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The Rotograph Co. 1904-1911
A major printer and publisher of postcards. Founded by the Germans Ludwig Knackstedt of Knackstedt & Nather in partnership with Arthur Schwarz of Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (a major bromide photo paper manufacturer). They also took over the National Art Views Co. in 1904 to gain quick access to American views, and republished many of these images under the Rotograph name. A wide variety of card types were also issued in 19 letter series plus many other miscellaneous cards and printed items, but they are best known for their view-cards in color rotogravure. Many postcards were printed in the Rotograph style without their logo on them. These early cards may have been private contracts made with the Rotograph Company or from orders placed directly with their printers in Germany. Rotograph produced about 60,000 postcards that were printed by Knackstedt & Nather of Hamburg, Stengel of Dresden, and possibly by Reinike & Rubin of Magdeburg. While Rotograph produced large amounts cards in clearly defined lettered designated sets, they also produced unique small card sets. Rather than assign small sets a new designation, they were often given a taken letter prefix that corresponded to their subject.
Numbered - Many early cards were printed without any letter prefixes. Most of these are reprints of National Art View cards printed in black & white or hand colored, but there are many exceptions to this. Some of these cards hold the Sol Art Prints logo.
Style A - Black & white views printed in sharply defined collotype. Their titles were printed during a seperate press run in letterset.
Style B - Collotype printed atop a dull blue. Issued as a topical series. Some of these cards do not carry numbers but only the series name such as Marine Views Series.
(Style B) - A sub-series consisting of real photos cards on bromide paper. Issued as novelties on a variety of topics.
Comic - Rotograph published a number of artist signed comic cards without any letter prefixes, only set numbers. These cards are distinguished by the indefinite borders of the imagery with large open spaces left for writing, and they should characterized as comical greeting cards. They were printed in Austria in continuous tone lithography.
Cuba - These cards with bilingual backs are mostly views of Havana but they also depict some other cities and generic rural scenes. While their numbers run 12000-12100 there are many different sub-fixes. Many of these cards came from the E series but they are on unsivided backs. While some Cuban cards with a G prefix are the same as those collotypes found in the United States, most seem to have been made by a different printer. They were made with a black halftone printed over color lithography, very similar to the E series. Some cards from both series were printed on paper with an embossed texture.
Style D - Views printed in black and blue collotype that give the appearance of a delft grayish blue..
Style E - Views printed as tinted halftones with divided backs.
(Style E) - A smaller subset of E cards were a series made depicting people and views from Egypt. These cards were hand colored and they were issued with two types of backs; one in english, the other in Arabic on a standard Egyptian postal.
Style F - Includes many techniques and subjects such as artist signed, illustrated cards and cartoons. Other prefixes include FD, FK, FL, FR. Also included are views with a printed wooden frame.
An interesting subset of the F Series were their cards printed on paper with a linen finish. They are indistinguishable from the linen cards produced in the 1930’s except they have undivided backs.
Style G - Views printed as tinted collotypes (Machine Colored, Chromo printed by Knackstedt & Nather). The images on these cards fades into the tabs, an effect sometimes refered to as vignetting. The cards of this series display the most recognizable style from Rotograph and they were their most popular cards.
Style GL - Views printed with overlapping color screen patterns that create a disturbing visual effect. These images have a soft look to them and often seem off register.
Globe Trotter Series - This numbered but unlettered series depicted international views that were issued in sets. These cards were printed in the same technique as those of the E Series.
Style H - Hand colored collotypes depicting views.
Rotograph issued a number of hand colored postcards without a letter prefix. They often have highly decorative graphic frames around the image in a style found on earlier cards from the National Art Views Co.
(Style H) - A sub-series of embossed lithographic greeting cards, many with Dutch themes. The letter H only on this prefix has a slanted crossbar that can be confused with the letter N.
Style I - View-cards depicting Japan. Due to Rotograph’s use of fancy fonts these cards may not be a series but just a unique part of the J Series.
Style J - Mostly hand colored collotypes depicting domestic life in Japan along with some landscapes. There are 75 cards in this series.
Style M - Art reproductions. Only the early cards have the Rotograph name on them as this series was latter taken over by Stengel.
Style N - Night scenes. Printed in tinted collotype with a heavy dark blue cast and bright highlights similar to the look of copper window cards. Many other night views were made in the B series.
Style NPG - Glossy real photo sets of Dutch scenes with deep delft blue toning. These were manufactured by the New Photographic Society in Germany.
Style O - Real photo cards on bromide paper in embossed frames that were made in England. Real photo cards in the identical format were made by Davidson Brothers of London.
Style P - Photo cards on glossy bromide paper set in large embossed borders that were made in England.
