Ludwig Goller

Portrait: Ludwig Goller
Ludwig Goller
© DIN-Archiv

Ludwig Goller

The father of German number plates

In Ludwig Goller, the German Standards Committee found one of its best employees, one who not only contributed his expertise to a collaborative effort while in the organization’s service but who also, through his extensive experience and thorough approach to problem solving, had a telling influence on a host of projects – to the great benefit of Germany’s standards bodies.

G. Kübler in an obituary for Ludwig Goller in DIN-Mitteillungen, 1964

After an apprenticeship as a precision mechanic and studies in engineering, the Hamburg native Ludwig Goller pursued a professional career in the service of Berlin’s municipal power utilities company the Berliner Elektrizitätswerke. After periods of employment for the German electrical equipment producer AEG and the optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss, Goller arrived at Siemens’ Berlin branch in 1920, where he was tasked with setting up a central standards office. He retained the position until his retirement in 1945.

Alongside his work for corporations, Goller was also active as member of several German industrial standards organizations. From 1916 onwards he served on a range of committees and working groups, including the German Standards Committee (Deutsches Institut für Normung or DIN) which he helped found in 1917. Goller made lasting contributions to the field of typography from 1925 onwards, when he served as the chairman of the DIN committee for technical drawing and signage standards. In this role he pushed forward the development of the DIN 1451 typeface for use on public signs. Goller’s Normschriften publication, issued in 1936, specified DIN 1451 as the typeface for signage on German roads and for house numbers. That same year, Siemen’s began using the typeface in its company logo.