Over 150 years of publishing house Moritz Schäfer
More than 150 years ago, the basis for the publishing house Moritz Schäfer was created in Leipzig: on 12 April 1844, Carl Ernst Schäfer founded a bookseller's shop with the intention of later becoming a publisher, taking over the Heinsiusschen Buchhandlung, Gera, which had existed since 1794. Let's take a look back.
After a few years the first books were published, but then the 1848 events took place, during which Ernst Schäfer (1821-1878) went to America, where he built up the publishing house Schäfer & Koradi (Rudolph Koradi, 1824-1907) in Philadelphia (this company was managed for decades as a branch of the Leipzig House), while his 22-year-old brother Gustav Moritz Schäfer Both brothers Schäfer were qualified booksellers, and it was not unimportant for the later orientation of the publishing house that they came from a mill on their mother's side (the mill Hommel in Skassa near Großenhain, near Dresden).
Initially, the young company's publishing program did not have any recognisable focal points. Besides novels and classic editions – partly bilingual – well-written entertainment literature in newspaper format, teaching materials, atlases and much more. Ten years later, numerous heraldic and, above all, excellently equipped numismatic works were the first specialisation to be discovered, followed by a gradual transition from the 1960s onwards to specialist literature (books and journals).
In 1863, the plan to publish a mill magazine took shape, and the first issue of DIE MÜHLE left the printing house at the beginning of December. Responsible for the printing, make-up and correction of the new magazine was a young publishing house employee: Karl Wilhelm Kunis, who was then, after internal quarrels with the intended editor, already from February 1864 onward entrusted with the management of the magazine under the patronage of the editor and publisher Moritz Schäfer. (Details about the foundation and 125 further years of DIE MÜHLE are included in the anniversary issue no. 51/1988. From the beginning of January 1864, the company name of the publisher was finally changed to "Moritz Schäfer" and thus adapted to the realities.
The magazine DIE MÜHLE was to become Moritz Schäfer's favourite child and to make use of a large part of his activities within and outside the publishing house. In 1864, for example, he initiated regular Müller meetings and mergers, was co-founder of the Saxon Mill Association (and for a long time its treasurer) and a member of the founding committee for the Association of German Millers. In essays and at meetings he gave many suggestions and made practical proposals in the interest of milling, some of which were only implemented decades later. And within the magazine DIE MÜHLE, his colleague Wilhelm Kunis also took up a multitude of his ideas and wrote a plethora of specialist articles (as well as individual publications), some of which appeared under a whole series of different pseudonyms.
In addition to specialist literature for mills, numismatics, geography and – from the eighties onwards – electrical engineering, some specialist period steps for other areas (clockmakers, roofers and so on) were also developed in those years. the like) However, they were gradually discontinued if they did not achieve the expected success (and the necessary subsidy to MÜHLE for many years to come). These successes came in the 1990s and the new century, with several extensive series of books for technical study and self-study, large-format, richly illustrated works of up to 19 volumes, which came out in partial deliveries and thus became affordable for everyone. The requirements of these "schools" were passed into the tens of thousands, such as "The School of the Machine Technician", "The School of the Electrical Engineer", "The School of the Construction Technician" or "The School of Agriculture". And DIE MÜHLE also consolidated itself visibly until about 1910: It experienced a strong increase in circulation after the publishing house had separated from the Verband Deutscher Müller in 1904 and the magazine was able to pursue a consistent, forward-looking course as an impartial, independent and supraregional trade journal (Edition 1903:5700 free association subscribers + 2500 individual readers, 1913:10200 individual subscribers Unfortunately, however, the founder of the publishing house was no longer allowed to experience this development.
Moritz Schäfer died in 1888 at the age of 62. His widow Bertha Schäfer had the publishing house run in the spirit of the founder unchanged by Hornickel, who had been with the company for many years, and after his death in 1897 by the well-rehearsed triumvirate Wilhelm Kunis (head of the publishing house as well as editor and overall responsibility for MÜHLE), Otto Thierbach (advertising and sales) and Julius Thierbach (internal organisation). In the interests of preserving and continuing the business, these three long-standing employees since the 1960s and 1970s were then appointed by Bertha Schäfer as joint heirs of the publishing house; they converted the individual company into an OHG when Mrs. Schäfer had died in 1919, while retaining the name unchanged. This preservation of the corporate shell was possible because the establishment of the company was so far behind that the new Commercial Code, which only came into force on 1.1.1900, had no influence on the conversion.
In autumn 1927, Wilhelm Kunis (after 67 years of activity in total) left the publishing house in favour of his son Kurt Kunis, who had worked in the editorial office since 1892 and had taken over responsibility for press law in 1907; however, he died at the beginning of 1928 (Wilhelm Kunis survived until 1933), and Hans Kunis, born in 1899, who had been with the company since 1924, became the definitive successor in publishing and editorial office. Hans Kunis was to play a decisive role in the development of MÜHLE and the establishment of the publishing department for grain and mill literature over the next five decades. Julius Thierbach had also died in 1926 and succeeded Werner Thierbach as his successor. In the other Thierbach line, the generational change took place at the end of 1937, when Otto Thierbach was succeeded by his son Fritz Thierbach.
