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Gruhl, Magdeburg invoices, 1926 and 1927

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Mar 20th, 2017. Artwork published in
circa 1926
Gruhl, Magdeburg invoices, 1926 and 1927 1
Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

Weekly Invoice №20 brings a double feature from Magdeburg. Gruhl was the “main distributor of Plange’s sacked ‘Diamant’ flours for the province of Saxony, Anhalt and Brunswick”. In 1926, the firm was doing business as A. M. Gruhl. A year later, its name had changed to Gruhl & Co. Both invoices are pages from carbon copy books printed by Max Schlutius Durchschreibbücherfabrik — a local company established in 1820 and still in business today — using the same format and color.

The titling face in the 1926 letterhead is Koch-Antiqua-Kursiv (1923), with the decorative capitals that distinguished this design in all sizes from 12pt upward. In the later version, it has been replaced by another, less tender italic, also with elements of a sloped roman. It’s Bernhard-Kursiv (1912), the companion to Bernhard-Antiqua, starring its fly-fishing ampersand. Koch’s italic, which is digitally available from Spiece Graphics as Eva Antiqua Light Italic, is maintained for “Rechnung”.

Gruhl, Magdeburg invoices, 1926 and 1927 2
Photo: Florian Hardwig. License: CC BY-NC-SA.

All the smaller type in both documents is Koralle. It is not printed from the same composition, though: There are many small differences, in spacing and arrangement, but also in the text, e.g. “Privat-Bank” → “Privatbank”, “Postscheck” → “Postscheckkonto”, etc. Storing the composed type as “standing type” — the metal type equivalent of a reusable, editable file — wasn’t worth the trouble, especially when it was unclear if the client ever returned with a sufficiently similar order. For such a small job, it was more profitable to simply recompose the whole thing from scratch, in case a reprint was needed.

By 1927, the mode of delivery apparently had been standardized: instead of adding “per train from station Magdeburg” by hand again and again, this piece of information could now be taken as a given and rendered typographically. Also, the newer version was intended to last a little longer: only two (formerly three) leading digits of the year are preprinted now, making the form fit for the 1930s.


  • Koch-Antiqua
  • Bernhard-Antiqua
  • Koralle




Artwork location

2 Comments on “Gruhl, Magdeburg invoices, 1926 and 1927”

  1. Source: University Library of GhentRecent discovery from some reading I’ve been doing: Koch wasn’t the first person to think of merging italic with blackletter inline capitals – not by four hundred years. There was an eccentric Ghent printer who did some printing with that combination in the 1530s (in a book introducing roman type to the Netherlands, oddly) but it never became a style. Maybe he didn’t feel his upright caps went well with italics? I feel like it’s an idea that could come back – certainly Goudy would have loved it.

  2. Koch’s œuvre includes several examples where he merges blackletter and roman forms. Jessen-Schrift pairs roman/uncial caps with a textura lowercase. Wallau and Offenbach were both devised with “deutsch” and “unzial” sets of capitals. The decorative caps of Koch-Antiqua-Kursiv have nothing to do with blackletter, though.

    Thank you for the interesting reference! In Dutch Type, Jan Middendorp provides a translation for Joos Lambrecht’s text:

    I am ashamed about the uncivilized attitude of so many people in our country, who are unable to read our low-Dutch or Flemish tongue when printed in Roman type, saying that they do not recognize the letters, and that it seems Latin or Greek to them. Having noticed this, I have printed this booklet in Roman type, which surpasses all other Flemish letter-forms in clarity and grace, and I intend (by the grace of God) to print more in the same letter: therefore I have printed here the Roman alphabet so that every one can see it and get acquainted with it and develop more affection and sympathy for it. Just as we see now that the Walloons and the French are having their own language printed in Roman rather than Bastardic (Blackletter) type faces more and more every day.

    Peter van Lancker has compiled a nice overview of Lambrecht’s types (in Dutch).

    The current version of Laurent Bourcellier’s Joos, a digital interpretation of the upright italic, doesn’t come with Bastardic titling caps. But who knows, maybe he is open to requests?

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