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- Date of production 1867–1918, Austro-Hungarian period
- Place of creation Poland
- Dimensions height: 32 cm, width: 30 cm
- ID no. 760/97
- Object copyright City Museum in Wadowice
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
The signboard promoted services and products offered by Leon Foltin, who was a car mechanic and an enthusiast of motorisation in the pre-war period in Wadowice. He descended from the famous family of printers who, for almost 100 years, formed the publishing and bookselling market in Wadowice. Three members of the Foltin family with the Franciszek name — grandfather, father and grandson — cherished the printing and publishing tradition in the town.more
The signboard promoted services and products offered by Leon Foltin, who was a car mechanic and an enthusiast of motorisation in the pre-war period in Wadowice. He descended from the famous family of printers who, for almost 100 years, formed the publishing and bookselling market in Wadowice. Three members of the Foltin family with the Franciszek name — grandfather, father and grandson — cherished the printing and publishing tradition in the town. Their activity extended through the years 1876–1942. Leon was the youngest brother of the last Franciszek Foltin, a bookseller. When Franciszek and Jan, the two elder brothers, were called up to the Austrian army in 1914, it was Leon who helped his mother run the company.
The advertising signboard is composed of a wooden lacquered brown board with a size of 30 cm x 32 cm and with types made of lead, lacquered with a gold colour. The signboard belonged to Leon Foltin from Wadowice. On the board with a support there are grooves engraved to which a single type is inserted; in this way an inscription is arranged. Types consist of a letter-shaped face, a body on which a letter is set and a cylinder-shaped nick. They occur in the form of small and capital signs.
The construction of the letters resembles types. The signboard could stand or hang and had a special fixing and a support. The discolouration after the types caused by sunshine is distinct on the board. The exhibit is well-preserved.
The letters are arranged in a cardboard box. Both the signboard and the box are provided with the ABC Betterway trademark. The inscription “Leon Foltin recommends bicycle, motorcycle and car articles, paints and lacquers” was composed on the board.
The 20th century is presumably the time when it was made. The collection of letters is not complete and arranging a full inscription on the board is impossible. The places on the board where the letters are missing are darker, which makes it easier to reconstruct the inscription. The exhibit can be seen at the “Wadowice of Karol Wojtyła” exhibition. It was bought for the collection from an antique shop.
The exhibited signboard expands the information and exhibits connected to the history of the Foltin family. Its structure and letters, which resemble printing types, bring to mind Gutenberg’s invention which revolutionised the history of book. The Foltins’ activity made a significant contribution to the history of the town. Next to the market square in Wadowice still sits the ancestral house of the family, whose descendants are still alive to this day.
At the “Wadowice of Karol Wojtyła” exhibition, Leon Foltin is mentioned several times. He can be seen on a motorcycle with his wife and on a puzzle done by children. The photographs were exposed at the exhibition thanks to his wife, who died recently. He is mentioned mainly due to his passion for motorisation which he cherished while running a shop and a mechanical workshop. He was a characteristic forerunner of this field in the pre-war period in Wadowice. The signboard can also give rise to considerations on the history of advertising. It contains information that in past shops craftsmanship and industrial activity were associated with specific persons, not with brands.
In the interwar period Leon Foltin also performed the function of combat vehicle driver and a fire equipment mechanic in the Voluntary Fire Brigade (OSP) in Wadowice. Moreover, the whole Foltin family strongly supported the activity of the OSP and even founded a water cart and several draught-horses.
The signboard is signed with the ABC Betterway mark. It can be assumed that the Betterway company could have been connected with motorisation and in this way Leon Foltin became the owner of the signboard. It is interesting that the Foltin family printing-house, despite limited financial resources, undertook printing of more considerable works, e.g., The Constitution of the Athenians came out in 1894. It was the first Polish translation of Aristotle’s work.
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