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Deutsches Technikmuseum - June

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:

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The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month June 2015

Photo: The picture is divided into two parts: Below is the printing template upside down, above you see properly the black and white motif of the tram car, drawn by two horses.

Cliché and image of the first Berlin horse-drawn tram. © SDTB/Photo: C. Kirchner

Trams made of lead and zinc, the 1920s

The printing templates displayed here, which are also called clichés, have the Berlin tramway as their motif. This year is the tramway’s 150th birthday; its development is closely tied to the history of Berlin.

In 1865 the first Berlin tram travelled from Kupfergraben at the Museum Island to the nearby city of Charlottenburg - at the time the tram was propelled by real horse power. The tramways connected Berlin to its many suburbs, which eventually became the districts of the city we know today.

The familiar greater Berlin of the present wasn’t fully formed until the 1920s whereby the tram had long established itself as the most important public means of transport. During National Socialism’s rule, Jews and other people persecuted by the "Third Reich" were forbidden to use public transport.

After WW II, it was only in East Berlin that trams retained their importance; in West Berlin automobiles predominated. In the meantime, however, the idea of new Berlin tram routes is being seriously considered.

By the way: The oldest preserved tram in Europe shown in the cliché above can be seen in our Transport Depot, which is open to visitors every Sunday in the month of September.

Photo: A collection of printing templates: Various trams, construction drawings and routings.

The Berlin tram: A popular motif for very different printing clichés. © SDTB/Photo: C. Kirchner

Printing clichés for letterpress printing

Our printing clichés were used for letterpress printing. For this purpose, the images and the letters were set in a common forme, which required that both have exactly the same level of pressure. For this reason the clichés are affixed to hardwood backing. When an image is enlarged, the irregularities and signs of use of each individual printing template become visible. This results in each one being identifiable, much like a fingerprint.

Some of the clichés displayed here belonged presumably to the Berlin City Tramway Operator’s company magazine, which was called "Die Strassenbahn" and was published until 1929.