Author Topic: A German business card, AD 1895  (Read 706 times)

Offline Vintage_BE

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A German business card, AD 1895
« on: December 29, 2023, 02:52:00 PM »
Greetings from Kiel, Germany, hometown of my wife. When visiting the maritime museum I noticed the below business card. It belonged to Carl-Wilhelm Loewe (https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Löwe_(Verwaltungsjurist), the first president of the Kiel canal (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiel_Canal), completed in 1895. What struck me was that his card is printed in pure Copperplate style. That seems to suggest that at the close of the 19th century, Copperplate was a “dominant” or “customary” choice for “stylish” documents such as business cards. Indeed German handwriting (as taught in schools and used in official documents such as the ship logs displayed at the museum) at that time differed significantly from Copperplate - for a start, it was not written with a strong right-hand slant).
Interesting as well to my neophyte eyes is the “w” as used in this business card. It looks

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2023, 05:05:16 PM »
Greetings from Kiel, Germany, hometown of my wife. When visiting the maritime museum I noticed the below business card. It belonged to Carl-Wilhelm Loewe (https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Löwe_(Verwaltungsjurist), the first president of the Kiel canal (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiel_Canal), completed in 1895. What struck me was that his card is printed in pure Copperplate style. That seems to suggest that at the close of the 19th century, Copperplate was a “dominant” or “customary” choice for “stylish” documents such as business cards. Indeed German handwriting (as taught in schools and used in official documents such as the ship logs displayed at the museum) at that time differed significantly from Copperplate - for a start, it was not written with a strong right-hand slant).
Interesting as well to my neophyte eyes is the “w” as used in this business card. It looks
@Vintage_BE

Very interesting card.
The slant of the letters on this card match the slant of the letters (Kurrentschrift) in the 1873 book "Ahn's First German Book" by P. Henn, used to teach "first graders" how to write Kurrentschrift (the common script at the time).

(Also, the slant Madarasz used (approximately) at the time of the card.


« Last Edit: December 29, 2023, 05:06:51 PM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2023, 12:08:08 AM »
Fascinating! I bet @Estefa would find this of interest.  :-*
Warm Regards,
Erica
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Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2023, 03:10:10 AM »
@AnasaziWrites I stand corrected as regards the slant. The (German language) Wikipedia article on “Kurrentschrift” states that the 45 degree right-hand slant is a 19th century development that was spurred by the use of pointed pens. That statement refers to page 123 of a book by Sonja Steiner-Welz “Von der Schrift und den Schriftarten”. Reinhard Welz Vermittler Verlag e.K., 2003, ISBN 978-3-937636-47-4. I do not have access to the book.
My late mother in law (schooled during the 1930s, i.e. before the nazi regime ditched Kurrent) wrote at a much more upright angle, I would guess (from memory) approx 80% or higher. And she wrote with a Pelikan 400 pen with a double or triple broad italic nib.

Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2023, 03:33:44 AM »
By way of follow up to the above reply, this blog https://deutsche-schrift.beepworld.de/schriftgeschichte.htm claims that the rise of the pointed pen during the 19th century prompted a change in Kurrentschrift: “Between 1854 and 1870, several scribes attempted to adapt the script to the more difficult handling of the now commonly used pointed steel nib by prescribing letters to be written with a rightward slant of up to 45 degrees and disproportionately large ascenders and descenders, which, however, greatly impaired the legibility of the script.” It also claims that from the early 20th century, the right-hand slant was progressively abandoned.

Offline Gary

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2023, 08:08:26 AM »
The "w" on the card is the form used and posted by Ken Frazer recently I seem to recall - a combination of an "n" and a "v".

