Schelter und Giesecke Grotesks

In the course of the XIX th century, there were two countries that launched the new production of sans serif typefaces: England and Germany. The most famous German foundry was Liepzig-based Schelter und Giesecke which gave grotesk typefaces from 1825. Other German foundries like Berthod and Stempel will produce grotesks but at the end of the century.

The only references of S&G grotesks belonged to the last quarter of the XIX th century: Schelter Grotesk, Schlanke Grotesk, Breite Grotesk.
Designer Nick Curtis attempted to reproduce the style of these typefaces.

1. Is there any leads to pinpoint the very first German grotesks from 1825?
2. Is there any book dedicated to the Schelter und Giesecke foundry?

Nick Shinn's picture

This topic has been discussed before at Typophile.
The 1825 attribution is considered to be a mistake.

Fournier's picture

Well, we can continue this historical topic.
Can you confirm the exact date of the grotesk creation, please?
1880?
What do you think of Curtis' interpretations of these S&G grotesks?
Which S&G-related book do you recommend?
Thanks.

Fournier's picture

Well, we can continue this historical topic.
Can you confirm the exact date of the grotesk creation, please?
1880?
What do you think of Curtis' interpretations of these S&G grotesks?
Which S&G-related book do you recommend?
Thanks.

oldnick's picture

As far as I know "This forerunner of Helvetica made its debut as Breite Grotesk in the 1886 specimen book of the Schelter & Giesecke foundry in Leipzig."

Albert Jan Pool's picture

Wolfgang Homola did the most extensive research on the Grotesk typefaces from Schelter & Giesecke so far:

Type design in the age of the machine. The ‘Breite Grotesk’ by J. G. Schelter & Giesecke. Wolfgang Homola, 2004. That is the title of his Dissertation he did for his MA in Typeface Design at the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication at the University of Reading.

It is not available through the Reading website anymore, but I found it here:
http://www.pdfio.com/k-1973302.html

Albert Jan Pool's picture

This is the thread to go for when you want to know more about the correct release date of the Grotesk typefaces by Schelter & Giesecke.
http://typophile.com/node/19482

‘1825’ for ‘schmale magere Grotesk’ is a mistake from this article by Handover:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/winkelhaken/sets/72157640577654825/with/12...
This is the German translation in Monotype Nachrichten. The original version can be found here:
P.M. Handover, Grotesque Letters, Monotype News Letter 69, March 1963

James Mosley shows an older German sans serif from 1858 here:
http://www.typophile.com/node/46184

The book ‘Handbuch der Schriftarten’ by Wetzig, Seemann 1926 lists more German sans serifs of older date (i.e. before 1858). Wetzig does not mention any sources for these dates, and I have not really succeeded in verifying any of these ‘earlier German sans serifs’ yet …

Fournier's picture

Thank you very much, Albert, for your reminders.
Anybody is capable of distinguishing the three S&G grotesks:
Schelter Grotesk, Schlanke Grotesk, Breite Grotesk.
What is the idiosyncrasy of each type?

Albert Jan Pool's picture

Schlank can be translated as slim. In current type terminology it would be called thin condensed or light condensed.
Within the context of German type terminology around 1900, Breit is the formal opposite of Schlank, it can be translated as wide or broad. Today one would call such a face bold extended. Some of the typefaces that used to be called Breit, are wider than the extended typefaces of today. Many foundries did not use the word ‘normal’. Instead, type could be called either mager (regular) or fett (bold), or either schlank (thin condensed) or breit (bold or bold extended). And then of course there is breit mager, which would now be light or regular extended.
Or what do you mean by idiosyncrasy?

Fournier's picture

Your answer is still interesting. Thanks.
What I mean by idiosyncrasy is their individuality as a design: their personality.
Are there any glyphs that are unusual or peculiar?

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