Major printing museum and workshops, Leipzig, Germany, holding large quantities of metal and wood type, along with working typefounding equipment and printing presses.
The Werkstätten und Museum für Druckkunst (translation: Workshops and Museum of the Printing Arts) is a major museum of printing in Leipzig, one of Germany’s traditional centers of printing and publishing.
The museum, in the suburb of Plagwitz, holds large quantities of metal and wood type for hand composition, punches for making matrices, type matrices for manual and mechanical composition (Monotype, Linotype machines, etc.), and many old printing presses: hand-presses, platen presses and cylinder presses.
The building which houses the museum, was formerly of the book printing house Offizin Haag-Drugulin. Its origins go back to 1829, when Friedrich Nies from Offenbach started the business, soon becoming known for the work in Arabic and Chinese language printing. A typefoundry was started to create the typefaces for these languages.
In the later 19th century, now known as Drugulin, the company diversified into other Asian and African languages, while maintaining its quality. The reputation grew. In the early decades of the 20th century, Drugilin printed first editions for prestigious German publishers, and under its own “Drugulin” imprint: Franz Kafka and Heinrich Mann are among the classic first editions printed here.
Under the difficult economic conditions after the First World War, with the market for deluxe editions almost non-existent, Drugulin merged with Haag of Melle, and was known as Haag-Drugulin from 1928.
Its fabric and assets severely damaged by bombing, after the Second World War the company became part of the nationalized East German printing industry. It remained a printing house, although by the 1980s its equipment was seriously out of date.
At unification in 1990 there were serious worries that the institution might not be saved, but instead sold off piecemeal and for scrap. Fortunately a group of fifty publishers appealed for it to be sold separately. The buyer, in 1992, was Eckehart SchumacherGebler of Munich, a “master compositor and printer and a real hunter-gatherer” according the museum’s website.
Since then, passing its public opening in 1995, the institution has become a world-renowned museum which even now still prints the occasional fine edition for major German publishers.
The international typography organization, ATypI, held its year 2000 conference in the museum.
Address: Nonnenstraße 38, 04229 Leipzig
Phone +49 - 3 41 - 4 90 49-0
Fax +49 - 3 41 - 4 90 49-49
e-mail: [email protected]