Franckh cosmos

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Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG

legal form GmbH & Co. KG
founding 1822
Seat Stuttgart , Germany
management Michael Fleissner ( Managing Director )
Number of employees 137 (2011)
sales 60.5 million euros (2011)
Branch publishing company

Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG (formerly Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung, W. Keller & Co. ) is the name of a Stuttgart publisher that has made a name for itself with nature guides, advice, technology, children's and youth books and experiment kits Has. The company also operates as a games publisher . One of the best-known titles in the game program is The Settlers of Catan .



In 1822, today's Kosmos-Verlag was founded as Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung in Stuttgart. Initially oriented towards fiction , Kosmos developed into a successful publisher of advice, non-fiction and games in the 20th century.

On July 6, 1822, the wine tax collector Johann Friedrich Franckh (1795–1865) and his brother Friedrich Gottlob Franckh (1802–1845) received the concession to operate a bookstore and publishing house in Stuttgart. The booksellers in the capital of the Kingdom of Württemberg were outraged that the authorities allowed people outside the industry to run a bookshop . Soon Wilhelm Waiblinger and Eduard Mörike, together with the private tutor Wilhelm Hauff, were among the young Swabian authors who were unknown at the time and whose discovery and promotion the Franckh brothers devoted themselves to with great publishing passion. With the Kabinettsbibliothek series of classic novels , they also demonstrated both commercial and programmatic skills: novels by foreign authors that were known and loved in the mid-19th century were published by Franckh and sold at prices that were below the lending fees of the libraries.

1904 Society of Friends of Nature

The first two parts of "The life of the plant" (author RH Francé) from 1906

After the death of the brothers the publishing activities were suspended for a long time. Only when Euchar Nehmann sen. (1885–1948) and Hofrat Walther Keller took over the publishing house in 1893, innovations were added: Their first attempt at innovation - the washable book cover - was not yet successful. The second, however, the so-called belly band, is still an indispensable part of publishing today. Since the two friends wanted to remain innovative, they made use of the booming natural sciences and the interest of the population in it and founded the Kosmos-Gesellschaft der Naturfreunde in 1904 . Its members received the magazine Kosmos once every quarter, but soon afterwards , the aim of which was to make scientifically based information easily understandable for anyone interested. As part of the annual subscription, four “book supplements” were also supplied, which described a specific topic in more detail in the form of a pocket book of around 70 pages. By 1912, the number of members and thus the number of copies of the magazine rose to 100,000.

The authors in the magazine and in the books included the writer Wilhelm Bölsche , the biologist Raoul Heinrich Francé and the doctor Gerhard Venzmer .

In the course of time, the concept changed, the subscribers of the magazine automatically became members of the society and received numerous benefits such as discounts on the purchase of products from the Kosmos publishing house. As a result, book production soon began to flourish again, which now extended to scientific and natural history publications, and later also to children's and youth literature.

The magazine Kosmos was produced from 1904 to 1944 in the Heilbronn printing company Carl Rembold KG . In 1921, the production of the high-circulation magazine required an increase in its printing house. From the March 1999 issue, the magazine was then called natur + kosmos . It merged with the magazine natur founded by Horst Stern , got a new layout and the previous editor-in-chief Dr. Rainer Köthe was replaced by Gerd Pfitzenmaier . With the June 2012 issue, the magazine was renamed nature again . This ended the more than 100-year history of the oldest German nature magazine.

1918 Association of Mushroom Friends

From around 1914, the Stuttgart teacher Wilhelm Obermeyer (February 13, 1861 - July 24, 1920) called for a union of mushroom friends in a joint, Germany-wide organization. In 1918, with generous financial and non-material support from the Kosmos Society, he founded the Pilzfreunde eV association , of which he was chairman until his death. The Pilzfreunde club was on Pfizerstraße in Stuttgart, where Franckh-Kosmos-Verlag is still based today. As early as 1919, Obermeyer had established 32 local mushroom associations under the umbrella of his society, which comprised a total of 2026 members. In 1920 this VdP even had 40 local associations with 2,600 members.

After the sudden death of Wilhelm Obermeyer, his son became the managing director of the association, while Ludwig Klein from Karlsruhe took over the scientific management. This became - after committed mediation by Adalbert Ricken and organization by Georg Kropp - on August 25, 1921 in Nuremberg, today's German Society for Mycology (DGfM).

Development since 1945

After the bombing raids on Stuttgart in October 1943, much of the 40 years of work was destroyed. Nevertheless, the reconstruction was successful and the new beginning was celebrated in time for the anniversary year 1952. The second generation of publishers also published what interested the time in terms of science and technology. Rolf Keller and Euchar R. Neumann turned their hobbies into a program: In the 1950s and 1960s the range of titles was expanded to include the topics of railways , electronics and horses. The illustrated books and specialist books by the railway poet Karl-Ernst Maedel , who combined pictures by well-known photographers with knowledge-imparting and original texts, developed into legends in the railway scene.

