members of the newly established NSDAP and the SA. These uniforms were complemented by brown caps and coloured badges in 1927, which could only be purchased at the SA-Wirtschaftsstelle. Due to an increasing number of members, Hitler instructed the SA command in 1928 to establish a Zeugmeisterei in Munich. This office was responsible for the central supply of all kinds of uniforms, uniform parts and equipment to members of Nazi organizations. Further Zeugmeistereien were established in other German cities, and the quartermaster office in Munich was renamed to Reichszeugmeisterei, to identify it with its leading role.
In 1930 the Zeugmeistereien were subordinated to Franz Xaver Schwarz in his position as Reichsschatzmeister (“national treasurer”) of the NSDAP. When the Heimtückegesetz (“insidiousness law”) of 1934 secured its exclusive right to license manufacturers and tradesmen, the Reichszeugmeisterei became the Hauptamt VIII (“main office VIII”) of the Beschaffungsamt der NSDAP (“NSDAP procurement office”), and given responsibility for the coordination of all procurement of uniforms and equipment projects. The RZM office defined design, manufacturing and quality standards, and published an authoritative colour chart for textiles. A RZM licence could be bought and by the middle of 1934 there were about 15,000 licensed manufacturing factories and craft producers, 1,500 tradesmen, 75,000 master tailors and 15,000 so-called “brown shops” in the German Reich.