Contrary to Günther Gerhard Lange’s statement in a 2003 interview with Yvonne Schwemer-Scheddin in Typografische Monatsblätter, the Royal-Grotesk typeface was not a product Berlin’s H. Berthold AG acquired in 1908 when they purchased the Ferd. Theinhardt typefoundry. Instead, Royal-Grotesk was actually created at Berthold a few years earlier. H. Berthold AG probably published it in late 1902, although some sources give 1903 as the year of its release, such as [AfB] and [Wetzig].
I have placed indications for the sources of all the typeface names and date-attributions from this post inside of square brackets. Where copies of the sources are available on the Internet, I have made those particular source names links to the pages of those online PDFs. Structure wise, this may be a bit of a completed post, because of all those linked and unlinked references. Still, the post comes in at less than 2,250 words. So it isn’t too long! At the end of the post, you can find bibliographic details for all the sources I’ve mentioned.
What’s in a name?
I have read several 21st century statements insisting that Royal-Grotesk’s connection to Ferdinand Theinhardt (1820–1906) is proven because the typeface name includes the term Royal. That is quite a leap, though! I’ve written more on why in this post’s next section. First, let me provide a brief summary of the history of the Theinhardt foundry’s ownership.
Ferdinand Theinhardt established his own typefoundry in Berlin in 1849, when he was about 29-years old. Although Theinhardt and his wife had children, their son did not survive childhood. Their daughters, after they grew up, married military officers. This meant that Theinhardt had no heirs who could have eventually taken over his business. In 1885, he sold his foundry to Oskar Mammen and two brothers: Emil and Robert Mosig. At some point after that sale, Theinhardt became a retiree and ceased his punchcutting and typefounding activities. In my next post in this series, I’ll discuss the speculation about exactly when he retired and stopped cutting punches for good. At the time of the sale, he would have been over 65, and at least somewhat well off. Theinhardt died twenty-one years later, in 1906.
The new owners of the Ferd. Theinhardt business never changed the company name. I don’t know when Emil Mosig died, but by 1897, he was no longer involved with the foundry. By 1902, Mammen would have either died or left the company himself. He was replaced as co-owner by Hans Schweitzer. Robert Mosig and Schweitzer ran the company together until 1907, when Robert Mosig would retire (and then die), leaving Schweitzer as sole owner. Schweitzer sold the company to Berthold in 1908.
Berthold operated the Theinhardt foundry as a subsidiary for the next two years. That in-and-of-itself was not uncommon; in 1897, Berthold acquired the Stuttgart and Düsseldorf-based Bauer & Co. foundry, which they kept open as an independent subsidiary until 1930 (just in Stuttgart). Berthold closed its Theinhardt subsidiary down earlier, in 1910 – at least as a business operating on separate premises. Technically, the re-organised “Ferd. Theinhardt G.m.b.H” that Berthold had set up in 1908 remained open until about 1931, but after 1910, the subsidiary’s name was just another company doing businesses at Berthold’s main Berlin factory address.
While Ferdinand Theinhardt was at the helm of his company, it did work for Prussian state institutions. For example, a Prussian state printing house was established in Berlin in 1851. Theinhardt made type for it, with which it printed securities. Significantly, Theinhardt cut a number of academic typefaces for publications written by members of the Königlich-Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences). Those academic typefaces included designs for transcribing ancient Greek and Roman inscriptions, as well as designs for typesetting ancient writing systems like Cuneiform and Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Theinhardt also cut punches for Devanagari and Tibetan types, etc.
Since Theinhardt’s foundry – and later Berthold – advertised those typefaces in their type specimen catalogues, I assume that these designs were not owned by the Royal Academy itself, and that they were not exclusive to its members’ publications.
As Royal-Grotesk typeface has the word “royal” in its name, some authors assume that this sans serif must have been produced for publications of the Royal Academy, too – despite the Academy’s name having used the adjective königlich instead of royal. Some of those authors state that, after Germany dissolved its monarchies in 1918, the Royal-Grotesk typeface was renamed Akzidenz-Grotesk, because monarchies were apparently no longer popular in Germany. That conclusion is incorrect on every front: Berthold had seven members in its Akzidenz-Grotesk family by 1917, and one of Royal-Grotesk. That single weight of Royal-Grotesk was not renamed Akzidenz-Grotesk mager (Akzidenz-Grotesk Light) until the 1950s. Additionally, many Germans continued to support the idea of monarchy after 1918. Indeed, until the Nazi seizure of power, there were several German political parties and civic organisations that – to one degree or another – strove to restore the monarchy (just not necessarily the former king–emperor Wilhelm II or his son, the former crown prince also named Wilhelm).
