E. Leitz Wetzlar. Collection of 44 Sales Catalogs for the Years 1927-1930
Wetzlar, Germany: Ernst Leitz, 1930. First edition. Hardcover. Quarto. Screw-bolted gilt metal handle bar over brown buckram boards with white lettering on cover, black lettering on metal spine.
This collection of Leitz catalogs represents a comprehensive overview of the instruments offered by the famous German lens manufacturer Leitz/Leica and its advertising practices during the late 1920s to 1930.
Our collection contains forty-four catalogs and leaflets, all but three attached to vellum paper rails. They are filed in nine categories with stiff light brown wrappers and printed descriptors on tabs throughout the folder: Mikro, Metallogr. (Metallography), Mineralog. (Mineralogy), Lupen (Magnifying lenses), Nebenapp., Apparate f. klin. Untersuchungen (Supporting devices for clinical research), Mikrotome (Cutting tool), Mikrophoto, and Projektion.
The catalogs are dated from 1927 to 1930 and many of the photographs contain identifying numbers. The majority of the catalogs measure 10 x 7 inches and are designed in black and white. The pagination varies from around twenty pages to four pages, and occasional one page flyers. Some are color productions with varying cover stock, seven of them in color and/or varying cover stock. The catalogs are photo-illustrated, often with a b/w photograph on cover, some of them beautifully designed in color, but mostly in b/w, containing photographs, technical drawings, introductory and promotional text, technical data and prices.
The designers of the eleven catalogs in the front section include J. F. Sichart, and W. Trautschold, all others without reference to designers. The catalog by J. F. Sichart is printed in color and includes striking color as well as b/w photographs. The Trautschold catalog features a manipulated photograph on the cover. Another of the catalogs in the front section with photo-illustrated covers on brown textured paper, inside with b/w illustrations but w/o reference to the designer. The same goes for a catalog for magnifying lenses, printed in three colors on heavy paper for the covers, inside photo-illustrated and without reference to the designer.
A beautifully designed (6 x 4 1/2") twofold leaflet in this section is adorned with a reproduction of a watercolor, depicting a typical 1920 dame in opera attire holding an opera glass, printed to the silver cover. Artist or designer are not credited. The back cover referencing "Januar 1930/ 10 000. Liste No. 2469. Röderdruck Leipzig." Some of the catalogs include photomontage as a design tool and most of them are profusely illustrated with technical drawings.
Two of the laid in catalogs at front show remnants of glue near spine and probably were glued to the two empty paper rails preceding the main section of the binder. The Sichart catalog appears to be just laid in. Text in German. Binding rubbed with light wear along edges. Occasional light wear to catalogs. Very good condition. Item #51178
Karl Kellner, a mechanic and self-taught mathematician, had invented an achromatic lens combination, the orthoscopic ocular in 1849. After his early death in 1855, his widow continued the business known as the Optical Institute (Optische Institut). The fine mechanic Ernst Leitz joined the company as an instrument maker for physical and chemical apparatus in 1864, soon became a part shareholder and took over the company in 1869 under his own name as the sole owner. After his death in 1920, his son Ernst Leitz II took over the company. In 1925 he presented the first Leica camera in Leipzig. The groundwork for the development of this camera at Leitz had been done by the inventor and photographer Oskar Barnack.