Home » Product » Typographiae Imperii Accurata Tabula, Das ist der wahrhafft und concreten Abcontrefactur des Reiches Typographien neu entdeckte Landtabell sambt Provinzen, Staetten, und Orten sowie Fluessen und den Meeren

Typographiae Imperii Accurata Tabula, Das ist der wahrhafft und concreten Abcontrefactur des Reiches Typographien neu entdeckte Landtabell sambt Provinzen, Staetten, und Orten sowie Fluessen und den Meeren

  • Author: Albrecht Bauer (creator) - Hermann Hüffert (artist)
  • Publisher: Linotype GmbH
  • Date: 1967
  • Dimensions: Map: 62 x 44.5 cms / Sheet: 65 x 49 cms

Description:

A unusual imaginary map of the Empire of Typography (Printing), seemingly designed by German illustrator Hermann Hüffert in 1967

About this piece:

Typographiae Imperii Accurata Tabula, Das ist der wahrhafft und concreten Abcontrefactur des Reiches Typographien neu entdeckte Landtabell sambt Provinzen, Staetten, und Orten sowie Fluessen und den Meeren

[An accurate Map of the Empire of Typography, that is the real and definite depiction of the Kingdom of Typography, a newly discovered land chart together with Provinces, States and Locations as well as Rivers and Seas.]

[All IHREN Freundten / in herzlichen Verbundenheit / und zu Nutz & Frommen / dediciret von der / LINOTYPE / Anno Drupae MCMLXVII]

[Entdeckte von Albrecht Bauer. Gezeichnet von Hermann Hüffert]

Printed colour with integral fox marks and discolouration in the style an old chart. Fine condition.

A interesting and unusual map, seemingly designed and distributed as a promotional/marketing gift in 1967 for the suppliers & clients of the German Printing firm, Linotype GmbH. The text of the dedicatory cartouche at the bottom centre of the map, concludes with the words “dediciret von der Linotype”, which would certainly suggest this. It is interesting to note that the cartouche in the upper left is surmounted by a small inset diagram of Linotype matrix teeth.

The Linotype “line-casting” machine had been first invented by German émigré, Otto Mergenthaler [1854-1899] in New York in 1886. It created a revolution in the process of commercial typesetting and high volume printing through the manner in which, by means of a 90 character keyboard, an operator could input a line of text, (“line o’ type”) which could be arranged & set automatically in the form of matrices which were moulds of the input letter forms set into lines. These “matrices” were then able to be cast as a single piece of type metal (known as a “slug”) in a process known as “hot metal typesetting”. After this the matrices or slugs were ordered & prepared for the printing press. The process allowed a single operator to produce several pages of printed text very quickly, facilitating the rapid expansion and growth of the newspaper industry both in the US and around the World in the late 19th and early 20th Century. By World War One it is said that there were some 30,000 Linotype casting machines around the World. Forty years later, on the centennial of Mergenthaler’s birth in 1954, this number had more than trebled to some 100,000 machines.

Some commentators have assumed that the map may be a product of the German Print company Drupa, due to the reference in one of the cartouches, where the imprint date is given as Anno Drupae MCMLXVII (1967). However Drupa may also refer to the well-known Print Industry Fair held every four years in Düsseldorf. The word Drupa is also a hybrid word, an amalgam of “Druck” and “Papier”, meaning literally “print & paper”.

The Latin running title translates as: An accurate Map of the Empire of Typography. The German title in the upper left cartouche continues (roughly) : That is the real and definite depiction of the Kingdom of Typography, a newly discovered land chart together with Provinces, States and Locations as well as Rivers and Seas.

The map is particularly interesting as a rare and unusual example of the cartographic design work of German commercial artist and graphic illustrator, Hermann Hüffert [1904-1995], perhaps best known for his prolific output of small & amusing woodblock ex-libris bookplates.

The map itself is an encyclopaedic lexicon of typography, laid out in the form of an imaginary sea chart with an array of islands and larger landmasses each with features, settlements and landmarks denoted by different typographical terms and populated by locations whose names are directly associated with the world of printing.