Between 1871 and 1918, Germany was an empire, and its head of state was an emperor. Twenty-two of the twenty-six constituent states within the empire were monarchies, including Prussia, ruled by the Hohenzollern family (the imperial constitution saw it that the King of Prussia also held the imperial crown). Three other constituent states were headed by kings. Grand Dukes, Dukes, or Princes ruled in the other German states with monarchies. The empire also consisted of the Free Cities of Bremen, Lübeck, and Hamburg, which did not have local monarchs, as well as Alsace-Lorraine.
Royal-Grotesk was not the first typeface produced in imperial Germany to have the word “Royal” in its name. Two other typefaces including “Royal” in their names predated its release. A script face with “Royal” in its name came out after it. None of those other typefaces were created for one of Germany’s royal institutions or their documents.
The following typefaces are those I have found so far that were published in Germany before 1918 and include the term “Royal” in their names. If you know of some more, please let me know! I will gradually update my list:
- Royal, published by Ludwig & Mayer in the early 1890s. This was a non-sans-serif display typeface [Reichardt R]. Ludwig & Mayer operated out of Frankfurt am Main, which was then part of the Kingdom of Prussia.
- Royal-Cursiv, published by the Julius Klinkhardt typefoundry at some point before 1891 [Reichardt R]. Klinkhardt was in Leipzig, part of the Kingdom of Saxony.
- Royal-Grotesk, published by H. Berthold AG and Bauer & Co. in 1902 or 1903, depending on the source [AfB, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]. Berthold was based in Berlin, which was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. Stuttgart was the capital of the Kingdom of Württemberg.
- Royal-Kursiv, published by J.D. Trennert & Sohn. This script face was originally produced by the Leipzig punchcuttery Riegerl, Weißenborn & Co. in 1908, who called it Römisch-Zirkular [Wetzig]. Trennert was in Altona, an independent jurisdiction within Hamburg, which was a free city without a local monarch.
What about “Accidenz” and “Akzidenz” in typeface names?
While I’m on the subject of names, this would be a good place for me to stress how common the term “Accidenz” was in typeface naming during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After about 1900, German spelling conventions changed, and Latinate words like Accidenzen – the German term for jobbing-printing, from the Latin accidentia – would be written as Akzidenzen instead.
First page of the table of contents from Handbuch der Schriftarten, compiled by Emil Wetzig and published by the Albrecht Seemann Verlag in 1926. Not all the entries Akzidenz-Grotesk brings up on pages 190 though 207 are the now well-known design from H. Berthold AG. Although Wetzig’s handbook is not a thoroughly reliable source, its summary of the number of varying typefaces that contained the term “Akzidenz” in their name in 1926 is not inaccurate.
Here are the examples I have compiled so far. These only include fonts cast as foundry type, or produced as linecasting-machine matrices. Photo-typesetting and digital-font versions of Berthold’s Akzidenz-Grotesk are not included, for instance. My lists are alphabetical, not chronological. Know some more types that I am missing? Please let me know!
Single-style typefaces that are not sans serif:
- Accidenz-Cursiv verziert, J. John Söhne [Reichardt A]
- Accidenz-Fraktur, Ferd. Theinhardt foundry, before 1897 [Reichardt A]
- Accidenz-Gothisch, H. Berthold AG [Berthold 1900]
- Accidenz-Kanzlei, Ludwig & Mayer. 1882 [Reichardt A]
- Accidenzvignetten, Wilhelm Woellmer [JfB 1894]
- Akzidenz-Kursiv, Ludwig Wagner. 1908. Also sold by C.E. Weber as Romanisch-Zirkular-Kursiv [Reichardt A, Wetzig]. This was probably cut at Wagner & Schmidt. It looks like a bigger-on-the-body version of the Römisch-Zirkular/Royal-Kurisiv design, mentioned above in this post’s section on “Royal”-named typefaces.
- Akzidenz-Kursiv, Otto Weisert [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenz-Reklame, K. Brendler. This design originated at Emil Gursch, who called it Zierschrift Gloria [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenzschmuck, C.F. Rühl. Circa 1912 [Rühl] Designed by Hugo Steiner-Prag.
