Wilhelm Georg Ludwig (Louis) Knackstedt (*1863) and Hermann Gustav Naether (*1866) set up a studio for (industrial) photography by late 1889. H. Naether left the business around 1893 again. Louis Knackstedt the sole owner and collotype printing process was added. The K+N business was was found at Hamburg-Eppendorf, Eppendorferlandstr. 190 and a studio at Gr. Bleichen 30.
L. Knackstedt did run another business together with G. Constabel since c.1892 under Eppendorf address which appears to have concentrated on photography.
First K+N printed postcards with German views are mentioned by about the mid 1890’s. From 1898 on K+N printed more cards and began publishing and printing stereo views in postcard size, with first business contact made with popular French ‘LL’ company (see separate Stereo Cards page please). K+N must have added more collotype presses by 1899, starting to work for British postcard publishers in c. mid 1898. Litho presses installed, too. The successful line of ‘Souvenir Border Cards’, an interesting combination of colourful done lithography border designs with space for collotype printed (customer) views started in 1899.
By 1900 K+N prospering business moved to Eppendorfer Str. 106, into an own new factory. Before that found at different addresses. Around 1904 Arthur Schwarz, head of Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (NPG), the leading bromide photo manufacturer and Ludwig Knackstedt formed The Rotograph Co., New York. Schwarz was president, Knackstedt vice-president. Another joint-venture between NPG and K+N was the Austrian postcard company ‘Photobrom’.
In 1906 some 60% of K+N’s production was exported (mostly to U.S.A.). Had 290 workers, c. 100 million cards per year printed.
K+N took over the insolvent local printing company H.A.J. Schulz & Co., found at Wagnerstr. 70. Now they had two printing facilities, some 50 printing presses, employed almost 450 persons. In March 1909 K+N was converted into a limited company, Business capital 800,000 Marks. On 2 May 1910 K+N declared insolvency, the debts were equal to the business capital.
Just six weeks later a new company under the name Knackstedt & Co. was set up by Louis Knackstedt. Bought back the Schultz premises, and everything of the former postcard production, incl. some 80,000 negatives. With 14 litho + collotype presses, soon adding a (copper) gravure printing dept.
In 1924 the company was run by the widow of L. Knackstedt and son-in-law Ch. M. J(ulius) Richert, who was sole owner since 1925. In 1930 the firm used 2 letterpress, 2 litho, 3 gravure and 3 collotype presses for production. Employed were 45 persons. During WW2 K. & Co. had to move to Koenigstr. 14/16, entries in 1950’s Hamburg directories mention a Poststr. 14/16. By 1958 the firm was run by Walter Richert and Gertrud (née Knackstedt). By 1964 K+N had moved to Hamburg 13, Brahmsallee 105. Rothenbaumchaussee 77 was their (final?) address in 1967.
Although K+N / successor printed almost anything during the long history, postcards had been always a speciality.