Some of the terms are immediately recognizable, others are sadly lost in translation and in the colloquialisms of German typography. The majority of names relate to printing typefaces and fonts, such as Borgis, Baskerville, Cicero, Nonpareille, Garamond, Univers, Helvetica, Diamante, Perl, Brillantia, Tertia, Candida, Schwabacher and Bodoni. Colonel Sevenpoint, refers the 7 point size of the typeface. Mare Gothicum refers to the Gothic typeface, Mare Grotescum to the 19th Century Grotesque sans serif typeface. The amusing Zweibelifische Gründe (literally “Onion fish zones”) refers to the typographic term zweibelfisch meaning a misprint, usually a single letter within a body of text that has been set in the wrong font. In the land of Korpus we find the Eierkuchenbäckerey (literally Pancake Bakery), an Eierkuchen (pancake) apparently referring to a printing set that has disintegrated. Another amusing vignette depicts two little devils emerging from caves labelled Druckfehlerteufelhöhlen, literally “the caves of the typo-gremlins” ! In the Province of Cicero, one small open area is marked with short double strokes labelled GänserfüsschenAnger (literally “little goose feet Common”), “little goose feet” being better known in English as quotation marks ! Other hard-to-fathom references include : Negerzeitungs Druckerei and Brotschriften Bäckerey. The former (perhaps nowadays rather politically incorrect) term refers to the over-blacking or over-inking of a plate which resulted in an overly dark print, a so-called Negerzeitung. Brotschrift is literally the typesetter’s “daily bread” : the basic body type, ranging in size from 6 point to 12 point, used for setting the flow or set of text on the Linotype machine. Well-known body types include Baskerville, Excelsior and MinionIn the North of the chart is a reference to the inventor of printing, Johannes Gutenberg, and his eponymous mountain, der Gutenberg, height 1440 m, this of course being the purported date of Gutenberg’s first invention of the movable type press. Other similar landmarks include Point Didot, with its height 1764 m, a reference to the important French printer & typographer, Firmin Didot, born in 1764, who developed the Didot typeface. The Schriftgärtlein des Monsieur Plantin (the little writing garden of Monsieur Plantin) is a reference to the great 16th Century Flemish printer Christopher Plantin [1520-1589] and his Antwerp Press and the popular typeface with which he became so closely associated. There are innumerable printing references and typographical terms  throughout the map, too many to mention let alone to try to translate or interepret.

Perhaps one of the most amusing & ironic jokes is the empty land of Computerra Incognita in the lower left of the chart, this being an age in which the computer still remained completely unknown to the world of typography and printing.

Indeed it is worth reflecting that in 1967 the age of the linotype casting machine was rapidly drawing to a close, some eighty years after its first invention. This map is in some senses a memento of a era in printing history that was about to pass for ever. Linotype machines would be very soon replaced by offset lithography & the phototypesetting process. The New York Times newspaper would stop using Linotype machines just 11 years later, in the summer of 1978. And the world of typography and printing would be further revolutionized by the subsequent arrival & development of computer typesetting & online publishing by the end of the 20th Century.

The German artist and illustrator who originally drew this map was Hermann Hüffert [1904-1995]. Born in March 1904 in Schönbach near Marburg, as a young man he was apprenticed to a local lithographer. He subsequently studied evening classes in drawing before enrolling at the Munich Kunstakademie between 1924 & 1928, where he was taught by the likes of F H Emcke and Emil Pretorius. From 1928-30 he worked as an engraver in the studio of Paul J Landmann in Mannheim. From 1930 he became a commercial artist and graphic designer of product labels and packaging for the printers Illert & Ewald of Steinheim-am-Main. After military service during the Second World War, when he was taken prisoner by the Russians, he eventually returned to his former employers in Steinheim in the late 1940’s, and continued to work with them until the 1970’s. His best-known & most prolific works were small charming & often amusing woodblock ex-libris bookplates, which he usually signed Huffe or Huf. His work appeared regularly in German art magazines and graphics journals from the late 1920’s onwards, encompassing such publications as Das Zelt, Der Holzschnitt, Exlibriskunst and Gebrauchsgraphik. Several Catalogues and exhibitions of his woodblock engravings & bookplate work have been organized over the last forty years, one of the last taking place at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz in 1994, a year before his death.

Although the map is illustrated in one online blog, and an example of it is preserved in UCLA Berkeley Libraries, we have been unable to trace any other existing examples of this self-evidently quite rare German map of the imaginary land of typography, 1967.

Refs : UCLA Berkeley Libraries, Call No G9930 1967.L5; Ursula Ernestus : Hermann Huffert. En tysk grafiker og exlibriskunstler [Friedrikshavn, 1973]