Postcard Manufacturer Associations Real Photo Card Cartels

Both logo’s illustrated have been subject of inquiries in the past. Some believing they were used by a particular company. Well, this is not correct and especially in case of the NBC ‘sun’ logo it would have meant to had been a giant company anyway.

Both logo’s are found on (bromide) real photo cards only, in 99% of all cases always inside stamp box. Although still around on many millions of cards, these imprints are often hidden under postage stamp when postally used.

The P.R.A. as well as NBC logo imprint can come along in various colours (red, green, blue, grey etc.), sometimes very faint, too. According my actual knowledge the printing colour has no particular meaning.

Historical background

The NPG (Neue Photographische Gesellschaft) with the director Arthur Schwarz was the first, biggest and for many many years leading bromide photo printing company. After the turn of the century other companies were formed (Rotophot, Aristophot and others) and within a few years and although growing demand, overcapacity and sinking prices/profits led to problems. By about 1906 (exact date not known yet) leading manufacturers formed the “Verein Photographischer Reproduktions-Anstalten GmbH” (P.R.A.) with headquarters at Berlin. Director was the boss of NPG and by April 1907 it represented 13 German and 4 Austrian companies. The aim was to have guaranteed minimum prices and fixed terms and conditions to avoid ruinous competition. I call this a cartel (‘convention’ is probably more correct) although today it has the smell of illegality. Back then it was something normal however, there were some 385 different cartels around by 1905 in Germany.

The logo imprint proves that the card was produced by a member of the P.R.A. and/or a company accepting the NBC price convention terms. It does not identify the individual manufacturer.

The trouble among member companies (Schwarz left director position, new heads were Paul Hamburg (E.A. Schwerdtfeger and Hans Kraemer (Rotophot). In April 1908 NPG and Berlin-Neuroder Kunstanstalten dropped out the P.R.A. and the convention was put aside. Finally by August 1909 the price cartel ‘Neue Bromsilber Convention’ (NBC) was set up. Still around by the early 1930’s as entries in photo trade address books show. The president at that time well known Heinrich Ross from Rotograph Bromsilberdruck GmbH, Berlin.

A more detailed article on the bromide photo manufacturers, cartels and conventions (also for other type of cards) and the general situation of the German ppc printing trade 1907-10 is found in TPA issue 23.


Other countries had important photographic printing industries before 1914, too. Above a sort of series survey of Étoile brand cards (Reference no. 14). Series had 5 different views each, some available hand-coloured.

< Postcard size trade card of the NPG representative / salesman Paul Wiebe. Sort of soap-bubble design.

A number of (German) ppc printers who had managed to stay in business in the 1920-30’s installed photographic (bromide) printing equipment.

This is a sample of Stengel & Co., Dresden from the early 1930’s. Style no. 61 real photo sepia (only dull). Stengel card no. 62034 showing a view from Freundenstadt, Germany.

Stengel_ sample_61_real_photo_sepia

The Dutch company L. van Leer & Co. was a major postcard printer. Louis van Leer, a lithographer from Haarlem, worked some years in Germany before he started his own business in 1869. The family business was moved to Amsterdam in 1890. Used Lithography, collotype, offset process installed in 1913, the year L. van Leer died. This is a bromide real photo sample card. Unknown (Dutch) place. Not. p/u.

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