A little size history
Alfred Jacobsen was a lithographic art printer, and he was a major promoter
of model theater in Denmark. When he began printing toy theater sheets in the
1880s, he started with a theater size similar to the current "C"
size. Some time around the turn of the century, he sold the rights to the C
size to Vilhelm Prior and Carl Larsen, booksellers and publishers, and he
started to make a larger "A" size, and also a smaller
"D" size and even one in between called an "F" size. The
two sizes that have been most popular, and which have held on over time are
the C and D sizes.
After Alfred Jacobsen died in 1929, Priors took over selling
and reprinting the sheets that Jacobsen had developed after their original
arrangement. When Priors sold their bookstore, the youngest daughter kept
the toy theater business, and opened a shop on the second floor of the
building where the bookstore had been, next to the Round Tower in
Copenhagen. This shop was called Priors Dukketeater. This shop was owned by
several others, was moved to other locations, and finally closed in 2002.
In 2001, Victor Print, another fine printing company,
started a line of reprinted Alfred Jacobsen and other model theater sheets
under the name of Oldfux (pronounced All'-fox), the name of a character in
18th century Holberg plays. Many original German sheets have been reprinted
with collectors in mind, and many other sheets have been scaled up to the
"C" size, and also some down from the large "A" size to
the "C" size.
Alfred Jacobsen had his own number system for the sheets,
using only numbers. [The history of this is more complicated than we need
to explain here!] Oldfux has developed their own numbering system, using
letter before a number, to indicate whether the sheet is a figure sheet (B),
a proscenium (C), or a backdrop, wings or sets (D), and there are a few
Alfred Jacobsen "A" size sheets (also prefaced with an A). All of
the figure sheets (Bs) and backdrops, wings and set sheets (Ds) are printed
in the Alfred Jacobsen "C" size. The prosceniums sizes is
another story, and you must see each sheet description for details, or
So, you can see that the sheet numbers, for example D-102,
have nothing to do with the size of the theater it will fit. There are a few
exceptions, including the Pantomime set, which are reprinted by Oldfux with
C numbers, because it is primarily a proscenium set. Also, on the Tivoli
Garden II sheet (a D numbered sheet), the adult figures measure c. 2-1/2 to
2-3/4 inches tall, which is equal to a D size, but the set pieces are good
for C size theaters.
Basic Sizes of
Alfred Jacobsen Model Theater Sheets*
||Width of sheet
||Height of sheet
|52 - 57.5 cm.
20.5 - 22.5 in.
|34 - 40 cm.
13.5 - 15.5 in.
|C Size figures are used
||37 - 50 cm.
14.5 - 19.5 in.
|31 - 32 cm.
12 - 12.5 in.
|10 to 11.5 cm.
4 to 4.5 in.
(reprints not available)
|C Size figures were used
* based on the approximate printed area of a
We are mainly selling the Alfred Jacobsen "C" size
and "D" size sheets and theaters, which are the sizes in general
use. There is more available for the C size theater at present. If you are
familiar with British toy theater, their basic size compares more closely to
our D size.
To decide what size theater would be good for your available
space, or performance needs, a basic rule of thumb is the width of the
theater proscenium (see the specific proscenium information) is about
the depth of the theater structure, depending on how much
"technology" you put behind the scenes. The smaller D size may be
more popular for people who don't have much room to "play" -
whether it be for the crafty part of making all the sets and figures, or for
actual performances. However, the smaller the scale, the more detailed the
figures and sets are to try to cut out, and there is less available for the
D size. If you choose one and find it isn't the right size for you, it may
be possible to resell it down the road and try another size, but, be
forewarned, it seems most people we know who have done model theater for any
length of time have multiple theaters!
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