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"Bandwidth" - the diversity of the museum collection

A musical giveaway from the department store HERTIE

Sound foil "We are young


1963 │ Inventory no. 004066 SMW

Sound foils, also called "flexi discs," were common as promotional gifts or magazine inserts until the 1980s.

They had normal single format, but their vinyl film was so thin and flexible that grooves were pressed into only one side. On this copy, Hannelore Auer and Teddy Parker sang the praises of the enterprising, travel-loving and fashion-conscious youths with lots of "Yeah, Yeah!" in the chorus. At the end they made the department store HERTIE palatable to the teens and twens with a spoken advertising message as an inexpensive shopping source. Once the sound film was on the turntable, it certainly had a more intensive advertising effect than a newspaper ad that had been fleetingly skimmed over.

At the time, the two performers were not among the first generation of German pop singers, but they had already released several singles and appeared in several music films. Both continued to make a name for themselves until the early 2000s: Claus Herwig, alias Teddy Parker, as a folk music singer, and Hannelore Auer as Heino's wife, manager and presenting partner ("Heino and Hannelore").

The sound film with the title "Wir sind jung" ("We are young") was part of the "Jugend International" ("Youth International") sales show as an advertising medium, which was also referred to by the numerous national flags on the cover. In 1963, records, clothing and camping articles were presented in special areas for young customers in many HERTIE stores. In Wolfsburg, there was even a picture postcard showing the Hertie department store with a large "Jugend-International" banner on the facade. The new department store building had opened here in November 1960 and for many years provided big-city shopping flair in the Volkswagen city. The record department on the 2nd floor was an important contact point for music lovers.

The Hertie department store closed in the summer of 2003 and was largely demolished. Today, records are niche products and sound foils are almost completely forgotten. The specimen preserved in the Stadtmuseum impressively shows how much the media of music consumption and the forms of dissemination of advertising messages have changed.



To the home page Stadtmuseum

Four small, fine glasses depict scenes from a typical Italian ice cream parlor.

1950s │ Inventory no. 005047 SMW

The imprinted drawings are endearingly kitschy, yet also full of clichés.

One sees relaxed guests - the women blond, the men dark-haired - under colorful awnings and parasols. The dainty ice cream parlor furniture is unmistakable, with colorful sundaes on top and the classic wicker wine bottle for Chianti. Along for the ride are the waiter, as skilled as he is elegant, and a couple toasting each other in love: "Cin cin!"

No question - in these glasses, plain water became aqua minerale and simple fizz became fruity limonade. So perhaps the memory of an early Italian vacation should be refreshed or at least some ice cream café atmosphere should be brought home, preferably to the balcony or terrace.

The illustrator as well as the manufacturer of the glasses are unknown. But the motifs refer to the boom of Italian ice cream parlors in the 1950s. The German economic miracle had made the first vacation trips to the south possible: After Austria, Italy was the most popular destination. Back in the north, the longing for Italy could be satisfied with short breaks in the ice cream parlor: One enjoyed gelato or cappuccino - and the accent of the waiters.

In addition, the modern ice cream parlors, like the milk bars, became venues for a developing youth culture. Unlike pubs, ice cream parlors were accessible to young people - and yet were not as staid as traditional pastry cafés. In Wolfsburg, Silvio Olivier and his family established the first ice cream parlor in the Kaufhofpassage in 1953 - nine years before the first "guest workers" recruited in Italy came to the city to work at the Volkswagen factory.

High-quality, artisan ice cream is as popular today as ever. But some of the magic of ice cream cafés, as conveyed by the drawings on the glasses, has been lost: Ice cream cafés are now just one of countless facets of a globalized gastronomic offering.



To the home page Stadtmuseum

Copyright: Meike Felizitas Netzbandt

The International Summer Stage will be held for the 29th time this year. Although the stage and auditorium in the courtyard of Wolfsburg Castle are covered during the festival, an umbrella has already served well in local summers. In the discreet advertising imprint of this copy, the shining sun that forms the "O" of the "Sommerbühne" lettering catches the eye. But the actual logo of the event deserves a closer look.

