This invoice by the Leipzig subsidiary of Everth & Co. GmbH, or Euco, a gas station operator and distributor of Monopolin (the brand name of a fuel enriched with potato-based ethanol), benzol, and other gasolines, was issued in 1929. It shows two faces cast by the Gebr.Klingspor foundry in Offenbach, home of the “artist’s typefaces”: Tiemann-Mediäval (1909–12) by Walter Tiemann, and Neuland (1923) by Rudolf Koch. Although the latter was presented as a “Werbeschrift” (and in engineering contexts) in the specimens, it is rather a rare bird in commercial printing. Tiemann-Mediäval, and especially its dainty italics, makes for a great contrasting complement. Neither is an obvious choice for the visual identity of a gasoline distributor, at least not to our contemporary eyes.
The punches for Neuland were manually cut by Rudolf Koch himself, without any previous design on paper, true to the Arts and Crafts ideal of immediate expression — “like in the old days, the inventor of the form and the maker of the punch united in one person” [specimen]. Each size is hence a little different, as one can see in the letter ‘H’ here. Walter Tracy points out that greater differences only occur in letters where the variation doesn’t matter much, which suggests that at least some of them are intentional.
The line for place and date features all three members of the Tiemann-Mediäval family, regular, halbfett and kursiv. The form design allowed for “Herrn” (gentleman) or “Firma” (company) — female customers were not yet envisioned.
Not only was Germany oscillating between Fraktur and Antiqua typography. Handwriting was complicated, too: People learned and used two fundamentally different scripts, “Lateinisch” (roundhand) and “Deutsch” AKA Kurrent (a cursive broken script). The writer of this invoice mixed both styles arbitrarily. The first line reads “Euco-Benzin”, with characteristic Kurrent forms for ‘B’, ‘e’, and ‘z’. The line below reads “Euco-Zechenbenzol”. Now the ‘e’ and the ‘z’ are clearly “lateinisch”, while the ‘ch’ shows “German” letterforms.