In 1990 the company Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung, W. Keller & Co. , changed to Franckh-Kosmos Verlags GmbH & Co. The two magazines Lok-Magazin , published by Maedel, and Straßenbahn Magazin were sold to the Munich-based GeraMond Verlag in 1995 . The increasing competition in the magazine market led to cost-cutting measures, the quarterly book inserts of the magazine Kosmos with volume no. 300 were discontinued after 75 years, in 1999 the traditional magazine merged to natur + kosmos .

In February 2013 it was announced that Kosmos-Verlag had taken over United Soft Media (USM) as the main shareholder with retroactive effect from January 1, 2013. Former majority owner was Langen Müller Herbig nymphenburger terra magica .



Popular scientific authors such as Hanns Günther and scientists such as R. H. Francé have contributed to the success of the book program since the first third of the 20th century . Between 1906 and 1910 the eight-volume monumental work “The Life of the Plant” was published. Since 1909 the publisher has been issuing an easily understandable astronomical yearbook with the title “KOSMOS Sternbüchlein”, which was later renamed “Kosmos Himmelsjahr”.

As what is blooming there? First published in 1935, neither the publisher nor the authors suspected that they had created a standard work. To date, over three million copies have been sold. A whole program of popular nature guides has long linked to the success, the question What ... because there? became the trademark of Kosmos. Numerous books, especially on the subjects of gardens, animals and astronomy, followed. The first horse book appeared in 1961.

Children's books

Non-fiction books and entertainment for children and young people have been developed by the publisher since the beginning of the 20th century. In addition to youth versions of famous novels, well-known youth book classics such as Die Höhlenkinder by Alois Th. Sonnleitner appeared in the 1920s and are still in the program today. The successful US crime series The Three Question Marks was added to the program in 1968 and continues to this day.

Teaching aids and experiment kits

The model for the experiment kits in Germany were the kits from the teaching material department of the Franckh'sche Verlagbuchhandlung W. Keller & Co. with their KOSMOS Society for Friends of Nature. The teaching materials department was created in the early 1920s , and since then the Kosmos experiment kits have been developed. In 1922, the first experiment set on the subject of electrical engineering came onto the market. The boxes radio man , technician , all chemist , optician and electric man were coveted and popular with young people.

A whole series of KOSMOS experiment kits was created, which is still continued today. Examples are chemistry internship , astronomy - experiments on the trail of the planets , learning computer logic and cosmos CP1 . With these and other experiment kits, generations of young people have been introduced to scientific and engineering topics.

The success was so great that the publisher was soon able to sell the boxes worldwide, the idea and implementation were awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1937 . The program has been expanded for different age groups and now covers the entire spectrum from elementary school to high school. The All-Chemist experiment kit was initially designed in two stages as C 1 and C 2. In addition, small packages for individual experiments are constantly being developed, e.g. B. for growing crystals.

Board games

Exhibition stand of the publisher, Spiel 2008 in Essen

From 1985 the publisher began to establish itself in the field of board games. In the same year, the Sherlock Holmes Criminal Cabinet was named Game of the Year . Since then, Kosmos games have regularly appeared on the selection lists; A high point was marked by the successful The Settlers of Catan as Game of the Year 1995. While the games at Franckh-Kosmos-Verlag had only played a minor role until then, that changed fundamentally after the success of the Settlers of Catan . Reiner Müller, who was responsible for the program at the time as the game editor, played a key role in the success of the Kosmos games. From 1998 the game editing was outsourced and the program development was transferred to the company TM-Spiele (named after Klaus Teuber and Reiner Müller).

After a considerable expansion of the games program, some of the editorial tasks were taken over by the Stuttgart publishing house in the following years. There, Barbara Schmidt was initially responsible for the editorial work on most cosmos children's games, the Lord of the Rings - Title and simpler games like Ubongo responsible. There is now a multi-headed editorial team in Stuttgart.

Excellent titles (selection)


  • Helmut Braem: 150 years of Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung Stuttgart 1822-1972, Stuttgart 1972

Web links



Individual evidence

  1. a b Electronic Federal Gazette, June 5, 2013, annual financial statements as of December 31, 2011
  2. Tombstone in the forest cemetery in Stuttgart .
  3. ^ Curt Vinz, Günter Olzog (ed.): Documentation of German-language publishers. 8th edition, Olzog, Munich / Vienna 1983, p. 143.
  4. ^ Robert Bauer: Heilbronner Tagebuchblätter , Heilbronn 1949, p. 100.
  5. Karin Monday: Rickenella gackstatteriana. Der Tintling 91, edition 6/2014, pp. 79–98
  6. Börsenblatt für den deutschen Buchhandel dated May 16, 1990, p. 3952
  7. Kosmos Verlag takes over USM (PDF; 59 kB), press release of February 4, 2013
  8. Viola van Beek: "Let these things speak for yourself". Experiment kits, experimental instructions and stories between 1870 and 1930. NTM 17 (2009) 387–414, doi: 10.1007 / s00048-009-0356-z