26 (of 30?) albumen photographs (all ca. 215 x 160 mm.), mounted on boards within frames printed in red, all images with printed titles on the boards (410 x 320 mm.). Numbered 501 to 530 but lacking (?) nos. 506, 507, 511, & 525, signed: “Photographie des H. Gruson’schen Ateliers.“ Oblong folio, orig. green leather portfolio, panelled in gilt with leather wreath, with metal crest in center of upper cover. Buckau, near Magdeburg: n.d. [but 1872-76].
From the collection of Otto von Bismarck, the German statesman and unifier of Germany. This deluxe portfolio of original photographs was presented by the Grusonwerk, a leading member of Germany’s defense industry, to Bismarck and comes from his personal collection. The splendid photographs depict the construction, transportation, and installation of enormous armored turrets at Fort Langlütjen II on the Weser Estuary in 1872-76, built to protect Bremen and Bremerhaven. These armored turrets were one of the specialties of the company.
Hermann Gruson (1821-95), started his firm in Buckau near Magdeburg in 1855 as a shipbuilder and iron foundry. The company’s technological improvements led to the manufacture of iron and steel suitable for machine parts and the construction of railways, as well as for armor and guns. Soon Grusonwerk became, along with the Krupp company, the greatest manufacturer of large weapons in the world. In 1893, Krupp bought the Gruson company.
Industrial photographs were a new kind of specialty, produced to show potential clients around the world products for sale. In 1872, the industrialist Gruson, by then Krupp’s biggest competitor, engaged Gustav Härtwig as the company’s official photographer. Härtwig set up a photographic studio and produced a series of photographs at the testing grounds, docks, foundries, and fortresses. Härtwig took part in the photographic exhibition at the Royal and Imperial Austrian Museum for Arts and Industry in 1875, submitting large-format views of the Gruson iron foundry and engineering factory. He was a co-founder and long-serving president of the association of independent photographers in Magdeburg.
In fine and fresh condition. Binding a little worn.
Item ID: 6926