KREUZBERGED BERLIN

Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin

DID YOU KNOW THAT ABOUT BERLIN: A HORSE AND THE ESCALATOR

Did you know that soon after the grand opening of the then biggest department store in Europe, Karstadt am Hermannplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg, the store owners organised a very peculiar presentation to convince their customers to use the new-fangled technology known as the Escalator?

Shortly after the big event celebrated on June 21st, 1929 Karstadt managers invited a popular circus artist and performer, Cilly Feindt, to ride up and down the moving Rolltreppe – from the ground floor up to the 4,000-m² big roof terrace – on her… white horse. The message being, clearly: if a horse can do it, so can you.

cilly feindt german circus perfomer and actress karstadt rolltreppe trick

Cilly Feindt, a Berlin circus artist whom made it to Madison Square Garden in New York.

Already in December 1925, when the elegant, glass-fronted Hermann-Tietz-Warenhaus in Leipziger Strasse introduced the first such facility in Berlin – only several months after the company´s main department store in Cologne – it met with scepticism bordering on hostility. Employing qualified, serious-looking “assistants” to help customers overcome their distrust proved to be a stroke of genius.

A beautiful lady on a horse proved to be an even bigger one.

Cilly Feindt on her beloved "Schimmel" (white horse) photographed by Willy Pragher in August 1935 at the Scala in Berlin (image through Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg)

Cilly Feindt on her beloved “Schimmel” (white horse) photographed by Willy Pragher in August 1935 at the Scala in Berlin (image through Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg)

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