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Old 22.08.2012, 15:33
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Re: Safe Box Key

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It's quite common, especially in printed type, to omit the umlaut (or any other accent) when using upper case typefaces and the UE alternative spelling is relatively recent and far from universal, so I'd suggest there's no mystery there.

FWIW I'd see nothing at all to indicate that they'd be deposit box keys. They seem to be exactly the same type as our wall safe at home.
the substitution of UE for is certainly not a recent development. In the old German Fraktur typeface (and the old German hand wring) there existed no capital "umlaut"-letters. Capital was written Ae, capital Ue, etc. Capital umlaut were introduced to German with the antiqua typeface. In Switzerland however people kept writing Ue for , because on the Swiss typewriter layout was, due to the French symbols, no space for capital Umlauts. This only changed when typewriters were replaced by computers. This is way Swiss streetnames beginning with an umlaut are normally written in the two letter form.

Regarding the inscription of the keys, there are different possible explanations for the U. I think the reason that there is no could be technical (i.e. the machine used to make the inscription was not able to make capital umlauts). Maybe ZURICH was considered to look neater than ZUERICH, as the Ue normally was only used at the beginning of words.

Another possibility is that if Bauer (now KABA) thought, that writing ZUERICH could have caused confusion with costumers outside the German speaking areas. Remember, that Zurich is both the French and the English name of Zrich.
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