Thursday, August 21, 2014


Whenever I read about innovations I immediately think about South Korea, Singapore, or even the US but never consider Germany. My country may be good in technology and refining what others have invented but new ideas from scratch?

It came as a surprise to me when the other day the Badische Zeitung published an article about a new idea put into practice just two blocks away from my apartment. The innovation of Der Wortautomat (the word vending machine) may not be comparable to the iPad but is a new idea to reuse old cigarette vending machines that do no longer fulfill the modern standards of youth protection.

Since last week two ladies from Freiburg are selling words in such an old machine where you may select from various categories. Red Baron is too old for words für Verliebte (for young lovers) and choose the more fitting category "Nostalgiker" for a price of 5 euros (roughly 7 U$).

Here is what I got:

A printed box.
When I opened the box it contained the word Badeanstalt (public swimming baths) in laser-cut wooden letters and correctly painted in blue.

Nowadays everybody in Germany uses Schwimmbad (public swimming pool) and no longer Badeanstalt. One day the word will be lost for it lacks all appeal. It contains the word Anstalt (establishment) better used in words like Erziehungsanstalt (borstal) or Irrenanstalt (nuthouse). A popular German political cabaret on TV even bears the title: Neues aus der Anstalt.

Without a shower in my student digs in Göttingen in my early days Red Baron frequently went to the Städtische Badeanstalt where indeed it was more for cleaning than for swimming. We students spent hours under the hot shower with a strong jet hitting our bodies, not just the trickle of modern showers. Energy was cheap in those days.

1 comment:

  1. It's a real pity that the "old" words are more and more replaced by "Verstümmelungen" (mutilations), resulting from the use of "communication machines" like mobile phones etc.
    Thank you for this funny item,
    Margit (anmargi)