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The „armature in a circle“

Bosch Anker

The first researcher at Bosch

When Gottlob Honold joined Bosch in 1901, he was the company’s first researcher and developer – and played a big part in the young company’s success. Magneto ignition with spark plugs, electrical lighting for cars, and even tire-pressure warning devices were all products of Honold’s ideas factory. Little wonder then that he was already leading a team of five associates in the Technical Office by 1903. Up until his untimely death in 1923, he and his team nurtured all the key Bosch innovations for cars to the series production stage.

A special job

However, the task that Honold undertook in fall 1918 had nothing to do with cars. He was to work on a new symbol for the company, and Honold presented the first designs in November. It was actually a matter of some difficulty, as the old logo – the “red devil” – had fallen victim to the expropriation of Bosch assets in the United States after the first world war. Bosch was no longer permitted to use the “devil” everywhere.

A new alternative had to be found – something simple, but unmistakable. Honold did what seemed obvious, he sketched the core of the company’s best-selling product, the magneto ignition system – the iron “double-T armature.” However, he made his drawing as basic as possible, similar to a sectional drawing, with just a few lines and without any details such as the copper winding and the sleeve around the armature.

A timeless provisional measure

A contemporary graphic artist couldn’t have done it better, or come up with anything as timeless. After nearly 100 years, the armature in a circle is still the Bosch symbol – even though the new symbol was only supposed to be provisional.

The historic brush font

Bosch Pinselschrift

Bosch lettering using the brush font

The Bosch lettering was used as a brushstroke in 1921 for the first time, when the company introduced the new trademark "Anchor in a circle" and the new wordmark "ROBERT BOSCH" for the labeling of all products. In the "Bosch Zünder" this is justified as follows: "We felt compelled to move on to these new designations to ensure that our customers were assured of the fact that they actually received our genuine Stuttgart Bosch products, in contrast to inferior imitations produced by foreign factories that took these rights during the war to use our old names." (BZ 1922/6, p. 136)

The advertising department was given the task of making the new image and word mark known to the greatest possible extent, by using various advertising media such as advertisements, posters, letter supplements and the like. Advertisements in newspapers were launched from September 1921, the design of these ads came from the well-known poster artist Lucian Bernhard.

The advertisement shows "the word "Bosch" in a peculiarly sublime writing on the frame, which forms the text and pictogram markings" (BZ 1922/6, p. 137) - the new brush inscription was thus born into the world. In all major national and international specialist and daily newspapers the advertisement was placed millions of times in thirteen languages, in this way "the name Robert Bosch was brought back to mind everywhere". (BZ 1922/6, p. 137)

The actual birth of the Bosch brush lettering was a few years earlier. In 1913, the "Bosch light" (with alternator, battery, headlight and regulator) came onto the market, and Lucian Bernhard designed the corresponding advertising poster in the same year.

This "Bosch" lettering should, as stated in the "Bosch-Zünder" in 1922, "be the future of any Bosch advertising." (BZ 1922/6, p. 137)

In this way the "Bosch" brushstroke was used intensively in many different ways in the following years - as a header on Bosch sale stores and other buildings, on banners, as part of the worldwide service mark and on marketing material.

After 1950, the block letter writing which was always used at the same time came to the forefront and completely replaced the brushstroke by the middle of the 1950s.

(Compare standard N41 1950/1953, 1 042 010)


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