Postman

THE POSTCARD ALBUM

POSTCARD PRINTER & PUBLISHER RESEARCH

 

Peter_Luhn_Barmen

Peter Luhn from the city of Barmen (since 1930 part of Wuppertal) was an interesting businessman, and the company named after him produced many millions of (subject) postcards. Born in 1869 he started in early years (c. 1884) already a small kitchen-table printing business of his own, with a tiny hand press which he soon managed to improve for better performance. From 1889-1891 P. Luhn was head of the book printing dept. of C.C. Georgi, Aachen. After his army days Luhn became head of the book printing dept. of C.G. Roeder, Leipzig for a couple of years. He worked on electric drive for single presses, automatic sheet fed apparatus and many other technical improvements.

Peter Luhn set up his own fine art printing business at Barmen-Wichlinghausen, Diekerstr. 3 on July 1, 1896. Letterpress and lithographic printing, cardboard packaging.

Luhn had a total of 15 letterpress and 1 litho presses and other machinery. Until about the mid-1920’s he employed some 120 people. During the last years down to 50 persons.

Luhn_print_room

The Peter Luhn GmbH (= Ltd. company) was later also described as “PELUBA-Werk” Like many other firms, and not only printers, the company disappears by the late 1920’s from the market. The last sign of life I have is a card from series 255 with promotional imprint referring to a price list dated March 1 (19)27.

Trademarks

Most common is the “Star” logo arranged by 2 triangles - the early form with name arranged inside which proved to be not practically. The first logo version was registered in Sept. 1897. The follow-up PELUBA word trademark was used from c. 1924 onwards. These two major logo’s are shown above in title.

Luhn “PELUBA” postcards

This company did not only publish and print postcards all the time, but printed also general, mercantile stuff. Barmen and the entire region was full with industry.

When exactly Peter Luhn decided to enter the postcard business is unclear. I have not seen any Luhn cards with undivided back (pre-1905) yet. Typical topo views were also not found so far. Concentrated on publishing and printing artists / art reproductions. From old masters (Spitzweg) to little-known or anonymous artists/illustrators. Landscapes, ships, animals, almost any topic was covered. Luhn cards were usually printed by four colour halftone process. 6 diff. designs per series.

Some cards are a bit “unusual”, some look amateurish arranged, others are again of higher quality. Same concerns the printing quality, which is often good for the time, sometimes even outstanding. Then again you find average to poor printed cards, especially of post-1912 date.

The production figures from a Peter Luhn advert from 1914: 115 series out by mid 1914 · 10-12 million cards always in stock - yearly production figures: 1911: 14 mill. cards; 1912: 17 mill.; 1913: 20 mill.

Peluba_works_1920s
Luhn_s299

Star logo series 299 - message dated 1920

Luhn_s214

Star logo series 214 - p/u 1909

Luhn_s199

Star logo series 199 - p/u 1916

Peter Luhn was for the time also a clever marketing expert and used interesting advertising. Was among the first to print pictures and postcard of himself by 3 colour process in 1907 after a photo made by the then new Autochrom colour photo plates invented by French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière. This process was far from being perfect in 1907!! But in return he did get plenty of publicity. For a sort of puzzle (with small pictures), the entire Luhn family posed for adverts. Not to forget the own (quality) postcard vending machines introduced in 1908. The advert with trains full with ppc’s is from 1927 and quite interesting designed. Claims to have produced 240 million cards so far. When did he start?

Luhn_series294_promocard

Interesting, but hard to find Peter Luhn series promotional card. This card shows all six views from series 294 with “Star” logo. I have managed to find 3 diff. samples only so far.

Luhn_s277

Star logo series 277 - p/u 1913

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