- Akzidenz-Schmuck, D. Stempel AG [Stempel]
- Akzidenzschrift Baldur, Julius Klinkhardt [Klinkhardt]. It is not clear-cut whether this should “count.” You could argue that the word “Akzidenzschrift” is not really part of this typeface’s name. Since I have encountered more than one specimen in which Klinkhardt presented the name in this manner, I’ve decided to include it on this list.
- Akzidenzschrift Lithographia, Julius Klinkhardt [Klinkhardt] (see above)
- Enge Accidenz-Antiqua, Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger [Krebs 1880]
- Enge Akzidenz-Antiqua, H. Berthold AG [Reichardt A, Wetzig]
- Enge Akzidenz-Kanzlei, C. Kloberg 1883 [Reichardt A, Wetzig]
- Moderne Akzidenz-Kanzlei, Roos & Junge. Before 1904 [Reichardt A]
- Neueste Accidenz-Gothisch, Ferd. Theinhardt foundry [Reichardt A]
- Schmale Accidenz-Gotisch, Krebs. Before 1889 [Krebs 1889]
- Schmale Akzidenz-Gotisch, D. Stempel AG. c.1875 [Reichardt A, Wetzig]. I think that this date might be an incorrect attribution.
- Schmale Akzidenz-Gotisch, Bauer’sche Gießerei, J. John Söhne, and H. Berthold AG [Bauer, Reichardt A, Wetzig]. Originally cut in circa 1876 by Friedrich Wilhelm Bauer for the Bauer’sche Gießerei. It was later sold by his Bauer & Co. foundry, and then by Berthold, after they acquired Bauer & Co. The two typeface-entries mentioned above are almost certainly this same design.
Wilhelm Woellmer’s Accidenz-Cursiv – not a sans serif, but available in more than one style, so it gets a unique entry here:
- Accidenz-Cursiv, c. 1892 [Woellmer]. Also shown together with the Halbfette Accidenz-Cursiv in [JfB 1892] under the title Neuste Accidenz-Kursiv.
- Halbfette Accidenz-Cursiv, c. 1892 [Woellmer]. Also shown together with the Accidenz-Cursiv in [JfB 1892] under the title Neuste Accidenz-Kursiv.
H. Berthold AG’s Accidenz-Grotesk styles. During the First World War, or shortly thereafter, these names’ spelling changed to Akzidenz-Grotesk. The styles were initially distributed by H. Berthold AG in Berlin together with its Stuttgart-based subsidiary Bauer & Co.:
- Accidenz-Grotesk, 1898 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Accidenz-Grotesk breit, 1908 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Accidenz-Grotesk breitmager, 1911 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Accidenz-Grotesk fett, 1909 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Accidenz-Grotesk halbfett, 1909 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Accidenz-Grotesk Skelett, between 1911 and 1914 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]. Not every copy of Berthold 1911 I’ve viewed had it (some catalogues were printed later). Wetzig and Berthold 1958’s attributions for it read 1914.
Ludwig & Mayer’s Accidenz-Grotesque/Accidenz-Grotesk, separate designs from the Bauer, Berthold, or Krebs Accidenz-Grotesk/Akzidenz-Grotesk families:
- Accidenz-Grotesque, in or before 1902 [Ludwig & Mayer 1902, Reichardt A]
- Breite Accidenz-Grotesk. I first saw this design in [Ludwig & Mayer 1934], an undated Ludwig & Mayer catalogue from about 1934. This design not related to the Bauer or Berthold typefaces named Akzidenz-Grotesk, but it probably is the same face sold by Haas under the name Akzidenz-Grotesk breithalbfett.
- Breite magere Accidenz-Grotesk [Ludwig & Mayer 1934]. See above; this might be the same face sold by Haas as Akzidenz-Grotesk breitmager.
C. Kloberg’s Accidenz-Mediaeval Kursiv – also not a sans serif, but available in more than one style:
- Accidenz-Mediaeval Kursiv [Reichardt A]
- Accidenz-Mediaeval Kursiv halbfett [Reichardt A]
The Bauer’sche Gießerei’s Akzidenz-Grotesk:
- Akzidenz-Grotesk [Wetzig]. This design is not related to the Accidenz-Grotesk/Akzidenz-Grotesk families from Berthold, Haas/Ludwig & Mayer, or Krebs.
- Akzidenz-Grotesk-Versalien [Wetzig]. A caps-only version of the above-listed design.