1990s │ Inventory no. 008368 SMW.



Its creator was the graphic artist Gabriel Ryl, who came from Poland. He designed the logo in 1990/91 for the second edition of the festival, when it was called the International Summer Stage for the first time. The premiere had taken place in 1990 - initiated by Wolfsburg's then head of cultural affairs, Dr. Wolfgang Guthardt. At that time the title was "Grenzgänge - International Festival for Music, Theater, Voice and More". In the year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the overcoming of borders was the dominant theme and a fitting motto.

Gabriel Ryl had studied graphic design at the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts and had not long been working for the Wolfsburg advertising agency Cebra when his design prevailed with the cultural office. His summer stage logo shows all the elements that are important for the venue and the festival's offerings: The roof hood and gable are unmistakably from the castle, a mask stands for theater and cabaret, and a guitar symbolizes the music program. And is it possible to discover an ear in the body of the guitar?

With skilled craftsmanship, Ryl succeeded in giving the motif, which was executed as a drawing and not yet on the computer, the rough look of a woodcut. Companions from the early years of the summer stage remember that he was very proud to be able to support this new event highlight in Wolfsburg's cultural life with his design. Even when the Summer Stage advertising was transferred to a larger agency in 1993, Ryl's logo was retained for many years. And it is still used today by the Friends of the International Summer Stage. With financial support and unsurpassed catering, the volunteers have contributed to the success of the atmospheric summer festival at Wolfsburg Castle since 2000.

1980s │ Inventory no. 004466 SMW


Pocket calculators were the first devices to bring microelectronics into contact with broad sections of the population.


The TI-57 II model from the Texas Instruments company was used by Christian Sochacki in the early 1980s as a student at the Albert Schweitzer Gymnasium in Wolfsburg. More than ten years ago, Mr. Sochacki gave the device to the museum collection.

The Heiligendorfer recalls that the range of functions of this programmable scientific-technical calculator was actually far too large for his basic mathematics course. But the TI-30 school calculator he had used before had a keyboard malfunction: this "quirk" often led to unintentional repeated entries, such as "222" instead of "2." Texas Instruments then took the calculators back and credited the price when buying a new TI calculator.

Pocket calculators experienced a price decline since the early 1970s. Gradually, since that time, their use in school classes was allowed. The aforementioned TI-30 was the most widespread of the recommended models. It still had a rather clunky design, was powered by a 9-volt battery, and had a display of red
mini-LEDs with magnifying elements. In contrast, the museum piece TI-57 II came across as much more modern with its flat housing, power supply by two button cells and an energy-saving liquid crystal display. Interested students at the Albert-Schweitzer-Gymnasium also studied the programming functions in a computer workshop.

The inventor of the pocket calculator was Jack Kilby, a physicist employed by Texas Instruments. His prototype pocket calculator, presented in 1967, was still the size of an encyclopedia volume. But it promised an application that could be used in everyday life for the integrated circuit that Kilby had previously developed. This combination of transistors, resistors and capacitors was the precursor to the microchip, the functional unit without which PCs, smartphones, the Internet and many things we take for granted, such as cars, airplanes and televisions, would not exist in their current form.

Depicting the big world in miniature succeeds with numerous toys from the City Museum's collection. Like many of the animal figures in the special exhibition "Mechanical Animal World," which runs until mid-October 2019, the locomotive, carriages and rails belong to the great age of tin toys.

around 1930 │ Inventory no. 007901 SMW



This simple steam locomotive model, which was not based on a real locomotive, was part of a "starter set" from the Bing company. With locomotive, coal tender, two wagons, a track oval and a transformer, the model railroad game could begin. The transformer was used to regulate speed and direction of travel and, most importantly, to convert the voltage of the power grid to the 18 volts of the model railroad. Power was supplied to the locomotive by sliding contact over the center "power rail" of the three-rail tracks.

The little tin train rolls on 0 gauge (32 mm), which is about 1:45 scale. This makes it about twice as large as the H0 model railroad size that is most widely used today ("half-zero", 16 mm gauge, 1:87 scale).

