Theodor Eismann from Leipzig, Saxony, was a typical pre-WW1 German postcard publishing and printing company. They participated in the postcard (export) boom, published both, topographical and subject cards. Family ties were probably the reason why they concentrated later on export to the USA. Many Eismann cards show their logo, name/initials or other specific imprints which makes identification often quite easy. very likely Th. Eismann worked also as a contract printer. This part of the company history / how to identify Eismann contract printed cards is still waiting to be researched.

The Company History

Theodor Eismann established his printing / publishing business in 1884. Some sources mention May 1, 1879, however). By 1898 his company was found at Breitkopfstr. 9 (on the corner Fromannstr.), Leipzig. Lithography, letterpress and chromolitho printing. Appeared to have specialised then on printing coloured tables/illustrations for the huge Leipzig book trade business.

By 1903 not only Theodor Eismann had retired but the business had moved to Bayersche Str. 28. The firm was now run by the son Eduard Theodor Paul Eismann. Then the company must have moved again, down the street to house number 78. The Leipzig register of companies 1909 shows this address and that Theo’s brother Prof. Gustav Edmund Ernst Eismann was co-owner. Gustav lived in New York and led the Eismann branch at 124, West 18th Street.

Eismann appears to have concentrated on postcard production almost entirely for the US market (English speaking countries) then. Not surprising that they suffered greatly by the protective tariff of 1909. A note found in “Papier-Zeitung” no. 10 (Feb. 3), 1910 reveals interesting news:

New York: The company of Theodor Eismann is going to ship their machinery used for postcard printing to the USA. To be installed again in the new building of the “Bush Terminal Company”, 37 St., South Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Eismann is planning to employ some 600 (local) people and has opened a sales office in Manhattan Borough. There are rumours that other firms of the postcard trade in Germany are also thinking of moving business to the US.

Did Th. Eismann move to the USA? The Klimsch Printing Trade Directory 1913 still lists the Eismann business (now Ltd.) at old address.  Paul Eismann as managing director, assisted by Willy Graichen and Max Eismann. The workforce down to about 30 persons, 4 book printing and 7 litho presses of various format. Sole speciality: picture postcards by 3 and 4 colour (halftone) process; Theochrom. No mention of a factory/branch in the USA.


Th. E.L. series 1020 – could be best described as a “hunter” (studio photo). Halftone printed with litho colours superimposed. P/u in Germany in 1907.


Th. E.L. series 1009 – Samoan Chief. Not p/u, divided back, c. 1906-07. I have a total of 7 different views from this series. All show the series number 1009 only, no individual card numbers.

Marie-Louise Sundstrom was the first to discover an Eismann card that shows a clear imprint “Printed in the U.S.” Even with the typical Eismann “Comet” logo on. Theochrom Series 1279-15. Mailed to Germany on May 20, 1912. On occasion of the Titanic tragegy (April 15, 1912) many ppc companies rushed to take advantage. This is not the Titanic, however. Probably also not the sister ship Olympic. Thank you Marie-Louise!


Klimsch Directory 1921 lists the Eismann company NOT as a Ltd. company anymore. Proprietor since 1914: Gustav Edmund Ernst Eismann. Company secretary: H. Ph. M. Eismann. Still specialised in ppc printing.  – By the mid 1920’s a new offset press was installed. Postcards no longer mentioned but printing of labels, posters, catalogues etc. – 1928: no offset press and workforce just 15 persons. – Theodor Eismann company declared bankruptcy early 1930.

Th. Eismann postcards / Identification

The earliest Eismann cards I know of are a series with views of popular spots from Berlin. These show the full name imprinted and date from pre-1905 years (undivided back). Reprints with divided back are also known. These cards  are printed by halftone process with additional colours superimposed by litho process. However, there is also a good chance that Eismann had printed typical “Greetings from” style cards by chromolitho process earlier.

Other series by Th. Eismann shows (ethnic) views from Samoa and China, Turkey, Austria, Norway, German navy etc. Plus a number of subject cards, mostly love and romance designs good to be used with imprints for different countries.

Most other Eismann cards I have or know of were produced for the US market, the topo postcards with views from New York / East coast in general. Very similar to the production of German printer August Frey, Frankfurt.


Street Life Series, no. 8 – New York. Vanderbilt’s coach at Clearmont Hotel. With Eismann “Comet” logo. Mailed from NYC to Canada in Dec. 1910.

Th. Eismann logo / imprints

Postcards printed and published by the Theodor Eismann company have no uniform design, but show often typical imprints on address side helpful for identification. Usually somewhere the initials Th. E. L. are found, often together with the process name “Theochrom” (glossy lacquer finish).

Standard typeset “Post Card” imprints were also used. Interesting is the illustrated ornamented Post Card imprint in green ink found on some Eismann cards. A poor copy of the original, earlier design used by E. Frey from New York, who did run the US branch of the Frankfurt postcard printer August Frey. Both firms appear to have had a similar background and relationship with the USA.


Th. E.L. series 958 – Hilsen fra Norge - Kirkefaerd. Not p/u, div. back. This Greetings from Norway card is also a printing error/defect sample. The red litho forme made trouble.


Theochrom Series, no. 1140 – ”I’ll be waiting for you.” With Eismann “Comet” logo. Postally used in Great Britain in 1909. Typical for Eismann is the golden/bronze frame.

This is the only logo I know of used by Theodor Eismann. I call it the “Comet” logo.


This ‘Postcard’ design imprint is often found (together with the “Comet” logo) on Eismann cards. Printed in grey, sometimes green ink.

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