Gary

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2023, 05:59:59 PM »
@Gary - good catch! I didn’t notice the first time looking at it.   :)
Warm Regards,
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Offline Cyril Jayant

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2023, 06:22:54 PM »
Many older scripts  seems gone through a mutation. These rare signs come up  to show the whole connection to the historic art writing their connection they had in golden days.
This card shows a major relationship of the copperplate or English round hand had a good popularity or DOMINANT in writing. Is this first  Old German writing scripts  ( Is that the right word ??? I wonder) 
My question  Is the chicken came first of the egg?  ;D
Quite interesting thread this is !! Love once we talked about Ken's  writing of" W" first and then this "W "  and it's combination of N' " and "V"

Offline Estefa

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2024, 12:24:14 PM »
Interesting examples indeed! In 2021 I gave a workshop about 18th century Kurrent in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. I had had interest in Kurrent before, but in preparation for this workshop I did a lot more research. Kurrent was used roughly from the 15th to the early 20th century and got through many stylistic changes, as it was a practical handwriting style (so to say the everyday sister style to the more formal chancery scripts and to Fraktur as the most formal style that was also widely used as fonts).

So you can’t say there is the slant for Kurrent. It basically existed with a left leaning slant, upright, and right leaning slant. It was written over the centuries with a quill (broad pen), with pointed quills and steel pens (that started influenced by English Round Hand in the late 18th and early 19th century) and in one of its latest iterations with a monoline nib (Sütterlin German Script, Sütterlin also existed as a "Latin" aka English script style). That was again written upright and meant to be changed by the maturing writer. It was a "Schulausgangsschrift" (basic school script, mostly meant to be as a simple pure style, easily to be learned and open to changes regarding use of nib, slant, letter forms, as long as they stayed recognisable). A very different approach than Palmer’s for example ;).

Latin aka English aka Copperplate was used paraellel to the "German" aka Kurrent styles – sometimes in the same body of text. Proper names, places, words from other languages like French or English were the most common application for Copperplate. It looks pretty weird as the x-height of Copperplate in the same text is usually much higher than the x-hight of Kurrent.

Btw the "w" in the first example is the most common form of "w" in the English master scribe books of the 18th century, look in your Universal Penman ;).
Stefanie :: Website :: Blog :: Instagram

Offline Estefa

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2024, 12:57:54 PM »
For those who are interested, here is a German copy book from 1840: From page 9 to 20 German Kurrent, from 21 to 35 examples and exercises for English Handwriting. There is more, for example a pretty wild "Italian" alphabet, page 41, closely inspired by the Italian Hand of the English writing masters. But Latin and German Script really were required to learn for all children who went to school (the rest in the book are older styles, mainly used in the professional field, for law, for advertising etc.).

So basically German (and Austrian and Swiss) kids had to learn 8 alphabets: writing German Kurrent and Latin (Copperplate), each uppercase and lowercase, reading Fraktur (for German texts), also uppercase and lower case, and reading Roman letters (or Antiqua, as we call it in German) – basically our normal serif print letters, also capitals and minisules ;D. For print, using Antiqua was considered more of an educated upperclass thing, in earlier times mainly for texts in other languages, like Latin :). There was some sort of ongoing debate about how much sense all this made, called the "Antiqua-Fraktur-Streit", it also had tons of political implications, as you may guess.

Thanks and a big shoutout to @sybillevz who collected this and many more copy books on her page https://pennavolans.com :)!!

I have lots more examples at home, but none of them digitized. Ah you can have a look very early Kurrent styles here:

https://www.loc.gov/resource/rbc0001.2019rosen0696/?sp=25&r=0.239,0.03,0.903,0.498,0

Visual explanation of Kurrent starts at page 25. What I find super interesting is that Fugger starts with teaching the strokes before writing letters – just like we do today. Makes sense of course.
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Offline Vintage_BE

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Re: A German business card, AD 1895
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2024, 03:30:50 PM »
Here is another sample of German “Copperplate-like”writing. It appears on a family heirloom, a board game that my wife used to play with her late parents (and that we now play with our kids). I believe it dates from the 60s of last century.
The game (“Der Weg zum Erfolg”, “The Road to Success”) was sponsored by the German version of Steve Martin, Loriot.