Tour of the Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig

Engraving: Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig
The building of the Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig on a historical engraving, end of the 19th century
Deutsches Buch- und Schriftmuseum der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek Leipzig

Tour of the Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig

Groundbreaking production site of renowned German reference books

As we have just seen in the tour, the book in all in parts is manufactured on these very premises, where the white sheet of paper that goes in (...) emerges into the world as a bound work.

From the description of the Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig in Meyers Konversationslexikon, 5th Edition, Vol. 12 (1897)

In 1873/1874, modern new premises for the Bibliographisches Institut were built in Leipzig – a publishing house founded almost 50 years prior in Gotha by Joseph Meyer, which had in the intervening years published several reference classics such as Meyers Konversationslexikon. In 1890 the growing Leipzig operation was again expanded to include a print shop and bookbindery. The four-part building covered a total of 6,600 square metres at its location in the east of the city.   Around the turn of the century, over 600 employees worked in the four-storey building.

Due to the quantity of produced books, the speed of the printing presses and extensive automation, the capabilities of the Institut in Leipzig were highly impressive to contemporaries. By concentrating the various departments and work steps required to produce printed materials, the facility came to epitomise the pinnacle of industrialised mass production. The Institut employed relief, intaglio and planographic printing methods. Editorial, organisational and technical processes were conducted in parallel under the same roof. During World War II, the publishing building was almost entirely destroyed by bombing.