Jan Šetek and type foundry PangudiLuhur Part 3

Jurgen-Wegner-Post-PictureThis is Part III of this article. You might want to read part I and part II first.

Some time ago I had some e-mail contact with Brother J.(Johan) Muijtjens (webmaster) and Brother F.(Frans) Turkenbug, the archivist from Brothers FIC. First off; my sincere gratitude goes out to these two persons who’ve helped me in my investigation for the lost type foundry Pangudi Luhur. Especially Brother F. Turkenburg has been a great resource and has been a great help. All of the following data and images come directly from him.

Look! We’ve found it! Penuangan Huruf “Pangudi Luhur”!

Pangudi Luhur

We first have to set some things clear;

In the first e-mail I received from Brother F. Turkenburg he explained how the type foundry and the “Canisius drukkerij” are connected to each other.

It concerns two different companies. The printing business – as you already found out – started in 1922 in Yogyakarta, while the letter foundry started in 1962 in Muntilan. There is/was some connection between the two.

You mentioned br. Hoeberechts as founder of the printing business in 1922. Let’s say he was the initiator. He was not a brother, by the way, but the superior of the Jesuit priests in Java. The administration of the Jesuits had decided that it would be good if they could produce material for church services and schools. But the fathers were not printers. Those Jesuits were Dutch, and had an important location in Maastricht, and there they knew the Brothers of Maastricht (FIC) and they had something to do with printed matter.

In the beginning of 1922 br. Bellinus Katwinkel (FIC) came to Indonesia, and he started to set up the printing business. The fathers were the owners, Bellinus was employed by them but had the day-to-day management of the company. For fifty years, several FIC brothers would be in charge of the printing business.

In 1956 the idea came up with the then director – br. Baldewinus van Meltvoort – that there was a market in Indonesia for typesetting fonts. There were already a lot of small printing companies spread over Indonesia and they bought their letters from abroad. Earnings for the mission could be created and foreign exchange saved. He went with it to his boss – the Jesuit board – but they said they had no interest.

Six years later the FIC brothers took over the idea. The director of Canisius resigned and started a type foundry in Muntilan. The Canisius printing shop in Yogya is still there; the letter foundry in Muntilan is not. Due to the spread of offset printing, the need for lead type disappeared.

Pangudi Luhur – honorable striving – is connected with the work of the FIC brothers. When in 1921 they came to Indonesia, mainly to work in education, their schools also fell under the administration of the Jesuits After the war, however, they handed over the administration of the schools to the brothers. The new board took the name Yayasan Pangudi Luhur.

In the e-mails that followed Br. F. Turkenburg send me two summaries of the book called “Donum Desursum”. This book contains two parts and is written by Joachim van der Linden FIC in 1981. Part I ‘Mission in the Dutch East Indies’ deals with the years: 1920-1945, Part II ‘Under the red-white flag’ deals with the years: 1945-1980.

Summary 1 describes The Brothers of Maastricht in Indonesia. (page 17, part 1);

The first visitation of the mission work began in October 1921. From Maastricht the Superior General, br. Bertholdus, traveled with his socius, br. Alexius, and the new missionaries, the brothers Simeon and Bellinus, via Lourdes to Marseille, where they embarked on the Patria, to arrive on Java on 2 October. Bro. Simeon came to replace Lebuinus for the time being; Bellinus started setting up a printing company. That printing company was not a FIC company but of the Jesuites, so Bellinus would join them. For fifty years, a brother was to be made available by the congregation for this work, the now well-known Canisius printing and publishing company. Bellinus laid the foundation, simple and primitive yet; those who came after him were able to build up a good company there. Liturgical publications, prayer books, supplies for pharmacy administration, textbooks for the schools, everything would be done by “Canisius”.

Summary 2 also describes The Brothers of Maastricht in Indonesia (page 86-87, part2), but tells us more about out lost type foundry;

A completely different initiative now. Also succeeded, that they have been established in advance * It is the Muntilan Type foundry. The genesis dates back to the year 1956, when Baldewinus, leader of the Canisius printing and publishing company in Yogya, had the idea that there was a good market for printing material in Indonesia. So many printing companies did not have their own typesetting machines because they were too small for them. Should Canisius take the initiative to supply letters, then there would be money to be made for the mission.

