Keeping our printing traditions in mind, two dates stand out in the calendar at the beginning of February. The birthdays of our printing forefathers, the most famous Kners – Izidor and his son Imre – are also celebrated at the beginning of the second month of the year. We invite our readers to take an imaginary journey through time to mark these special days, as we try to recall in a nutshell how the printing business, which started at the end of the 19th century, became a socially, economically and culturally dominant spirit, which led to the year 2022 being declared the Kner Memorial Year in Gyomaendrőd.
Izidor Kner’s printing house started as a one-man printing house in 1882, but in just a few decades, before World War I, it had a staff of 150 people. The key to their unbroken success was first church and administrative publications, and then, building on their solid economic foundation, the launch of artistic ball invitations and book production. As a pioneer of book design, Izidor Kner brought art back into mass production in the printing industry, creating an organised industry and a skilled workforce. The Kner name was synonymous with quality, and only flawless products were allowed to leave the presses, winning them many awards at home and abroad.
Imre carried on his father’s reputation. The younger Kner became a visionary figure in the printing industry who made the name of his family and his business known throughout Europe. As the manager of a printing house that was considered highly modern at the beginning of the last century, he built a new factory building and bought advanced printing machinery, but he also did his share of the creative work. By combining folk baroque and classist typography, he created a new Hungarian book art. In the 1920s he was already ranked among the best typographers.
Our largest domestic subsidiary, Gyomai Kner Printing House, with a 140 year history in the book and printing industry, is successfully standing its ground in the 21st century. Perhaps the essence of its operation is that its employees and management have always focused on professional and business growth. In recent years, we also reported on investments in machinery that helped to increase service capacity, raise quality standards and operate more efficiently. Of course, developments and attention paid off. Our colleagues in Gyoma have won the “Green Printing Company of the Year” award for the fourth year running, the MagyarBrands award for “Outstanding Business Brand” several times, and every year there is a winning work of art produced in Gyoma at the Beautiful Hungarian Book contest.
It was not by chance that the City-council of Gyomaendrőd chose 2022 as the Kner Memorial Year. On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the founding of Kner Printing House, the town is commemorating one of the most important families of the urbanising Gyoma with a diverse programme of events. But it is important not to forget the life and work of the other members of the family, alongside the most famous Kners. This will be promoted by lectures entitled Kner Café, which will take place throughout the year. In April, an academic conference is planned on the traditions of Jewish culture and the Kner’s cultural unifying activities. The series of events will include competitions, exhibitions, online games and sport events, as well as several guided walks to Kner memorial sites for young and old alike. In addition to the programmes, work has also started on the preparation of a plan for the renovation of the Kner Memorial Square. The Kner Printing House in Gyoma is, of course, a partner of the commemorative year.
The commemorative year started with Piroska Kner. Krisztián Nyáry talked about Piroska’s life and recipes with Lajos Party Nagy and dr. Ádám Erdész, retired director of the MNL Gyulai Archives, on 3 February in the Határ Győző Municipal Library in Gyomaendrőd. The book duo on which the theme is based was published last November and could only be produced in the Gyomai Kner Printing House. Piroska’s wonderful recipes are complemented by a companion book, in which the life of the great printing dynasty and the woman who lived 100 years ago is recalled through the “memoirs” of Lajos Party Nagy.
Let’s follow the events of 2022 in Gyoma and be part of the traditions of the past. For the latest first-hand updates, visit the Memorial Year’s Facebook page (in Hungarian). Have a pleasant time!
*The above quotation could have come from the founder of the printing house, Izidor Kner, or from his son, Imre Kner, who cultivated book art and book production on an international level, but this motto was created by the employees of Gyomai Kner Nyomda Zrt. 140 years after the company was founded.
Jeles napok – Február (hgyvk.hu)
Nem élte túl a vészkorszakot a magyar könyvművészetet új szintre emelő Kner Imre » Múlt-kor történelmi magazin » Hírek (mult-kor.hu)
Kner Izidor viaskodásai – Cultura.hu
Gyomai Kner Nyomda
Kner emlékév – Kezdőlap | Facebook