Friday, September 21, 2012

A Short History of Typewriters With Blackletter

While continuing on the theme of fraktur—or blackletter type in this case...
I cannot overlook the monospaced typewriter versions. Blackletter typewriters (otherwise referred to as frakturschrift in German), are difficult to find today, as they were made mostly for the German market up until 1941. German authorities outlawed the use of Blackletters at that time as they considered them to be "Jewish letters", and as I reported earlier this week, Blackletter virtually disappeared from print for nearly 50 years. Not until Disneyland adopted the use of a stylized Blackletter for their logotype in the mid-1950s, did it begin to see a reemergence. In the 1990s, Blackletter's revival was truly sparked when many styles began to be digitized, and their proliferation has continued to steadily increase ever since that time.
     The Blackletter keyboard layout above is from my Flickrfriend, Georg Sommeregger's beautiful 1933 Urania Piccola (I'm guessing an Italian typewriter?) You can also see a nice monospaced typewritten sample from it which he posted here

This keyboard example comes from the partially working 1903 German Remington No. 7 below. Proud owner, Olivander tells the happy story of its' revival over on Collapsing World. Despite the 30 year difference in age of these two typewriters, the differences in the two manufacturers' Blackletter fonts are quite subtle. 

This 1926 Senta 3-bank portable typewriter from Germany belongs to Adwoa at RetroTech Geneva. You can read more on the blackletter typewriters there and find some good links including this one for a free download of the F25 Blackletter Typewriter font 

A keyboard sample of the Blackletter on the Senta typewriter.


  1. Urania Piccola (meaning small) is an Italian-sounding name, but so are – and were – many products for the German market. Urania is the name of a German institution for adult education. The keyboard is obviously German; it shows the Umlaut –äöü – as well as the ligatures ch, ck and st, plus the ß and a long s which has to be used at the beginning of a word or syllable in Fraktur.

    1. Thank you for your insights erik. It makes more sense that it is made in Germany.

    2. First and foremost, Urania, in Greek mythology, is the muse of astronomy - hence the stars in the Urania logo. As a typewriter brand, it derived from the Austrian-made Albus, then the Perkeo, and was produced by Clemens Müller in Dresden, Germany.
      See Urania and her stars <a href=">here</a>.

  2. Well done! I really enjoyed the article you posted! From mow on I am totally conveniences that typing industry at the beginning of the 20th century has really contributed a lot in ">modern fonts industry.Thank you!


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