In those years between the two major wars, the publishing house's specialist standard works were published, DIE MÜHLE reached their final maximum after the economic crisis with 13,000 weekly copies, the book and book series "Fachbibliothek des Müllers" and "Fortschritte der Getreideforschung" were established and expanded, the monthly "Mühlenlaboratorium" for the testing of grain and grinding products was founded. Further publishing departments became the area "Flugmodellbau" – about 50 books and an extensive series of building plans appeared within a few years in some cases. very high editions - and later on a branch of Kunis & Thierbach's own cultural-historical and aesthetic publishing house, which, however, due to the war, did not go beyond a series of "Unknown Germany".
Finally, an infernal air raid on 3 December 1943, which together with a large part of Leipzig's inner city also destroyed the publishing building and all running and archive documents, put an end to publishing activities for the time being; only DIE MÜHLE, which had been merged with other trade journals by the Nazi authorities to form a "joint edition" under the title "Die Deutsche Müllerei", was able to escape from several alternative locations.
After the end of the war, the publishing business could only be maintained on a very small scale by selling books retrieved from alternative stores. A prospective publishing licence of the press officers of the American occupying power, who were visibly liberal in their attitude towards publishing houses with no political burden, was not taken into account because the city of Leipzig, along with much of Saxony, was ceded to the Soviet occupying power in exchange for the western parts of Berlin – and their publishing policies were fundamentally different; the emphasis was placed on state-owned or trade union-owned publishing houses, while the publishing policy was fundamentally different. Although it was possible to produce and distribute small brochures, calendars and other specialist printed matter for a period of time against each of the difficulties involved in obtaining permission for printing and paper approval, a general publishing licence was not granted despite repeated promises. That is why Hans Kunis, now nominally sole owner of the Moritz Schäfer publishing house, decided to relocate the company to West Germany. The relocation took place in several steps: First of all, son Jochen Kunis concluded take-over contracts with two West German mill trade journals in 1950 in order to initiate a market adjustment, and made sure of the support of a West German printing company, then he set up a provisional publishing and editorial office in Detmold with the participation of the printing company Hermann Bösmann GmbH, where the first West German In 1951, Hans Kunis and his family moved to Detmold, and the company was managed on a transitional basis in the form of a limited liability company (GmbH) to limit risks (with the partners Hans Kunis, the owners of Druckerei Bösmann[who retired after expiry of the contract] and the Leipzig-based banker and balance manufacturer Karl Lieberwirth, who was born as the husband of Johanna Lieberwirth. Thierbach and gave the company valuable organizational impulses) until in 1955 the "Moritz Schäfer" shell was finally taken over to Detmold.
Expansion and consolidation of MÜHLE as well as the production of specialist books, brochures and yearbooks were the main tasks of the first decades in Detmold. In 1956/57, a curiosity was the production of an official GDR edition of MÜHLE with one or two text change pages, each designed by the publishing house Die Wirtschaft in East Berlin, the circulation of which rose to about 2000 copies per week within a short period of time, until delivery had to be stopped due to problems in domestic German trade in the spring of 1957; the proceeds from the MÜHLE delivery, which were fixed on a blocked account, were paid in the form of compensation. In those years, some specialist books in DIN-B5 format were also printed by DIE MÜHLE as preprints before they appeared as bound or cartoned editions, and even the "Grain Yearbook" in the then unusual DIN-B6 format has begun like this.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the next generation changes took place at the publishing house. At the beginning of 1961 the responsibility for the 1952 by Ing. Wilhelm Weicker, Nuremberg, founded the monthly DAS WASSERTRIEBWERK on Dr. Hella M. Weicker. The commercial director Karl Lieberwirth (died on January 23,1966) left the publishing management at first, and the company was therefore managed in the legal form of a limited partnership with Mrs. Johanna Lieberwirth born in 1967. Thierbach as limited partner. Hans Kunis was dismissed from his life a decade later, at the age of 77 on 14 April 1976, after 52 years of publishing activity; personally liable partners were Kurt Klaus Kunis, who joined the MÜHLE editorial staff on 1 December 1962 after completing practical training and visiting the DMSB, and Jochen Kunis.
On the way to the eighties we find, as well as a revision of the "Standard-Methods for Grain, Flour and Bread", the basic editions of the "ICC-Standards" (English, French, German and a Russian edition) as well as several volumes of the series "Vademekum – Technical Values of Grain Processing and Feed Technology" published by K. H. Gerecke. Later on, some English-language publications in the field of animal feed technology will follow.
There have been important changes in the magazine sector. From January 1981 until then, the "Deutsche Müller-Zeitung DMZ", which appeared in Munich, was taken over and merged with MÜHLE, as the market had become too narrow for further coexistence. Since 1988 the supplement "Der Mühlstein", periodical for mill science and mill maintenance of the DGM in Minden, has been published. And finally, in 1991, the editorial responsibility for DAS WASSERTRIEBWERWERK was placed in younger hands by the competent specialist Dipl.-Ing. Anton Zeller, Ruhpolding.
Many authors, employees and freelancers, printers and suppliers have contributed to the success of this 150 years of successful publishing work. In the course of the publishing house's work, electronics has now made its way into the company's workflow, after the production area had been converted from lead typesetting to computer-assisted photo typesetting and offset printing years ago. In order to be able to take account of all new developments, the limited partnership was transformed into a limited partnership in the name of Moritz Schäfer at the beginning of 1994, without any change in ownership, into a GmbH & Co. KG.