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Deutsches Technikmuseum - November

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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 November 2015

Photo: Small and big letters are neatly arranged in individual boxes. On the board in the middle of the case you can read the word "end".

The letter case with mounting board from the company MKP, 1960s. © SDTB / Photo: C. Kirchner

"Der Filmtexter" - Letter Case with Mounting Board, 1960s

The medium of film gradually found its way into private German households by the 1920s. Shooting films became a popular hobby among people with high incomes. The most prevalent subjects being recorded were holiday memories and family events.

In this respect, things have not really changed since then. When making a film, creating the film title always presents a special challenge.

Numerous handbooks and magazines that invariably included instructions for making a "titler" device were published for amateur filmmakers. Ready-made and sometimes self-adhesive lettering was indeed available commercially, but these were primarily intended for professional film productions and were quite expensive. So it became a general practice among amateurs to make the texts themselves using Indian ink and templates.

At least as late as the 1950s, ciné film had become a mass phenomenon and many companies began producing title lettering for private use as well. Film titles could now be set up letter by letter, tacked or stuck on a board, and filmed.

Since most hobby filmmakers only had silent film equipment, the small letters were often used for making the intertitle cards. Much like the captions in a photo album or the text overlays from the early days of cinema, they were meant to serve explanatory purposes.