The manufacturer of the locomotive and cars was Bing-Werke AG from Nuremberg. Initially, the brothers Adolf and Ignaz Bing had founded a pure trading company, but from 1879 onwards, the company produced tin toys itself. They developed the "Nuremberg style": industrial mass production by printing the sheet metal parts and joining them together using small tabs. The product range extended from steam engine models to dolls' toys, from electric trains of various gauges to narrow film projectors. At the beginning of the 20th century, Bing was considered the largest toy factory in the world, with over 4,000 employees. The Great Depression led to the end of toy production in 1932.

The tinplate trains of the 1920s and 1930s were not yet manufactured to the prototypical perfection possible today. But this is precisely what gives them their special charm. It almost doesn't matter that our museum pieces are no longer complete, because they have suffered a bit during play: The locomotive is missing the light bulb at the front and the original coupling, and the tender has even lost an axle...

A selection of brochures, leaflets and maps recalls the circumstances of traveling from the Federal Republic to the GDR and the opening of the inner-German border on November 9, 1989.

1965-1990 │ various inventory numbers



On October 24, 1989, Wolfsburg's German-German twinning with Halberstadt was finally sealed by the approval of the city council there. At that time, the cities belonged to two states with different social systems. They were separated by a sharply secured border, with which the GDR sealed itself off and which was almost impermeable in the east-west direction. Travel from the Federal Republic to the GDR was possible, but required bureaucratic effort.

The government of Lower Saxony, for example, published numerous publications providing information about the historical background of the border, the GDR's border security installations, border crossing points and vantage points. The appearance of these brochures changed, but even the cover pictures made it clear that the "seam of the systems" was no normal state border. For example, the cover of the booklet "Zonengrenze Niedersachsen" (Lower Saxony Zone Border) - it was published in 1965, four years after the Wall was built - shows an expressive barbed wire graphic. The 1984 booklet "Deutschland diesseits und jenseits der Grenze" (Germany on this and the other side of the border) has a color cover photo with border posts, fences and a watchtower, taken from an apparently "safe distance" through a telephoto lens.

Starting in 1973, the GDR allowed residents of cities and districts near the border in the Federal Republic to make day trips to their border areas. Wolfsburg and Halberstadt were also located in the regions where "small border traffic" - admittedly only from West to East - became possible. With the brochure "Reisen in die DDR" (Traveling to the GDR), which was published several times, the Federal Ministry for Inner-German Relations provided information on the necessary travel documents, customs regulations and the daily minimum exchange of DM 25.00 for 25.00 GDR marks, and gave tips on behavior and samples for filling out the entry forms. In addition, the ministry wanted to use an attractively designed series of brochures to encourage German citizens to make excursions in the area near the GDR border: Several leaflets referred to the eastern Harz region, and of course Halberstadt and its sights were also presented in detail.

The opening of the border on November 9, 1989, after the peaceful revolution in the GDR, immediately led to an enormous amount of travel in the East-West direction. As a service of the state government primarily for citizens of the GDR, road maps of the then still existing administrative districts of Lüneburg and Braunschweig were now published with the imprint "Gute Fahrt in Niedersachsen" ("Have a good trip in Lower Saxony"). Up until the beginning of 1990, they went through several updated editions in quick succession, because new border crossings were always being recorded. Today, brown "information boards" on important roads across the state border remind people of the overcoming of the division of Germany and Europe.

The luminaires of the idell series by Kaiser, designed by Christian Dell, are something like the VW Beetle among work luminaires: widely used and well-known standard models of high utility value produced for decades.

Table lamp Kaiser idell 6556
before 1945 │ inventory no. 003479 SMW
used in the office and workshop room of the former Wolfsburg local history museum in the Goethe school

Scissor wall lamp Kaiser idell 6614
around 1950 │ Inventory no. 006188 SMW
used in the former sugar factory Fallersleben


By Esther Orant, Forum Architecture of the City of Wolfsburg



In the 1920s, the demand for functional, series-produced design for everyday objects was not only represented by the Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919. Designs for inexpensive, utilitarian mass-produced products were also created at the Frankfurt Art School as part of the building activity for the so-called "New Frankfurt". Christian Dell - dubbed the "lighting architect" in contemporary advertisements - taught in the metal workshops at both schools before designing his famous idell lamps for the Kaiser company.

