Joan Michaël Fleischman

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Portrait of Joan Michael Fleischman with his punchcutting tools, engraved by Cornelis van Noorde in 1769

Joan Michaël Fleischman (1701 – 1768), was an 18th-century German-Dutch typographer and punchcutter. His most notable fonts was his complex music font, that was later used to decorate the edges of documents, including the first bank note of the Netherlands called the "roodborstje" or robin.


He was born in Nuremberg, but moved to Amsterdam, where he worked for Izaak van der Putte and Hermanus Uytwerff before opening his own type foundry in 1735. According to the RKD he was also an engraver and had travelled to France in 1727-1728.[1] Fleischman was unable to continue the type foundry on his own, and Rudolf Wetstein ran the business for him, while he continued to work for him as a punchcutter. After Rudolf died in 1742, his son Hendrik Joris Wetstein sold the company in 1743 to Izaak Enschedé of Haarlem. Fleischman continued to live in Amsterdam and made fonts for Enschedé as well as other Amsterdam businesses.

Music font[edit]

When Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf developed the first typeface for music in 1755, Enschedé wanted to improve on the idea, and hired Fleischman to create a more flexible and accurate system. Soon after, the first Haarlem songbook Haerlemsche Zangen was published with this font. Previous songbooks had had their music engraved on copper plates by musicians. The new font was designed to be used by publishers in the same way that typeface could be used to print words, but this idea was not successful, as the musicians who wrote the music needed training in order to use the font. An innovative musician who used the Enschedé-Fleischman font was Leopold Mozart for his Dutch edition of his Instructions to play the violin in 1766.[2] His son the wunderkind played the organ in the St. Bavochurch across the street from Enschedé's publishing company in the same year.

He died in Amsterdam.[1]


After his death, his complex music font was used to create all sorts of designs, not just typefaces. In 1992 a font was commissioned by the Digital Type Library and named after him: DTL Fleischmann.[3]


  1. ^ a b Joan Michaël Fleischman in the RKD
  2. ^ Grondig onderwijs in het behandelen der viool, reprint of 1766 publication by Leopold Mozart, A. Oosthoek's uitgeversmaatschappij, 1965
  3. ^ Fleischmann on the Digital Type Library