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D theater 4 smaa

Theater Sizes

The sizes and sheet numbers can be confusing, so we will try to make it easier to understand. We want to be sure you will be happy with your model theater sheets!


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.

Current Sizes
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 a letter before a number, to indicate whether the sheet is a figure sheet (B), a proscenium or curtain (C), or scenery like a backdrop, wings or set pieces (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 inquire. 

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*

Theater Size Width of sheet Height of sheet Height of figures

A Size

52 - 57.5 cm.
20.5 - 22.5 in.
34 - 40 cm.
13.5 - 15.5 in.
C Size figures are used
see below
C Size 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.
F Size
(reprints not available)
38 cm.
15 in.
26 cm.
10 in.
C Size figures were used
see above

D Size

26.5 cm.
10.5 in.

19 cm.
7.5 in.

7 cm.
2.75 in.

* based on the approximate printed area of a full backdrop

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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