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Deutsches Technikmuseum - January

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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 January 2019

Photo: An eagle is mounted on a rectangular base plate. The outstretched wings tapering out to a point underscore the minimalist nature of the design’s basic shape. The base plate and the eagle are nickel-plated.

Timeless modern design: the Gropius eagle from 1932 © SDTB / Photo: Clemens Kirchner

Desk model of a Gropius Adler, around 1932

This desk model, which was produced by the Berlin based sign manufacturer Lücker, was used as a promotional gift by the Frankfurt Adler-Werke, which at the time was a leading manufacturer of office machines, bicycles and automobiles.

The form matches the – at that time – modern looking company logo, which was introduced in 1932 and designed by the architect Walter Gropius.

The Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius

Gropius, who in 1919 founded the Bauhaus art school in Weimar, stood for rational functionality in architecture and in the design of everyday objects. The new logo broke with the prevailing tradition in the company’s emblem design and was marked by a simplified, linear shape. Even a hundred years after Bauhaus’ founding, these form elements still play a significant role in modern design.

As of 1929 Gropius also designed car bodies for Adler but their basic shapes did not diverge much from the conventional automobiles of the time. Sales of his models, however, were extremely modest during the world economic crisis: only two saloons and 20 cabriolets were built. 

Links: Das Logo zeigt in einem Dreieck einen Adler mit ausgebreiteten Schwingen auf einem Steuerrad. Seitlich befinden sich zwei kleine Blitze. Rechts: Das Logo zeigt einen stilisierten Adler. Der Kopf blickt nach rechts, die Schwingen sind ausgebreitet.

Left: Adler-Werke’s company logo in 1918-1932. Right: Company logo in 1932-1958. The modern logo designed by Gropius served in a slightly modified form as Adler´s brand emblem until 1958. © SDTB / Historisches Archiv

The Gropius Eagle - Trademark until 1958

The Gropius eagle remained Adler’s trade mark during the "Third Reich" even though its exponents were persecuted as "Jewish" and "Bolshevist". The design fit in with National Socialism’s in parts quite modern aesthetic and symbolism, as evidenced by the NSDAP’s eagle emblem that in the guise of the Reichsadler (Imperial eagle) became Germany’s official coat of arms in 1935.

Adler continued to use the logo for motorcycles and office machines after the war – the company had stopped producing cars altogether. The Gropius eagle disappeared from the marketplace in 1958 after the majority shareholder Grundig initiated the fusion of Adler-Werke and Triumph-Werke.