Hænel Schriftgießerei

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August 1, 2013 at 7:37 AM #2828


Schriftgießerei Eduard Hænel, Magdeburg/Berlin 1731-1864 (acquired by Gronau)

Eduard Hænel published the only catalog issued by this TF that is known to be digitized; according to a University of Ghent library, it was dated 1847. Some of faces were also shown in the 1841–1843 edition as reprinted by Kelly.¹

The first 300 of nearly 500 pages (printed one-side only) illustrate alphanumeric fonts. Of these, more than 230 pages (including the first 160) prominently feature roman text, display and “Old English” styles. Fewer than 70 pages show traditional gothic blackletters.

Many of these specimens precede, sometimes by a decade or more, those documented by English-speaking historians—exciting news!

Friedrich Bauer attributes Hænel’s success to specialization in roman types: He purchased matrices for casting the most popular ones from trend-setting TFs in France and Great Britain.² An article published in English by Luc Devroye concurs.

  • Given that Hænel’s type was imported from France and GB: If Nicolette Gray³ did not identify a face shown by Hænel as British, then it is almost certainly French.
  • THP will be most grateful for collaboration with French- and/or German-speaking researchers equipped to
    • Navigate the online provinçal records in France for registration/patent of intellectual property.
    • Translate Herr Bauer’s extremely important treatise on the history of German TFs.

¹Kelly, R.R. (1977): American Wood Type, 1828–1900|Notes on the Evolution of Decorated and Large Types, page 35. Litton Educational Pub­lishing, Inc./Van Nostrand Reinhold Company (New York 1969). Reprinted by DaCapo Press, Inc. (New York 1977).
²Bauer, Friedrich (Offenbach 1929); Reichardt, Hans (Frankfurt 2011): Chronik der Schriftgießereien in Deutschland und den deutschsprachigen Nachbarländern. Courtesy of the Klingspor Museum.
³Gray, N. (1938): XIXth Century Ornamented Types and Title Pages.  Faber and Faber Limited, London.

Some Hænel Surprises

Tuscan Floral
Tuscan Shaded
Southern Cross
Bulletin Script
Marble Heart
Anglo Saxon
Italian Text

April 14, 2014 at 8:14 AM #8209


Newly discovered information on the 1847 Hænel catalog indicates that the publication date reckoned by the University of Ghent (Belgium) is not accurate for all specimens shown.

As so often happened during the 19th century, the original edition may have been reprinted from stereotypes of existing pages, updated and reissued later. Matching the page headings may be helpful in untangling which faces were “new” at different times (or not!).

Even so, the latest verifiable specimen date is 1851, which (at this writing…) does not contradict the above observations.

On the history of Fette Fraktur#, Paul Shaw writes

“The exact origins of Fette Fraktur are a bit murky. Albert Kapr, author of Fraktur: Form und Geschichte der gebrochenen Schriften (1993), p. 168 makes no mention of Johann Christian Bauer and says that the face was designed sometime between 1830 and 1840. He shows a cut dating to 1867 from AG Schriftgießerei.

“The face does not appear in Chronik der Schriftgiesserei (1928) by Friedrich Bauer, nor in Handbuch der Schriften (1926) by Albrecht Seeman. It is not included in the Klimsch Kartei or the VdS Kartei. Das Buch des Setzers (1948) by Fritz Genzmer lists versions designed in 1908 by D. Stempel AG and 1909 by Gebr. Klingspor but nothing under Bauer. DeRose’s information, I suspect, stems from Rookledge’s International Handbook of Type Designers (1991), but its source is unknown.

“Google Books offers a type specimen book from the “Original Englische Schriften aus der Schriftgiesserei, Schriftschneiderei und Graviranstalt” of Edward Haenel in Berlin which they date to 1847,¹ though it has no title page.

“That date sounds suspiciously early given the delicate styles of type shown. And one specimen page says “Specimen of Fancy Types being cut for the Exhibition of Industry of all Nations London May till September 1851” as part of a showing of Midolline types while another has the date 1863 as part of an ornamental design.

“The specimen book shows what appears to be Fette Fraktur, labeled II. Grad. (Tertia), on a page headed Musirte Fracturen. Perhaps the mystery behind the origins of Fette Fraktur# explain Phaidon’s use of a digital version on the front of the card.”

Note that the specimen page referenced is cast in English as well as German.

Chapel Member David MacMillan (circuitousroot.com) adds evidence that the Hænel TF was indeed a participant in the “Crystal Palace” Exhibition, now regarded as the first “World’s Fair.”²

¹Schriftgiesserei Edourd Hænel: Neue Polytypen der Schriftgiesserei und Gravir-Anstalt, Berlin 1847.
²Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851 (1852). Reports by the Juries on the Subjects in the Thirty Classes into Which the Exhibition was Divided, Volume 2, page 930.


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