| |

Deutsches Technikmuseum - February

Site Navigation Menus

website overview

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


The donation contains six locations:

Exhibit of the Month February 2018

Photo: The two books are opened up and show a locomotive on the turntable in front of a locomotive shed and a car race in front of a crowded grandstand. The sophisticated folding of the paperboard is the basis for the three-dimensional figures.

The three-dimensional inner workings of the books "Hallo! Meine Eisenbahn!" (Hello! My train!) and "Frohe Fahrt!" (Fun Trip!)© SDTB, Bibliothek / photo: C. Kirchner

Two pop-up books, 1938 and 1939

Book illustrations do not necessarily have to depict only a two-dimensional world. Publications with moving elements have been around since the invention of letterpress printing - and even before that.

These were mostly textbooks on astronomy or anatomy in which several overlapping sheets of paper would be folded back or flipped open by means of thread connectors. Sophisticated printing techniques allowed publishers to develop a wide variety of books that were spatially effective and had movable parts.

A special example of this is the pop-up book, which first appeared in England and America but was produced in Germany quickly thereafter. In these books a three-dimensional image was achieved as a page was opened by means of a clever folding of the paperboard. They were primarily designed with children in mind, which accounts for the fact that most of these small artworks consist of fairy tales or animal stories.

Illustration: Colour illustrated book cover from the pop-up book "Frohe Fahrt!" (Fun Trip!) from 1938. Four passenger cars drive on the Reichsautobahn, which leads through a green hilly landscape, and many people wave from a pedestrian overpass.

Mary Leuschner: "Frohe Fahrt!" (Fun Trip!) J. F. Schreiber Graphische Kunstanstalt. Esslingen. 1938. © SDTB, Bibliothek / photo: C. Kirchner

Trains and autos as subject matter

The two books displayed here were published in 1938 and 1939 and have trains and autos as their subject matter. They were released by the J. F. Schreiber Graphische Kunstanstalt (Graphic Arts Firm) in Esslingen, which from 1937 to 1953 had numerous titles under the label "Schreibers Stehauf-Bilderbücher" (pop-up books) in its program.

Many of these books went through multiple printings including Italian, Spanish and English editions that were either produced in-house or under license.

However, during the national socialist era the publishing house used the pop-up technique also for books like "Deutsche Soldaten" (German soldiers, 1938) that glorified military technology and thereby supported the nazi ideology.

There was revived interest in these books in the 1970s whereby the English name "pop-up books" was adopted in many countries including Germany. To this day the appeal of three-dimensional books appears to be unabated as evidenced by the numerous new publications.