Postman

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POSTCARD PRINTER & PUBLISHER RESEARCH

 

Mehner_Maas_Leipzig_title

Mehner & Maas, was another of the many Leipzig, Saxony, based picture postcard printing / publishing companies. Similar to local competitor H. Ludewig however, the identification of ppc’s printed by M. & M. requires often a closer look. The logo illustrated above (found a panorama view card of Port Said, Egypt - M. & M. no. 12394) appears to had been rarely used. The company history / their business success/decline, was closely connected with the ppc boom years.

Company History

Mehner & Maas, Fine arts (lithogr.) printing company was set up on Feb. 15, 1893 at Leipzig-Reudnitz. By 1897 the business occupied 1-3rd floor of rear house Hohen- zollernstr. 11.

Their speciality then: printing / publishing picture postcards. Like many other partnerships, the business was soon run (owned) by just a single partner only:

Paul_Mehner_ca1907

businessman Paul Georg Mehner. Mr. Maas played probably an investor role only during the early years

Paul Mehner soon realised that chromo lithographic printing process (slow and costly) alone would lead to disadvantages. Similar to competitors, M. & M. introduced an Autochrome-like process (halftone image, 3 to 4 colours superimposed by litho process) by early 1901 which they named “Auto-Bunt”. A bit later collotype printing presses were installed.

According a 1907 published printing trade directory, M. & M. had just 3 litho presses and employed 40 persons. Wondering if this entry is fully correct / up-to-date.

Nagy_Roeczéroel_Mehner_Maas_DRGM_102060

This view from a place in (Austro) Hungary looks like a typical “Greetings from..” design, but was registered for Mehner & Maas as D.R.G.M. 102060, an entry that should date from late 1890’s. Because of the rainbow added? An imprint on picture side turns this card into a printing sample, describing the colour quality as “photo colour”. Well, it is a good quality chromolithographic printing. Nothing else.

Gruss_aus_Neustrelitz_MM_no4893

Gruss aus Neustrelitz, Germany. Mehner & Maas card no. 4983 (found on picture side). P/u August 1904. Old style design but already printed by “Auto-Bunt”. Dirt comes from black album pages. Picture side surface was given a fine cotton like structure. Typical M. & M. colours (see below).

Mehner & Maas suffered from the decline of the ppc (export) boom. The business was taken over by a Mr. Alfred Faber in 1913. Collotype presses were sold. Mrs. Hedwig Minna Goerner joined as partner in 1920. The firm was now found at Weststr. 81a, renamed into Hindenburgstr. after Hindenburg’s death in 1934. The workforce dropped to about a dozen persons in 1921, although M. & M. still had 5 litho and 3 book printing presses. PPC printing was still offered, besides labels, poster etc. until the late 1920’s. The decline of the firm continued but it was in business at least until 1939, with merely two workers left.

Identification of M. &. M. printed postcards

Mehner_Maas_logo_version_2

The above illustrated M & M L logo and the here shown variation were found so far on a few cards from Egypt only. Quite some cards show full name imprinted and I believe that M. & M. were often also the publishers of these views.

The major markets of Mehner & Maas, Leipzig, according clearly identified card finds were Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, eastern Europe countries and the Ottoman Empire / Orient.

Good for identifying M. & M. printed cards is the unusual look of many of their “Auto-Bunt / Farben-Auto” cards. No idea what type of inks they used for the litho colour runs, but they look mostly matt and “milky” somehow. Except those that were given a lacquer finish of course.

But best for a quick identification is the characteristic M. & M. card / image number, especially as often a not so common type font was used (see ill. please). Cards from the undivided era usually show this number on picture side. An Italian view bears it on the undivided back, however. Not surprising that there is no rule without exception. Some M. & M. cards have card/image number in regular Times-like type with stop.

‘Salut de Constantinople’ Series

The biggest ppc series printed (also published?) by Mehner & Maas I know of is on Constantinople. By chance I found a lot of some 40 diff. views, almost all of topo type, few could be filed under ethnic views. My samples with undivided back (card no. in red on picture side at lower right corner) show numbers ranging from 7792 to 9675. Div. back views: lowest no. 6197 - highest 11085, found on address side lower left corner near the typical decorative border. All printed in green ink. This shows that the M. & M. card/image numbers were used also for reprints. None of my cards shows any mention of local distributors or publishers.

Illustrated is a small selection of the major type fonts used by Mehner & Maas, Leipzig. All ills. blown up by same degree – Below left: Salut de Constantinople, Les Dervices Tourneurs. M: & M. no. 7992. And card no. 8428 (dividided back) with view of port: Quai de Galata. Both cards (as all my cards) not postally used.

Mehner_Maas_advert_1906

Advert from “Papier-Zeitung” no. 50 (June) 1906. M. & M. offers ppc printing by their colour process as well as multi-colour collotype, which is not correct. Meant is the then popular combined collotype/litho process. Surprising however, the mention of own genre / subject / series cards. A sample collection of 200 diff. is offered. Never seen such an card so far.

Lauban_Silesia_MM_no11057

View of the city of Lauban, Silesia, not p/u, div. back = post-1905, MM no. 11057 and full name imprinted. A collotype printing with litho overlay colours. The well done lacquer finish gives it a warm look.

Mehner_Maas_card_numbers
Constantinople_les_derviches_tourneurs_no7992 Constantinople_Quai_de_Galata_no8428
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