The Albertype Co.

The Albertype Company, initially known as Wittemann Brothers, was founded by Adolph and Herman L. Wittemann and operated from 1890 to 1952 in Brooklyn, New York. They specialized in producing collotype prints that were distributed as postcards and viewbooks across the United States. The collotype process, introduced by Alphonse-Louis Poitevin, allowed for cost-effective and accurate reproductions of photographs and other artworks.


The company started by printing books and pioneer postcards before becoming a significant publisher of national view cards, producing approximately 25,000 different prints. Their postcards were known for not being numbered, and their name appeared on early cards’ stamp boxes. When divided-back postcards were authorized, they introduced a distinctive line on the back with the words “Post Cards of Quality” and later “The Finest American Made View Post Cards.”

The Albertype Company printed a wide variety of postcards, including black and white, hand-colored, duotones, tinted monochromes, and cards printed on toned paper. They also created novelty cards in a larger 6-by-8-in. format. Additionally, the company reproduced sepia art from line drawings.

While Herman ran the firm, Adolph Wittemann acted as an agent, finding customers and taking photographs to be made into postcards. They eventually set up their own print shops in the United States, printing images from various photographers both in-house and externally. Over the years, the style and quality of their hand-colored cards changed, but their RGB palette remained consistent.

In 1952, the Albertype Company was purchased by the Artvue Post Card Company. Despite their significant contributions to the postcard industry, they discontinued their operations after the acquisition.

Gay Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Mount Vernon, Ohio (Date Unknown) | The Albertype Co.
Vintage postcard showing the Gay Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Alumni Gateway and Soldiers’ Monument, Ohio University Campus, Athens, Ohio (Date Unknown) | The Albertype Co.
Vintage hand-colored postcard shows the Alumni Gateway and Soldiers’ Monument on the Ohio University Campus at the corner of Court and Union streets in Athens, Ohio.

Source: Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City