Real Photo Card Publisher / Printer Trademarks, Logo’s and other imprints

Real photo (RP) cards belong definitely to the ‘Golden Age of Postcards”. Although many still around, probably not much in demand nowadays. Sought-after are animated street views, social history and similar topics, often published by smaller local or regional publishers. The mass of cards that left the factories however, are of more general (subject) character.

Postcards with actresses, actors and other popular then persons do have their fans of course. But the rest of it? The real photographic bromide printers flooded the market with more and more series every month. Bigger companies published 30-50 series of 6 cards each monthly! Some nicely (hand) coloured and extra glossy surface, others quite plain. Various photo paper qualities were used and sometimes odd looking colour creations were tested. There are still many interesting cards to be found. The many millions of “real photo” cards still around give you some idea of the unbelievable quantities once produced.

Illustrated here and on next pages are some trademarks together with company name and city. Mostly German companies. Some were publishers / wholesalers only, others had their own real photo printing plant. These are marked with a (M). The trademarks are not arranged in any particular order, but coincidentally. Inquiries welcome! Please see also RP Card Cartels logo’s.


Studio photo of little boy dressed up as angler in front of painted background. Series / card no. 72/6. Late postal use in 1926. Publ. MKB.

‘The real photograph is the original which all other processes merely seek to reproduce’.  Quote from a advertising card produced by Lilywhite Ltd., Photographic Printers by the Mile, Triangle, Yorks (Great Britain).

Photographic printing companies/groups

Although NPG played a leading role, they had not a monopoly. However, their machinery (21 cards were automatically exposed at the same time) as well as the entire well organised ‘workflow’ made it not easy to compete with NPG during the early years.

French firms soon built up an own strong photo printing production, although they concentrated mostly on the home market. Rotary Ltd, the NPG offshot dominated the British market, Valentine’s followed in 1907. The major competition came from other German companies.

NPG’s two biggest competitors were the local Rotophot Gesellschaft fuer photographischen Rotationsdruck m.b.H. (establ. 1900; other sources say 1899) and Aristophot AG from Taucha / Leipzig set up in mid 1902, by joining the businesses of Aristophot Photographische Maschinendruck Anstalt, Leipzig-Reudnitz (set up around 1900 or even earlier), Otto Lienekampf, also Leipzig and Adolph Engel, Berlin. In September 1909 the entire Aristophot AG was taken over by Albrecht & Meister, Berlin (Amag logo).

Another big one was E.A. Schwerdtfeger & Co. AG establ. 1894 who became even bigger after taking over the publishing dept. of NPG c. February - March 1920. E.A.S. was backed up by the huge photo paper manufacturer Mimosa AG, Dresden. Berlin was a center for firms busy in the real photo business back then. There were of course more firms in other places (eg. Regel & Krug, Max Breslauer, E. Pinkau & Co. AG, all three from Leipzig). Many of the bigger companies of the postcard printing trade who managed to stay in business installed the real photo printing process in order to meet customers demand. Real photo cards continued to be popular for decades!

Rotophot / Ross

Heinrich Ross had started an own postcard printing / publishing business late 1901 at Alexandrinenstr. 95.96. His trademark was a ‘Horse’ (= Ross). Printing processs used were lithography and collotype.

Ross Bromsilber-Vertriebs-Gesellschaft mbh Berlin, was set up early 1907. Sole distributor for all products of Rotophot-Gesellschaft fuer photograph. Industrie mbH. Incorporating the previous Ross publishing line. Real photo and gravure cards. Business capital 100,000 Marks and managing director was well known Heinrich Ross.


Woman with Asian-style paper sunshade. Studio photo signed “Traut”. A Rotophot production (S. 483-5272), hand-coloured. Mailed in Dec. 1905.


Titled ‘Tomboy’, showing a Ross-Rotophot logo (3953/5). Not p/u, of pre-1914 date..


Rotophot, Berlin (M)


Ross-Rotophot, movie star cards, Berlin


S. Blueh, Wien with Rotophot logo


Ross Bromsilber Vertriebs- Gesellschaft


Film Foto Verlag = ex Ross Verlag c. 1941

The Heinrich Ross printing business was renamed into ’Heinrich Ross Kunstdruck GmbH’ by mid 1908 and moved to Alexandrinenstr. 110 = home of the various Rotophot businesses. The previous owners Heinrich Ross and Max Neumark became managing directors. Employed some 120 persons by 1912. H. Ross became also member of the board of Rotophot AG, managing director of the 1929 reorganised Rotophot-Bromsilberdruck GmbH. Best known however, for the “Ross Verlag” (B.V.G.) and the 10,000’s of artist/movie star postcards published. Note: Many movie star cards of the Ross Verlag were later also printed by gravure process, the major printing process of Rotophot AG.

Above mentioned Rotophot-Bromsilberdruck GmbH (major share holder was the Mimosa AG, Dresden) and the Film Foto Verlag (ex-Ross), became by 1941 daughter companies of the huge UFA Universum Film AG.

Research on Rotophot and especially the Heinrich Ross business activities proves to be complex. For example H. Ross from Neukoelln set up also the firm Rotochrom - Gesellschaft fuer graphische Reklame together with a Max Hesse (Berlin-Schoeneberg) in June 1913. Speciality were posters.


Above shown detail mentions the gravure printing undertaken by Rotophot and the card published by Rotochrom (found at same address as Rotophot). It is a typical view showing two kids and was published before as real photo card (Rotophot series/card number).

”Rotochrom” imprints are found on non-real photo cards much earlier. The often luxury done greetings were produced by Heinrich Ross, Kunstdruck-Ges. m.b.H. (also at Rotophot address). Name of a special (?) production process as well as their cable address name.


E. A. Schwerdt- feger, Berlin (M)


Heliophot = Peter Michaelis, Berlin (= EAS)

Similar to the business co-operation between H. Ross - Rotophot, Peter Michaelis / Heliophot was associated with the big E. A. Schwerdtfeger company.


Peter Michaelis, Berlin (old logo prior to Heliophot)


NPG logo on cards of post-1920 date = EAS


Albrecht & Meister, Berlin (M)


Aristophot AG, Taucha/Leipzig (M)


Paul Fink, Berlin (M later)

Albrecht & Meister took over Aristophot in 1909, continued the Taucha factory for several years. The Paul Fink photographic printing business became part of Amag, too. Major share holder of Amag after the end of WW1 was  Berlin-Neuroder Kunstanstalten (BNK). Amag / BNK / Fink were relaunched at Munich bei Ilo Steib after WW2. (Story in TPA 24)

BNK_Logo_1 BNK_Logo_2 BNK_Logo_3

Berlin-Neuroder Kunstanstalten (M) with factories in Brandenburg (Prussia), Neurode (Silesia), Dresden (Saxony) and Braunau (Bohemia). Many of the early BNK bromide photo cards were printed at Dresden branch.

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