H. Berthold AG’s Akzidenz-Grotesk family members designed by Günter Gerhard Lange:
- Akzidenz-Grotesk Bold Extended Italic, 1968 [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk extra, 1958 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1958]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk extrafett, 1967 [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk Kursiv fett [Reichardt A]
H. Berthold AG’s other Akzidenz-Grotesk family members produced as foundry type and Linotype matrices:
- Akzidenz-Grotesk Serie 57, 1962 [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk Serie 57 Kursiv, 1967 [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk Serie 58, 1962 [Reichardt A]
H. Berthold AG’s other Akzidenz-Grotesk family members:
- Akzidenz-Grotesk breitfett, 1957 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1958]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk breithalbfett, 1961 [Reichardt A]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk eng, 1912 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk mager, 1902/1903 (depending on the source). Originally named Royal-Grotesk [AfB, Reichardt A, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk schmalfett [Reichardt A, Berthold 1911, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]. Berthold began selling this typeface in about 1896 under the name Enge Steinschrift. Most of its sizes were not cut in-house.
- Akzidenz-Grotesk schmalhalbfett [Reichardt A, Bertheau, Berthold 1958, Wetzig]. Originally sold as Halbfette Bücher-Grotesk. Produced before 1911 – perhaps as early as 1896, and perhaps by Bauer & Co. in Stuttgart.
- Akzidenz-Grotesk schmalmager 1953 [Reichardt A, Berthold 1958]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk breitfett, after 1915 [Kupferschmid, Reichardt A, Wetzig]. Haas acquired matrices of the Wagner & Schmidt punchcuttery’s Neue moderne Grotesk, which they had originally produced c.1914. Ludwig Wagner AG, the Leipzig typefoundry owned by Wagner & Schmidt’s co-founder, began selling type cast from those matrices as Edel-Grotesk in c.1915. The Stuttgart foundries C.E. Weber and Otto Weisert also bought matrices, selling the design under the names Aurora-Grotesk and Favorit-Grotesk, respectively.
- Akzidenz-Grotesk breithalbfett [Reichardt A, Wetzig]. See details for Haas’s breittfett style, above.
- Akzidenz-Grotesk breitmager [Reichardt A, Wetzig] (see above)
- Akzidenz-Grotesk fett [Reichardt A, Wetzig] (see above). F.A. Brockhaus printed a small brochure that included their Neue moderne magere Grotesk, Neue moderne halbfette Grotesk, and Neue moderne fette Grotesk typefaces. These have the same basis as the Haas Akzidenz-Grotesk types – their matrices came from Wagner & Schmidt. The cover of that F.A. Brockhaus brochure referred to these types as “Akzidenz-Grotesk,” but the pages showing the types do not have that term on them. [Brockhaus]
- Akzidenz-Grotesk halbfett [Reichardt A, Wetzig] (see above)
- Akzidenz-Grotesk mager [Reichardt A, Wetzig] (see above)
- Akzidenz-Grotesk schmalmager [Wetzig] (see above)
Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger’s Akzidenz-Groteske:
- Schmale Akzidenz-Groteske [Krebs 1907]. This is an independent condensed sans serif design that is not part of the Akzidenz-Grotesk families from Bauer, Berthold, or Haas/Ludwig & Mayer.
- [AfB] Deutscher Buchgewerbeverein (ed.): Archiv für Buchgewerbe, vol. 40, no. 1 (January 1903). Verein des Deutschen Buchgewerbevereins, Leipzig 1903, p. 19
- [Bauer] Konrad Friedrich Bauer: Werden und Wachsen einer deutschen Schriftgießerei. Zum 100jährigen Bestehen der Bauerschen Schriftgießerei. Bauer’sche Gießerei, Frankfurt am Main 1937
- [Bertheau] Philipp Bertheau (ed.): Buchdruckschriften im 20. Jahrhundert. Atlas zur Geschichte der Schrift, ausgewählt und kommentiert von Philipp Bertheau unter Mitarbeit von Eva Hanebutt-Benz und Hans Reichardt. Technische Hochschule Darmstadt 1995, p. 92
- [Berthold 1900] H. Berthold AG (ed.): H. Berthold, Messing-Linien-Fabrik, Schriftgiesserei A.G., Berlin S.W. H. Berthold AG, Berlin. Undated, circa 1900. This bound collection of type specimen sheets is rare. The copy I examined is in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Its call number is RLS Fp 2434
- [Berthold 1911] H. Berthold AG (ed.): Hauptprobe unserer Schriftgießerei- und Messing-Erzeugnisse. H. Berthold Aktien-Gesellschaft, Berlin SW. Fabriken in Berlin SW, Stuttgart, Wien, St. Petersburg und Moskau. H. Berthold AG, Berlin and Bauer & Co. Stuttgart. Undated, circa 1911
- [Berthold 1958] H. Berthold AG (ed.): 100 Jahre Berthold. Festschrift zum einhundertjährigen Jubiläum der H. Berthold Messinglinienfabrik und Schriftgießerei A.G. Berlin/Stuttgart, am 1. Juli 1958. H. Berthold AG, Berlin/Stuttgart 1958
- [Brockhaus] F.A. Brockhaus (ed.).: Schriftgießerei F.A. Brockhaus Leipzig. Romanische Mediäval, Akzidenz-Grotesk. F.A. Brockhaus, Leipzig. Undated, c.1921. Bound into a volume of Brockhaus specimen at the Berlin Kunstbibliothek, with the call number H 1176d.