He went with his idea to the administration of the Canisius Foundation, but after some time he heard from the Mission Commander of the Jesuits that Canisius did not accept it. “With which Baldewinus the case had not been dismissed, because as he entered the plan, he became more and more convinced that an affordable letter of good quality would be welcome.
Good type material that was on the market was imported and therefore expensive. His project would make superfluous imports unnecessary, save foreign exchange, create jobs, and therefore count on the support of government agencies. With all those considerations he now presented his plan to Superior Antherus. The mission board, thinking of the non-subsidized schools, the costs of building new buildings, the great financial dependency of the Netherlands, felt something for it, they even had so much confidence that 1959 they made a positive decision.

For the time being, one machine was purchased in Semarang, in the building next to the bruderan, that building that had done so much useful service: house, church, emergency bruderan, shop, orphanage, breeding school boarding school, later policlinic and auditorium also . Semarang was a temporary housing, extensions were planned in Muntilan, where the ruins of the earlier convicts still provided space. One of the first concerns was: compiling a policy, an assortment of letters that corresponded to the frequency with which every letter in the Indonesian spelling occurred. A whole group of brothers helped, because a large number of texts of many kinds had to be counted letter by letter. That policy became the first secret of the young company. While in Semarang Ambrosio, Linus and Assisius had their first experiences, Baldewinus went to Europe, a journey that resulted in help from the Aachen Foundation Misereor for the construction of a complete foundry; also resulted in the ordering of the required material.

The construction in Muntilan was – after initial resistance from Magelang – prosperous; the Monotype Cy. in London delivered on time, and at the end of 1963 production in Semarang was stopped, immediately taken over in Muntilan. On February 3, 1964, the bishop Mgr. Darmayawana blessed the new company. The question of its viability did not exist at that time: it had already become clear in Semarang that the PL-letter was well on the market, that the financial results were satisfying.

The hope, fostered by Brother Leonardo, that the Pangudi Luhur Foundation would be eligible as a social body for tax relief with regard to its foundry, which did not go into fulfillment: Leonardo had to comfort himself with the idea that he would a modest contribution could help to clean up. He could draw more comfort from the certainty that the foundry provided an existence to a number of families, with the salary being a social model.

*Note: above paragraph hasn’t been translated correctly. I will look into that as soon as possible. Coen 29-7-2018

However, the company had started in Muntilan in 1964, whereby Ambrosio, Octavius ​​and Constantio took on a solid task despite retirement, but further development (expantion) was desirable. Constantio played an important role in two ways;

In the first place, he drew up a method of use of the casting machine, which was not forseen by the Monotype Cy.. His process resulted in considerable time savings: what had to be assembled by hand before, now delivered the machine completely.

His second contribution consisted of the design of a laboratory where the composition, especially the antimony content, could be checked at any time from both incoming and outgoing material by titration. With this he gave the company an advantage over other suppliers.

The infamous coup of September 30, 1965 also had some influence on the course of affairs in Muntilan. Brother Octavius ​​would just return from his leave, accompanied by Brother Alfonso John, who would install the electrical installation in the foundry – potentially of interest to the entire Muntilian complex. The two travelers were surprised by the coup in Rome and were waiting for the developments there. It was not until 26 October that they were able to travel to Muntilan with peace of mind.

The year after that was also important for the foundry: on 1 July 1966 Linus left for a professional study in the Netherlands. He has made good use of his time in Amsterdam, London and Germany. When he returned in 1967, he knew his machines through and through, was able to disassemble and reassemble and knew how to be cared for with dedication.

Now the company had grown into a mature company, ten years after the concept. On that basis, a fairly flourishing whole has grown to date, with agents in the main centers and a regular clientele. It has been an important support for the mission

Note: Above texts have been translated from Dutch to English via Google Translate. I’ve altered the text a bit to make it more legible. Google finds it quite hard to translate from Dutch to English language. I’ll try and fix spelling errors as soon as possible. Coen 29-7-2018

Right, now we have that settled we can go and look at some pictures I’ve obtained from F. Turkenburg. One gallery is that of the Canisius Printing Company, the other one is that of Pangudi Luhur Type Foundry. (scroll through the gallery by clicking the little arrows)

Can 01

Picture 1 of 34

Huruf 01

Picture 1 of 17


As stated above, I’m not quite done with this story. Some things have to be translated better and I still want to take a look into the ’40-’45 era as stated in Part II of this article.

In the meantime, I want to thank J. Wegner, Brother F. Turkenburg, Brother J.Muijtjens for their help and support in this ‘investigation’.

Cheers, Coen.

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