Logo arranged by initialsTrinks___Co_logo

This type is far more common than plain typeset initials. With or without artwork added. Some were registered as trademarks for a limited period, but many not. Often the initials are arranged inside a circle, shield, rhombus, large letter or whatever. The first problem is often to identify the initials, to read in correct order. Because many of these logos are reproduced in quite small size, not in good quality always and difficult to read.

Some show identical letters but with different logo design and new arranged. Unfortunately some firms did not use the same logo all the time. Sometimes a partiuclar logo turns up on a series of cards, then the follow up series shows initials only, another bears a different logo designs etc. Difficult to put it in chronological order sometimes.

A case that has puzzled me some time was P.F.B. and was settled only because a TPA reader had found adverts with logos illustrated. P.F.B. stood for Paul Finkenrath, Berlin, well known for his fine (embossed) chromolitho greeting cards. Some other cards turned up with P.F.B. (inside rhombus), many done by different process but also some in excellent chromolitho quality. The “second” P.F.B was the firm of Paul Fink, Berlin, later known for his bromide photo card production.


Trademark designs/logos were officially registered and used for a longer period on ppc’s. Some are almost self-explaining (when familiar with printer/publisher research), and others making little or no sense. There were word trademarks, artwork made of initials or sometimes only a symbol or even a figure. Illustrated sailing boat with large “E” on sail trademark belonged to Martin Schlesinger, Berlin. Bigger greeting card publisher / printer which usually had a “M.S.i.B.” imprinted on cards. suggestions what the “E” stood for are welcome!

Something typical German appears to be a “translation” of initials pronounced into a “new” word. EFFKA = F K = Fritz Korf, ppc publisher from Hamburg. ERKAL = R & K = Regel & Krug, printers/publishers from Leipzig, GEEM = G M = Glueckstadt & Muenden, publishers/printers from Hamburg, Egemes stood for E.G. May Soehne, printers/publishers from Frankfurt. Although they often used a logo formed by a capital M inside sun.

Then we find the combination of letters of the company name, especially when there were two business partners, or combination of name and city etc. Kopal = Koch & Palm, Elberfeld. Rokat = Robert Kathmann, Leipzig. Wiro postcard series = C.F. Wiedemann from the city of Roda.

Another type was a combination of company name and business form: Awuco = A. Weber & Co., Stuttgart. Amag = Albrecht & Meister Aktiengesellschaft (AG), Berlin.

Registered printing process names

Relatively few printers registered own process names which can be found on some but not all  postcards of the particular quality. Theochrom = Theo. Eismann, Leipzig, Neuchrom = August Frey, Frankfurt and some others. However, in this case you need either printing sample cards or advertising of ppc printers from old trade periodicals with clear mention for definite identification. Most printing sample cards show more general, widely used terms and process names only.

This is indeed a wide and often complicated field of research. A number of trademarks found on old ppc’s are still a mystery and waiting to be identified. Some day a “key card”, an advert or letterhead with the wanted information might turn up.

The long established postcard publisher Ottmar Zieher from Munich published the illustrated view of Cologne harbour pre-1905. Imprint reads ‘Heliocolor’ card but this had nothing to do with Zieher. It was the name of an ‘Autochrome’ printing process introduced by Emil Pinkau & Co, Leipzig, c. early 1901. Pinkau printed the majority of the Zieher cards. ‘Heliocolor’ process printed cards from the early years are usually of high quality. Later cards are of standard quality - especially colouring - only.

O. Zieher was not only an early but big publisher. This is the address side of an advertising card (picture shows a view from the city of Wiesbaden together with more offers). It shows that Zieher had a branch or bureau at Leipzig. Above mentioned ‘Heliocolor’ style was not cheap. Minimum order 2000 cards, 35 - 42,50 Marks per 1000. Collotype cards were 15 Marks per 1000. Steel-engraved imitation for 20 Marks per 1000 cards. Zieher appears to have had always thousands of diff. cards in stock. About 3,000 different water-colour and artists card designs for example. Card p/u late 1901.

Perfect card find

Research requires patience and you need some luck from time to time, too. The card on the right is such a lucky find. The picture shows a view of Meran, published by “G. & M.” as card no. 423. On address side not only the publisher logo but the complete name is found listed: Gerstenberger & Mueller from Bozen. Then we have two rubber stamp imprints. The boxed one in red ink reads “Photochrom” and identifies the printing process used. This is indeed helpful, especially for collectors not that familiar yet with the different printing processes once used.

The other imprint reads “M. Schulz, Prag VII” and reveals the printer of this card. Schulz was a long-established company from Prague and printed postcards for customers from worldwide. Being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire then, Schulz printed cards of pre-1914 date often show a “Printed in Austria” imprint.


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