Christian Dell was born in Offenbach in 1893, the son of a master locksmith. From 1907 to 1911, he completed an apprenticeship as a silversmith in Hanau, and also attended the state drawing academy there. Before his military service in the First World War, he was briefly a journeyman at Henry van de Velde's Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar in 1912/13. In 1922, Walter Gropius brought the silversmith to the metal workshop of the Bauhaus in Weimar, which was founded in 1919. As a master craftsman, his main task was to provide technical instruction to the students. Form masters were initially Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, Johannes Itten and finally Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. Under the latter, there was an increased turn of the workshop towards industrial design.

When the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925, Dell initially remained in Weimar and worked at the successor institution there, the "Hochschule für Handwerk und Baukunst." In 1926, Dell took over as director of the metal workshop at the Frankfurt Art School. It was during this period that Christian Dell produced his first successfully produced lighting designs. In 1933 he was dismissed by the National Socialists.

From 1933/34 Dell worked as a designer for the lighting manufacturer Gebrüder Kaiser & Co. in Neheim-Hüsten. He developed the well-known Kaiser-idell lamps for the company. The designation "idell" is composed of the words "idea" and "Dell". Christian Dell had already integrated his last name into the product designations of his earlier designs ("Rondella"). The models of the idell series were produced until the 1980s. In his design work for the Kaiser company, Dell consistently implemented the requirements formulated by the Bauhaus and the "New Frankfurt": design reduced to functionality and inexpensive industrial production through a modular system that could be combined in many ways.

The certainly best known model of the series is the desk lamp "6556", which was developed in 1934, listed in the sales catalog for the first time in 1935 and produced until the 1950s. Characteristic of the idell lamps is the ball joint between the lamp arm and the reflector shade, which allows flexible alignment of the light cone. The special shape of the reflector shade also contributes to the great functional quality of idell luminaires: Due to the decentralized arrangement of the so-called dome, which accommodates the socket for the illuminant, the brightest point of the light cone is not centrally located under the shade, but offset to the front, and disturbing shadows, for example caused by the writing hand, are avoided. The lower edge of the shade, which is also asymmetrical, ensures that the bulb is shielded from the eye and thus prevents unwanted glare.

After the war, Dell worked as a self-employed jeweler and silversmith in Wiesbaden, where he died in 1974.

Rocking horses are popular ornamental and decorative motifs at Christmas time. They symbolize children's play and joy over the presents. This specimen was built in a workshop in Nordsteimke and in the course of its eventful toy life was given away twice for Christmas.

1920s │ inventory number 004446 SMW

and toy tractor
1940s │ Inventory number 004452 SMW



At the end of the 1920s, farmer and wheelwright Hermann Mahlmann made the present museum piece as a Christmas present for his son Gerhard. His younger brother Siegfried Mahlmann - known today for his involvement in the dance and costume group "De Steinbekers" and the Low German theater - remembers wild rides and worried parents. His brother actually fell head over heels once, whereupon his father built a brake on the skids. The rocking horse was only taken out of the attic on holidays. According to Siegfried Mahlmann, he himself rarely rocked on the horse. Because in the 1930s, the first tractors were purchased in the villages - and they were now much more interesting to him than horses, and a tractor model became much more appealing than a horse toy.

But the rocking horse had another big appearance: When refugees were quartered with the Mahlmanns after the Second World War, it was again given to a family as a Christmas present for their son. The two fathers refurbished the horse, which was already a bit worn, repaired a runner and gave it a new coat of paint: the original brown horse became today's apple gray.

Hermann Mahlmann, the wheelwright in whose workshop for wheels, carts and agricultural implements the rocking horse had once been made, had long since responded to the wishes of the boys from the village and devised a simple but attractive tractor model. Siegfried Mahlmann recalls that he once saw six or seven of them lined up on one of his father's work tables, all ordered as gifts for farmers' sons. Thus, the mechanization of agriculture is also reflected in the toys from a wood workshop in Nordsteimke.




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