From Germany to Bolivia and Back: A Patented Stamping Hammer with Counter and Its Inventor
From Our Holdings
This stamping hammer with an automatic counter was invented by the Leipzig furrier Gustav Maletzki (1884–1947). The nails on the head of the hammer stamp a mark on the inside of an animal pelt. A joining rod transfers the force of every blow to a mechanical counter, which conveniently shows the number of furs stamped and delivered to the tannery.
Travels as a Journeyman
The stamping hammer was made around 1930 and is one of the patented inventions for which Maletzki earned several awards. Maletzki's father was also a furrier, and in 1895 he moved with his family from Sieradz, Poland, to Leipzig. For centuries the German city, famous for its fairs, had been the center of the international fur trade, and many Jews worked in the industry. Gustav Maletzki spent several years as an apprentice and journeyman in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, and New York.
Return to Leipzig
Maletzki returned to Leipzig as an apparel furrier and founded his own company around 1910. Thanks to his innovative fur finishing methods, his business became highly successful and exported fur products to many countries in Europe. Even after the Nazis took power, Maletzki continued to apply for invention and utility model patents related to fur processing.
Escape to Bolivia
In autumn 1938, the German government ordered all Polish Jews to be deported. Facing the threat of forced expulsion, the Maletzki family gave up their company and fled to Bolivia in October 1938. There, Gustav Maletzki continued to work as an apparel furrier until his death in 1947.