- [JfB 1892] Ferdinand Schlotke (ed.): Journal für Buchdruckerkunst, Schriftgießerei und verwandte Fächer, vol. 59, no. 32 (18 August 1892). Verlag von Ferdinand Schlotke, Hamburg 1892, col. 803–804
- [JfB 1894] Ferdinand Schlotke (ed.): Journal für Buchdruckerkunst, Schriftgießerei und verwandte Fächer, vol. 61, no. 24 (21 June 1894). Verlag von Ferdinand Schlotke, Hamburg 1894, col. 549
- [Klinkhardt] Schriftgießerei Julius Klinkhardt (ed.): Der Schriftgießer. Mitteilungen und Neuheiten für das graphische Gewerbe, vol. 1, no. 2 and vol. 2, no. 5. Schriftgießerei Julius Klinkhardt, Leipzig 1906 and 1912, no page numbers.
- [Krebs 1880] Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger (ed.): Untitled folder filled with loose type specimen sheets. Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger, Frankfurt am Main. Undated, c.1880. Part of of the Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum’s collection. The folder has the call number Cna 37, .
- [Krebs 1889] Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger (ed.): Typographische Neuigkeiten der Schriftgiesserei Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger. No. 8 (May 1889). Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger, Frankfurt am Main 1889
- [Krebs 1907] Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger (ed.): Schrift-Proben. Benjamin Krebs Nachfolger, Frankfurt am Main 1907
- [Kupferschmid] Indra Kupferschmid: “A Comparison.” In Victor Malsy and Lars Müller (ed.): Helvetica forever. Story of a typeface. Lars Müller Publishers, Baden/Switzerland 2009/2011, p. 113–125, here p. 114–115. See also this video of hers from ATypI 2014
- [Ludwig & Mayer 1902] Ludwig & Mayer Schriftgießerei: »Nutzbringend im Gebrauch«, single-page advertisement. In: Julius Maser (ed.): Typographische Jahrbücher, vol. 23, no. 8. Technikum für Buchdrucker, Leipzig 1902. No page numbers.
- [Ludwig & Mayer 1934] Ludwig & Mayer (ed.): Neue Schriften und Ornamente. Ludwig & Mayer, Frankfurt am Main. Undated, c.1934. No page numbers.
- [Reichardt A] Hans Reichardt (ed.): Internationaler Index der Bleisatzschriften. On the website of the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. [Link to the A chapter]. No date of publication, last accessed on 8 Feburary 2019
- [Reichardt R] Hans Reichardt (ed.): Internationaler Index der Bleisatzschriften. On the website of the Klingspor Museum, Offenbach. [Link to the R chapter]. No date of publication, last accessed on 8 Feburary 2019
- [Rühl] C.F. Rühl (ed.): Neuer Akzidenz- und Kalender-Schmuck nach Entwürfen von Prof. H. Steiner-Prag. C.F. Rühl, Leipzig. Undated, c.1912
- [Stempel] D. Stempel AG (ed.): Die Hauptprobe der Schriftgießerei und Messinglinienfabrik D. Stempel Akt.-Ges. Frankfurt a. Main-Süd, Leipzig-R. und Budapest. D. Stempel AG, Frankfurt am Main. Undated, c.1925, p. 977
- [Wetzig] Emil Wetzig (ed.): Handbuch der Schriftarten. Albrecht Seemann Verlag, Leipzig 1926. [Link].
- [Woellmer] Wilhelm Woellmer’s Schriftgießerei (ed.): Muster-Sammlung. Wilhelm Woellmer’s Schriftgießerei, Berlin 1894, p. 122–123