More information about Fleischmann

Johann Michael Fleischmann

Johann Michael Fleischmann was born June 15th, 1707 in Wöhrd near Nuremberg. After attending Latinschool he started an apprenticeship as punchcutter in the crafts enterprise of Konstantin Hartwig in Nuremberg, which ought to last six years. For his extraordinary talent Fleischmann completed his apprenticeship after four and a half years, which was very unusual. 1727 his years of travel (very common in these days) began, during which he perfected his handcraft by working in different enterprises as journeyman. First location was Frankfurt/ Main where he worked for nearly a year at the renowned type foundery of Luther and Egenolff. Passing Mainz he continued to Holland, where he arrived in November 1728 and stayed till he died in 1768.

In Amsterdam he worked for several type founderies, among others some weeks for Izaak van der Putte; in The Hague for Hermanus Uytwerf. Between 1729 and 1732 he created several exquisite alphabets for Uytwerf, which were published under his own name (after his emigration to Holland Fleischmann abandoned the second n in his name, apparently following the stream of the time).

After the two years with Uytwerf, Fleischmann returned to Amsterdam, where he established his own buiseness as punchcutter; following an advice of the bookkeeper and printer from Basel Rudolf Wetstein he opened his own type foundery 1732, which he sold in 1735 to Wetstein for financial reasons. In the following Fleischmann created several types and matrices exclusively for Wetstein.

1743 after the type foundery was sold by Wetstein´s son Hendrik Floris to the upcoming enterprise of Izaak and Johannes Enschedé, Fleischmann worked as independent punchcutter mostly for this house in Haarlem. Recognizing his exceptional skills soon Fleischmann was consigned to cutting the difficult small-sized font types. The corresponding titling alphabets were mostly done by Jaques-Francois Rosart, who also cut the main part of the ornaments and borders used in the font examples of Enschedé.

Ensched√©-Probe Fleischmann Gotisch Fleischmann created for Enschedé numerous fonts. The font example published 1768 by Enschedé contains 3 titling alphabets, 16 antiquacuts, 14 italic cuts, 13 textura- and 2 scriptcuts, 2 greek typesets (upper cases and ligatures), 1 arabic, 1 malayan and 7 armenian font systems, 5 sets of musicnotes and the poliphonian musicnotesystem by Fleischmann. In total he brought into being about 100 alphabets - the fruits of fourty years of creative work as a punchcutter.

Fleischmann died May 27th, 1768 at the age of 61. For a long time he was thought one of the leading punchcutters in Europe. A tragedy, that his creating fell into the turning of baroque to classicism. The following generations could not take much pleasure in his imaginative fonts, which were more connected to the sensuous baroque than to the bare rationalism of the upcoming industrialisation. Unfortunately therefore his masterpieces did not survive the 19th century and person and work of Fleischmann sank into oblivion.

The impressive re-interpretation of the Fleischmann Antiqua and the corresponding italics by Erhard Kaiser from Leipzig, which were done for the Dutch Type Library from 1993 to 1997, snatched Fleischmann away from being forgotten by history. Therefore we want to place strong emphasis on this beautiful font.

Fleischman Gotisch

The other fonts by Fleischmann are only known to a small circle of connoisseurs and enthusiasts. So far they are not available in adequat quality for modern systems. Same applies the "Fleischman Gotisch", which has been made available cross platform to modern typeset-systems as CFF OpenType font through the presented sample.

The Fleischman Gotisch has been proved to be one of the fonts, on which Fleischmann spent a good deal of his best effort; this font simply was near to his heart. Between 1744 and 1762 he created 13 different sizes of this font: from Groote Canon Duits (32 p Didot, 1748) to Non Plus Ultra, Gezegt: Robyn Duyts (4 p Didot, 1762). All follow the same principles of forms, but their richness of details has been adapted to the particular sizes. In later times the font was modified more or less sensitive by various type founderies; letters were added, changed to current taste or replaced by others; so that nowadays a unique and binding mastercopy of this font is missing.

Likewise the name of the font underwent several changes. Fleischmann himself probably never named his font, as he did with none of his fonts. By Enschedé this textura was named Nederduits, later on Nederduitsch. When the font was offered by the german type foundery Flinsch in Frankfurt/Main, the more convenient name of Fleischmann-Gotisch was chosen. In his "Masterbook of the font" and his "Abstract about the Et-character" Tschichold refered to it as "Duyts" again.

To honour the genious of Johann Michael Fleischmann we decided to name the writing "Fleischmann Gotisch" (unhyphenated).

Developing the digital Fleischman Gotisch I decided not to use one of the thirteen sizes as binding mastercopy, but corresponding to the typical ductus of the font to re-create an independent use of forms strongly based on Fleischmann´s language of forms. All ascenders and descenders were standardised. Some characters, identified as added later on, were eliminated (especially the round uppercase-R and several versions of longs- respectively f-ligatures) and others were adjusted to the principles of Fleischmann. Where indicated the diverse characters were integrated as alternative. They can be selected in the corresponding menu.

All for the correct german black letter necessary longs and other ligatures were generated. Through the according integration into the feature-code about 85% of all ligatures in the type can be generated automatically. Problematic combinations (Fl, Fk, Fh, ll, lh, lb, lk) were created as ligatures and are likewise constructed automatically.

A historically interesting letter is the "round r", which was already designated by Fleischmann; it is used after preceding round letters. Likewise interesting is the inventive form of the &- character, which is mentioned by Tschichold in his corresponding abstract.
Nevertheless despite all interpretation it was very important to me to maintain the utmost fidelity to the original. With this digital version of a phantastic texturfont of the late baroque I hope to contribute to a blossoming of interest for this genious master of his kind:

Johann Michael Fleischmann.