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Type foundry Rainer Gerstenberg

Started by John Cornelisse, June 09, 2023, 09:36:55 PM

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John Cornelisse

Sign the petition! And prevent the closing of the last type foundry in Europe !!!

This I found on the Dutch site Drukwerkindemarge:

this is the German site:

I hope this type foundry could go on for a long time!!! The museum directory would like to get rid of Gestenberg ... He has to move all his equipment ...

Dave Hughes

Thanks for posting this George. Here's a translation of the text that accompanies the petition:

QuoteDear Minister of State for Culture Ms. Roth,

Dear Minister Mrs. Dorn,

In Darmstadt, the last commercial type foundry in the world works in the House for Industrial Culture (HIK), a branch of the Hessian State Museum in Darmstadt. At the beginning of the year, the owner, Rainer Gerstenberg, announced that after 26 years at the HIK, he intends to reduce the operation of the type foundry for reasons of age. The museum management then instructed him to vacate the premises on December 31, 2023. Mr. Gerstenberg has offered to donate his workshop equipment with all machines, molds and other accessories and material to HLMD. He also offered to continue running the workshop on a voluntary basis and possibly train a successor. The management of the HLMD refused on the grounds that the area would be used for other purposes.

With this petition, the undersigned institutions and individuals are asking you, as politically responsible persons, to exercise your influence and work to preserve the Gerstenberg type foundry in the HIK or at another location. Without a professional type foundry like that of Rainer Gerstenberg, the operation of museum printers and the work of printing workshops and artists who practice manual type printing are at risk worldwide.

So help us, with the Gerstenberg type foundry, to preserve Gutenberg's legacy for future generations!


Printed text and image media have been part of the European culture and knowledge society for more than 500 years. In Germany, Johannes Gutenberg and Albrecht Dürer represent the beginnings of this innovation. In Germany and Europe, traditional artistic printing techniques are cultivated and developed above all by visual artists, and museums for printing technology and printing art teach them specifically to children, young people and students 1.)

Without a type foundry, these active manual typesetters and printers all over the world are on the brink of collapse in the medium term. The more than 500-year-old cultural asset of manual printing has been on the UNESCO list of intangible world cultural heritage since 2018. An intangible cultural asset can only be cared for and communicated in active museums and workshops. Just as the whale will not be able to live if the krill die out, the knowledge required to print letters will also disappear in a few years with the casting of type. Machines that are not used because nobody can handle them anymore will end up as exhibits in the foyers or on the scrap heap.

With the Mainz Impulse, the former director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Annette Ludwig, pointed out the impending loss of these important handicraft techniques in 2020 2.)

There it is explained in detail why the traditional techniques of book printing must be preserved and which concrete steps are necessary. But it's not just about the past. In many art colleges and design schools, manual setting is part of the curriculum for good reasons. It gives students access to the art of typography that computers cannot. Many young artists are discovering their interest in the old craft because they know that the digital world cannot survive without analogue roots. Therefore we demand the comprehensive protection of the historical technology of book printing from die cutting, typesetting and lead typesetting to press printing 3.)
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John Cornelisse

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