Arrenbrecht, Wilhelm. Der Schriftenmaler. Internationales Schriften-Vorlage-Werk. Cologne, ca. 1895. 
Once upon a time, merchants hoping to make a good impression on potential customers didn’t hire graphical user interface consultants, they hired top-flight sign painters. Elegant hand-painted lettering in a shop window announced to passers-by that the proprietor had class and sophistication. Based on an exceedingly rare portfolio of lettering samples we’ve acquired, Wilhelm Arrenbrecht seems to have been the go-to guy for tasteful mercantile announcements in the better windows of central Europe, circa 1890.
From simple prismatic font kits to baroque alphabetical fantasias, Der Schriftenmaler offered his clients (and presumably, clients of any sign painter who purchased the portfolio) an inspired range of lettering options.
40 of them to be exact. Here are a few of my favorites.
It’s worth noting that Arrenbrect clearly intended to address an international audience. The work is titled in German, but the plates are labeled in French. Furthermore, several of them supply lettering appropriate for specific languages, including Cyrillic and Hebraic characters.
If any of our readers are clever enough to repackage these plates as digital font kits, we imagine they could make a killing. I, for one, would love to see how “Recto|Verso” would look rendered in Arrenbrect Caractères Réclame.
Cult London-based graphic designer Arnoud Verhaeghe granted my wish.
FAB Item I.D. # 46260.