Page 46 of Alfred Ransmayer and Albert Rodrian TYPEN-FABRIK Berlin SO16 ©1928 (PDF LINK) from a fascimile copy made available by Ryk Van Dijk (and put together by Georg Sommeregger, Marlies Louwes, Rob Bowker, Richard Polt) makes it possible to match the typeface of a typewritten address to a particular language group …

Deutch (German)

Dänisch-Norwegisch (Danish-Norwegian)

Schwedisch (Swedish)

Esthnisch (Estonian-Finnish)

Lettisch (Latvian)

Littauisch (Lithuanian)

Polnisch (Polish)

Tschechisch (Czech)

Slowenisch (Slovenian)

Kroatisch (Serbo-Croatian)

Ungarisch (Hungarian)

Rumänisch (Romanian)

Italienisch (Italian)

Spanisch (Spanish)

Portuguisisch (Portuguese)

Französisch (French)

Schweiz-Französisch (Swiss-French)

Holländisch (Dutch)

Isländisch (Icelandic)

AccentsUmlautsLigatures

Since many of these language groups are inter-related, it’s not always possible to pin down the language group exactly. It all depends on the number of special characters (accents, umlauts, ligatures, etc.) present in the typewritten address.

A postmark, postage stamps, details of the sender, even the destination country of the addressee, can give us clues, of course, to the country of origin or domicile of the sender. But this may not necessarily have any bearing on the country of origin of the typewriter used to type an address.

It’s also possible that a custom-built typewriter might be fitted with umlauts, accents and ligatures that span more than one language group.

Given that most addresses only contain one or two special characters, often the best we can do is say that an address was in all likelihood typed using a typewriter from (or manufactured for) a particular country.

A few examples:

TypefaceDDRLuftpost

Deutch (German) or Esthnisch (Estonian-Finnish)?

TypefaceShakespeareMagyar

Ungarisch (Hungarian)

 CzechIceHockey70

Tschechisch (Czech)

TypefaceSkansenSweden

Schwedisch (Swedish)

TypefaceOsloKobenhavn

Dänisch-Norwegisch (Danish-Norwegian)

TypefacePolskaDruki70

 Polnisch (Polish)

TypefaceCartePostalRear70

TypefaceCartePostal70

Französisch (French)

~

It may take a while to collect a complete set. In the meantime, a few more favourites from my collection:

MadridTelecomunicacionFDC

Electric typewriter?

“PALMA DE MALLORCA” appears to be a stamped impression.

TypefaceCzeckLetecky70

A big fat Czech typeface to match the big fat bird on one of the stamps

TypefaceAustriaNewJersey

Hungarian keyboard, Austrian postage stamps, American address.

And I think to myself …

louis-armstrongtyping

… what a wonderful typosphere!

Advertisements