Lothar Meggendorfer and the Moveable Book

Lothar Meggendorfer and the Moveable Book

Lothar Meggendorfer was born in Munich, Germany in 1847 and by the time that he died in 1925, he had illustrated more than 100 books. Most of these were mechanical books for children, but Meggendorfer's humorous illustrations also appeared in conventional books and in the humor periodicals of Fliegende Blatter and the Munchener Bilderbogen. Certainly, mechanical books for children existed before those by Meggendorfer came upon the scene. Harlequinades, peepshows and Toilet books began appearing in the second half of the 18th century. The British publishing firm of Dean popularized mechanicals with simple mechanisms beginning in the 1850's. Dean continued, along with Tuck and Nister, (two other publishers of mechanical books for children) to produce many lovely moveables contemporaneous with Meggendorfer (whose German publishers were Braun & Schneider and Schreiber).

See what we currently have in stock by Meggendorfer.

What distinguished Lothar Meggendorfer's books and what has come to be regarded as his "genius" was his ability to create mechanical books with intricate and realistic movements that had both humor or grace. Most of his mechanicals are tab operated with as many as 6 hinged pieces moving simultaneously; some are slatted mechanisms whereby the upper illustration magically "dissolves" to reveal a new and related illustration. Some have revolving discs and one has a three dimensional head exposed through a hole in the pages. The most fabulous and elaborate books are his Internationaler Circus and Das Puppenhaus (The Doll's House). These ingenious pop out panoramas deceptively present themselves as simple book size objects when closed, only to become astonishing multi dimensional detailed fold out panoramas.

Because he was so successful in his own lifetime, the demand for his books was great. Many of Meggendorfer's books went into to several printings and were published in England, France, Italy, Spain, Russia and even a few in the United States. In addition, it was not uncommon to find the same mechanical illustration used in different books. Despite the large numbers of books produced, it is not easy to find collectible, working copies of Meggendorfer's books and they are amongst the most sought after by collectors. Although they were well made, as might be expected, little hands did their damage over the years. In his book Always Jolly, Meggendorfer himself inserted this caution to children:

With this book, my own dear child,
Are Various pictures gay,
Their limbs they move with gestures wild,
As with them you do play.
But still they are of paper made,
And therefore, I advise,
That care and caution should be paid,
Lest woe and grief arise;
Both you and pictures then would cry
To see what harm is done,
And sigh would follow after sigh
Because you've spoilt your fun.

Here is a list of Meggendorfer titles we have in stock or have sold in the past, listed alphabetically by title:

Affentheater
All Alive
Allerlei für Jung Und Alt
Always Jolly
Amusements De Nos Petits
Artistic Pussy and Her Studio
Aufgepasst! Ein Lustiges Ziehbilderbuch
Aus dem Leben
Bestraste Neugierde
Bewegliche Schattenbilder
Bilder aus dem Tierleben
Brave Hans und der Bose Peter
Bubenstreiche
Changements Amusants
Comic Actors
Curious Creatures
Doll’s House
Drehbilder ABC
Eigensinnige Schwein
Ein Korb von Allerei
Fidele Onkel
Frau Bas
From Far And Near
Für Brave Kinder
Gemischte Gesellschaft
Gilehrige Paperl Und Der Fluge Schip
Grand Cirque International
Grospapa’s Garten
Hans im Gluck
Hansel und Gretel
Ich Kann Schon Franzosisch
Im Sommer
Im Stadpark
Im Zirkus
Immer Lustig
Internationaler Circus
Joies Enfantines
Lebende Bilder
Lebende Thierbilder
Lebends Affentheater
Look at Me
Lustiges Automaten Theater
Lustiges Familienspiel
Lustiges Ziehbilder
Merry Company
Militarisches Ziehbilderbuch
Monkey Theatre
More Living Animals
Moving Animal Pictures
Moving Animal Series Volume I
Munchener Bilderbogen
Munchener Kasperl Theater
Nah und Fern
Neue Kinderlieder für Sings
Neue Lebende Bilder
Neue Thierbilder
Neuer Korb Voll Allerlei
Neues Struwwelpeterbuch
Neueskasperltheater
Nimm mich Mit
Princess Rose Des Bois
Prinzessin Rosengold
Puppenhaus
Reiseabenteuer Des Malers Daumenlang Und Seines Dieners Damian
Scenes & Tableaux Surprises
Scenes Of Animal Life
Sonnenschein
Tiny Tim, Prince Of Liliput
Travels Of Little Lord Thumb and His Man Damian
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