General Customer Instructions of Postcard Printers

I am being asked frequently what old (German) postcard printers required from customers. If they had to send in a (glass) negative or print, colour schemes and other details.

Now these requirements / terms and conditions may have differed from company to company, depending also on the make and quality the customer ordered. The following ‘General Instructions’ comes from the famous Stengel & Co., Dresden and were issued for distribution to US customers (c. 1906-1908). This company which was established in the mid-1880’s and one of Germany’s biggest (export) postcard printing houses. They offered a variety of postcard styles and qualities. The original ‘General Instruction’ are listed below (in their own words). This may help to answer some of your questions.

My sincere thanks go to Jim Ward (USA) for sharing this find with other collectors.


RIGHT FOR REPRODUCTION. We accept orders only with the understanding that the right for reproduction of the photographs, drawings etc. has been obtained by the firm placing the order. We cannot be held responsible under any circumstances for any infringement of Copyright laws, here or abroad.

PHOTOGRAPHS must be clear and sharp and not too deep in tone. We prefer mat photographs. Size if possible not smaller than 4 x 5 inches. Poor photographs are reproduced at the risk of the customer. If you furnish first class photos we guarantee the cards equal to samples. If the photo is not first class we will get the very best results obtainable from it. We will make cards from other postals if you are unable to procure photos, but in such cases we cannot guarantee first class results. No extra charge will be made for retouching photos, except they require a great deal of retouching for which we will charge our own costs.

TITLES and all names etc. to be printed on the cards should be typewritten or written with great care, so that there will be no possible danger of misspelled words. We cannot be held responsible for incorrect titles etc., if the writing is not distinct. We recommend the use of our Order Blanks which will be sent upon application. A small charge will be made for the printing of Descriptions, Verses etc. on the cards..

COLOR SCHEMES. It is advisable to mention the principal colors, when ordering colored cards, in absence we select the colors to our own judgement. The color schemes will be attended to by us as far as the the different processes of printing will allow this. However if the desired shade or color does not show the on the card exactly as specified, no claims can be made.

CARDS WITH SEVERAL PICTURES. For these cards we make an extra charge according to the work required.

TIME OF DELIVERY. The time stated by us is not to be taken as a guarantee. We reserve the right to extend time of delivery in case of strikes, accidents, breakdowns, or other causes beyond our control.

QUANTITY. As it is impossible for technical reasons to print the exact quantity ordered, it is understood that we are at the liberty to deliver up to 10% less or up to 10% more than the quantity ordered. Claims must be made immediately after receipt of goods and all points of the complaint stated.

ANY STYLES OF VIEW CARDS, not mentioned in this list can be made up by us, provided that large enough quantities are ordered. Send us samples showing what you desire, state number of views and how many cards of each view. We will be glad to quote you prices.

ORIGINALS, PHOTOGRAPHS, etc. being property of the customers, are not insured by us against fire, or other damages.

FORWARDING. If no special instructions are given, we attend to this according to our best judgement.


Stengel & Co. printing sample for their Artochrom Style no. 7 card quality. A very popular  ‘Autochrome’ process (Image halftone, colours superimposed by litho) = machine coloured. Minimum order 3000 cards. The view shows the Marburg Castle. On address side ‘Post Card’ was imprinted together with English text.


Stengel & Co. started printing postcards using the collotype process. Local competitor Roemmler & Jonas was the first around to use collotype printing, but also another Dresden printer started early: Wilhelm Hoffmann (Establ. 1864). By 1888 printing some 6,000 cards daily. – This is Stengel card no. 6906, showing a popular spot at Nice. Published and printed mid/late 1890’s.


The company history of Stengel & Co. was published in ‘The Postcard Album’ no. 22.

[Home] [Postcard History] [Identification] [Logo types] [Printer Logo's] [TPA Magazine] [Contact] [PPC Novelties] [Finds & Curio] [Collecting Subjets]