Panoramas - These two, three, or four panel cards had double letter prefixes, P for Panorama followed by a letter from another series. The prefixes used were PA, PD, PE, PG, and PH.
Style R - The imagery here is taken from other series but these cards are embossed in high relief with red lettering. An addition sheet of stiff paper is glued to their backs so it can be written upon. They seem to have been made in 1904 and 1905. Many of these cards now suffer from peeling.
Style XS - Real photo Christmas cards on bromide paper.
Style Z - Cards made for the New York Zoological Society in black & white collotype, many printed over color lithography. Rotograph’s name does not appear on these cards.
Rotograph issued an unlettered set depicting scenes from the San Francisco earthquake soon after the event. They are printed in an uncharacteristic double halftone in red and black on different colored papers; and were most likely contracted out to a local California printer. The photographs these cards were made from were copyrighted by the San Francisco Ruins Publishing Co.
Rotorura Post 1885-
A local newspaper that has a long history of publishing postcards. While many of these cards seem to be poorly printed and casually retouched, it gives them a unique mannered look that can be quite appealing.
Roukes & Erhart (1912-1956)
A publisher of postcards and souvenir booklets. They produced a number of sepia and hand colored view-cards in addition to their artist signed cards that include large sets by Rie Cramer.
Rous & Mann, Ltd. (1910-)
This commercial art firm published many artist drawn postcards promoting Canadian tourism. Some of their water based stencil colored cards carry the trade name Dell Aqua Color Process.
Royal Chain Postcards (1902-1903)
A publisher of hand colored collotype view-cards depicting possessions within the English Empire such as Egypt, India, and Ireland.
Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. 1839-1932
This steamship company was founded in 1839 by Scot James MacQueen and began to carry mail to the West Indies after receiving their first contract in 1941. Service was later expanded to South America and New York. They began publishing postcards for advertising when they came into vogue. In 1927 the bought the White Star Line but soon fell into financial trouble. They were liquidated in 1932 after their director was sent to prison for issuing false financial statements. Its fleet and services were largely resumed by the Royal Mail Lines, Ltd.
J. Ruben Publishing Co. (1907-1917)
Published view-cards of New York and Connecticut in tinted halftone.
J.W. Ruddock & Sons, Ltd. (1904-)
Printers and publishers of tricolor postcards. Many of their early postcards were artist signed.
Ruhland & Ahlschier (1888-1906)
Emil Ruhland and Max Ahlschier started out as printers of telephone books but in 1897 they received a commission from the Mexican Post Office to publish a series of national view-cards. Though these black & white and sepia postcards were produced as collotypes they later produced cards of views and types in chromolithography. They also printed postcards for the photographer Guillermo Kahlo.
Rumford Press 1899-
A book publisher that also produced tinted halftone postcards.
Runta Import Co. (1945-1957)
An importer and distributor of postcards for the Atelier Graphique H. Vontobel in Switzerland. These view-cards depict scenes on a national scope mostly contracted for resorts and tourist attractions. A notable set was made of the colonial architecture in Williamsburg, Virginia. These cards may bear either the name of Runta, Vontobel, or K.S. Tanner, Jr. who was most likely the owner of the Runta Import Company. They seem to be printed in color photogravure on uncoated paper with white borders and an irregular edge.
Samuel E. Rusk (1879-1909)
As a photographer of the Catskills Rusk began publishing important early guidebooks to the region with maps in 1879 based on his travels through these mountains. He was a member of Arnold Henry Guyot’s first scientific survey of the Catskills in the following year. Rusk became an important businessman in Haines Falls serving as the postmaster and running a boarding house. By the turn of the century Rusk also began publishing monochrome postcards in heliotype from his photographs. In 1908 he formed a partnership, Rusk & Andrews to help further his ambitions such as building the Wauwanda Theater. Although Rusk continued to produce postcards under his own name the majority came to be published by Rusk & Andrews well into the 1920’s.
Russia America Line 1900-1917
Founded as the Russia East Asiatic Steamship Company, a subsidiary of the East Asiatic Company. They changed their name to the Russia America Line after starting service between Libau in Latvian Russia and New York City. They published postcards of their ships and tourist oriented cards of their ports of call, which were Rotterdam, Halifax, and sometimes Copenhagen. When the First World War closed the port of Libau in 1914 they moved the Russian end of the line to Archangel. The Line closed after the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the ships sold off.
Rust Craft Publishing 1913-
Fred Winslow Rust first published holiday cards from his bookstore in 1908. This venture turned into the much larger Rust Craft Publishing in 1913.
O. de Rycker (1895-1928)
This master lithographer was one of the most famous producers of posters in Europe. Their fine work led them into printing other high quality items such as stock certificates. They also printed many artist signed postcards chromolithography and are noted for the cards they made for the Red Star Line that were illustrated by Cassiers.