The Rotograph Co.

The Rotograph Co. of New York City was founded in 1904 by Germans Arthur Schwarz and Ludwig Knackstedt. Schwarts worked for the Neue Photographische Gesellschaft, a major European bromide photo paper manufacturer known for its high-quality photographic products. Knackstedt was from Knackstedt & Nather (a Hamburg-based printer). After taking over the National Art Views Co., the Rotograph Company became the American branch of Neue Photographische Gesellschaft.

Many of their early cards were reprints of black and white or hand-colored National Art postcards and were printed without any letter prefixes. Some of these cards include the Sol Art Prints logo.

The company emphasized its high-quality printing and a large number of images – over 2 million views from all around the United States. The proprietary rights were owned by Rotograph Co., but the company also printed cards with photographs supplied by clients. The local companies that sold the postcards would appear as the publisher while Rotograph Co. would be the printer.

The company closed in 1911.

Style A
Views that were printed in sharply defined black and white collotype with their titles printed in a separate press run in letterset.

The Falls, Elyria, Ohio (1905)
Vintage undivided back real photo postcard (RPPC) (c. 1905) depicting the Cascade Park waterfall in Elyria, Ohio.

Vintage undivided back postcard showing the Soldier’s Monument in Middletown, Connecticut.

Style E
Views that were printed as tinted halftones with divided backs.

McKinley Hall, Ohio State Hospital, Massillon, Ohio (1915)
Vintage postcard (c. 1915) depicting McKinley Hall and grounds at the Ohio State Hospital in Massillon, Ohio.

High School, Toledo, Ohio (Date Unknown)
Vintage postcard from the early 1900s depicting Central High School in Toledo, Ohio.

Style H
Views that were printed in a sharply defined collotype that was hand-colored.

City Park Scene, Columbus, Ohio (1905)
Vintage hand-colored postcard (c. 1905) depicting the lake at City Park (now, Schiller Park) in Columbus, Ohio.

Idora Park, Umbrella Rock, Youngstown, Ohio (1905)
Vintage postcard (c. 1905) depicting the Umbrella Rock at Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio.

Source: Metro Postcard & Canada Lakes Conservation

For more Rotograph Co. images not in this collection, check out The Rotograph Project by Chris.