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Buchdruckerei Weise & Co. invoice, 1929

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Dec 18th, 2016. Artwork published in
circa 1929
    Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-SA.

    This invoice from a printing office in Essen, Germany uses the rarely seen Mammut, also known as Werbeschrift (“advertising typeface”) or Schrägschrift (“inclined typeface”) Mammut. The round and heavy connected script was probably released in 1928. It appears in the 1929 addendum to Handbuch der Schriftarten and is listed as an in-house design by Ludwig Wagner A.‑G., Leipzig. Type historian Hans Reichardt credits it to punchcutter Arthur Schulze.

    Detail of an undated specimen (c. 1952) included in “Bleisatzschriften des 20. Jahrhunderts aus Deutschland” by Hans Reichardt (ed.). License: All Rights Reserved.

    Mammut was advertised as the “indestructible inclined typeface without any overhangs”. Being “kalanderfest” was an important feature for impressing cardboard mats, or flongs, in the stereotyping process, see this post about Prägefest.

    Some letterforms exhibit a ductus related to Kurrent: ‘F’, ‘H’, ‘N’ (but not ‘M’), ‘Y’. The stem of ‘T’ curls forward. Mammut has a ‘u’ with a very pronounced hook — not an umlaut, but a then common means to distinguish ‘u’ from ‘n’ in handwriting and also in less formal script typefaces. There is an alternate without hook, as well as alternative designs for ‘r’, ‘H’, ‘Y’. The glyph set further contains a final swash that can be placed at the end of a line. In some sizes, entry swashes apparently are longer than in others, cf. ‘W’ in the use and in the typeface sample.

    Detail of an undated specimen, Klingspor-Museum. License: All Rights Reserved.

    In 1932, a schmalfett (bold condensed) was added. Stylistically, it is quite different from the initial cut — both in the design of individual glyphs as well as in its overall character. With its angular and narrow forms, Schmalfette Mammut rather resembles Berthold’s Signal (1931) and, in particular, the heavier Block-Signal (1932). It seems possible that the condensed Mammut was created as an — admittedly speedy — follower to Block-Signal, as it was often the case with popular styles; and that the established name “Mammut” was reused to whitewash the epigone a little.

    The original wide Mammut appears in Dan X. Solo’s compilation of Bold Script Alphabets (1989) as “Strudel”, with the eszett (‘ß’) presented as ‘B’. It is not clear whether it has been made into film type — probably it’s simply a showing of the metal typeface.

    The invoice is for 500 flyers printed for a Catholic parish in Halberstadt. It strikes me as odd that they were ordered from a print shop in Essen — the cities are about 400 km (250 miles) apart.


    • Werbeschrift Mammut
    • Venus




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    2 Comments on “Buchdruckerei Weise & Co. invoice, 1929”

    1. Dec 24th, 2016  2:25 pm

      Here’s some more Mammut, used in 1936 for the letterhead of Karl Rühle, a specialized dealer for office supplies in Meissen, featuring the aforementioned terminal swash.

    2. Apr 25th, 2017  10:21 am

      F.H. Ehmcke delivered an expert opinion for the L. Wagner type foundry against Berthold about Mammut schmalfett (“Gutachten für die Schriftgießerei L. Wagner A.G. Leipzig gegen Berthold über die Type: Mammut-schmal-fett”, 3. December 1932, see the bibliography in F.H. Ehmcke: Geordnetes und Gültiges. C.H. Beck, 1955), indicating that there was a legal dispute about the similarity to Block-Signal.

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