Boehringer Ingelheim Logo
16 August 2017
Jacqueline Berlin
1

The logo and the imperial palace

It is extremely important that business partners and customers recognize a company’s logo. So, it comes as no surprise that a great deal of thought goes into modifying or even just updating a logo. Over its more than 127-year history, Boehringer Ingelheim has used a total of only four different word marks – therewere also a few minor variations, but they were not distinct logos, consequently will not be included in our survey. A guest feature by Dr. Michael Siebler.

The first proprietary trade mark was registered by the company founder, Albert Boehringer (1861 – 1939), on September 1, 1893. The oval logo depicts a monogram of the letters CHBS in its center, surrounded by the company name C. H. Boehringer Sohn (Christoph Heinrich Boehringer son = Albert Boehringer). The company founded as “Albert Boehringer, Chemical Factory” in 1885 had operated under the name of C.H. Boehringer Sohn since January 1, 1893. The young company owner wanted this logo to serve as a direct connection to his family’s successful enterprise in Mannheim, C. F. Boehringer & Sons.

 

The economic ascent of CHBS effectively began with the production of lactic acid on an industrial scale in 1895. Albert Boehringer had nothing to fear from competitors in this area, certainly not those in Mannheim. We will never know for certain whether this success contributed to the new company logo – almost as a kind of emancipation from earlier familial connections to the paternal company – or whether beginning alkaloid production on an appreciable scale was the impetus for the change.

 

The new logo featured an idealized sketch of the imperial palace in Ingelheim, clearly identified by name. This logo was widely known and used until the middle of the 1920s. “C.H.B.S.” or more frequently “C.H.B.S. Ingelheim” were prominently displayed in the circle around the logo. Albert Boehringer chose to represent the imperial palace in the new logo with what may be Ingelheim’s most famous calling card.

 

The use of the imperial palace as historically charged image for the logo makes immediate sense and provided reason enough to select this motif. But there could also be another factor in Albert Boehringer’s decision. Modern archaeological study of the site began precisely during the years that, according to our sources, are relevant for the introduction of the imperial palace logo.

 

In 1909, art historian and honorary citizen of Ingelheim, Christian Rauch (1877 – 1976) began excavating the palace site, although work halted with the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Even though the excavation work totaled only seven months over those years, Rauch was still able to form “an unexpectedly clear picture of the basic construction of the Carolingian palace,” as it would later be called.

 

It is not a great leap to think that Albert Boehringer was aware of these archaeological investigations practically at the gates of his company. Indeed, he probably took an interest in it. After all, he had been one of the founding members of the Historical Society of Ingelheim in 1905. It’s also conceivable that he visited the excavation site from time to time.Christian Rauch may very well have volunteered as guide and interpreter of the findings or was perhaps invited to report on them at the founder’s mansion, the home of the Albert Boehringer family. It’s quite possible that the remains of the once monumental medieval architecture beneath Ingelheim served as inspiration for the company’s new logo.

 

While a connection between the first imperial palace logo and the archaeological research around the palace has not been verified with certainty, there can be no doubt in this regard with the next logo. The connection between Rauch’s research and the 1924 logo is indisputable. The fanciful sketch of the imperial palace has now been replaced by the graphic depiction of a tower-like building with pointed roof, flanked by two architectural structures.

 

This company logo with the shorthand symbol of the Ingelheim landmark was used until 1997. It was then replaced by a variation that is still in use today. Viewed in this light, the Boehringer Ingelheim logo preserves the memory of an important architectural feature from the imperial palace’s first major heyday, even if it is no longer visible today.

"Boehringer Ingelheim logo preserves the memory of an important architectural feature of Ingelheim. "
Jacqueline Berlin

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