Hamburgevons, where did it come from?

treacyfaces's picture

To pick up on Jay Fraser's original thread, at

'Hamburgevons, where did it come from?'

apparently now archived away, I believe I might have found the source:

In the 1960 book by Mortimer Leach, "Letter Design in the Graphic Arts" (Reinhold,

hrant's picture

For any Tetterode/Amsterdam stuff, try contacting Henk Gianotten. For anything related to Dutch specimen work, try John Lane or Mathieu Lommen. Jan Middendorp is also an expert on the Dutch scene.


hrant's picture

Something just hit me: any test string with "Hamburg" in it is unlikely to have originated from the Netherlands, for the simple reason that the Dutch have never been particulary fond of Germans, especially not after WWII. It must have come from a German font house, and considering that blackletter -which was used almost exclusively in Germany until about the middle of WWII- has very different control characters than roman, I'd guess that that famous test string is from the 1950s. In fact it also seems to me to be the sort of analytical stuff Zapf might have played a part in.


dan_reynolds's picture

Dear Hrant, Hermann Zapf is not the inventor of "Hambergevons." However, because of your post, I asked him what he knew about it. He believes—quite credibly, I might add—that the word was created as a test at the D. Stempel AG foundry, before the Second World War.

The "author" would then be Dr. Rudolf Wolf (died 1942), who among other things was the designer of the Memphis type family. August Rosenberger may have been involved as well. Rosenberger cut several of Memphis' weights, and would later cut designs of Hermann Zapf's, including Palatino.

Otmar Hoefer addes to me that this was by no means a universal word. The "Americans" used to begin a typeface with the letters Hono.

peter_bain's picture

In the unsubstantiated rumor section:

I remember hearing that "hamburg" came from typefounder Genzsch & Heyse, in Hamburg, of course. There are one-word settings in "Hamburg" in the Seeman compilations.

dezcom's picture

So then did it learn from the famous Shakespeare Company, Hamburg on Avon? :-)


k.l.'s picture

There are one-word settings in “Hamburg” in the Seeman compilations.
And "Hamburgers" where space allowed this. ;-)

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