"Edward H. MITCHELL"
DETROIT Connection


         To Further the early information of E. H. Mitchell's connection with the development of the complicated development process of the early 1900 postcards, one needs to read the below article written by Bourcy-Beckley in the July-August 1954 issue of the Post Card Collectors Magazine.

                         THE MITCHELL-DETROIT STORY

                    Development of the Messotint Lithograph

         In the recent research regarding Post-card Publishers issues, an interesting thread came to light. It is possible that Edward H. Mitchell was the original publisher to market post-cards printed by the process issued by Detroit Publishing Co. under the copyrighted trade name                        " Phostint."

         If this is so, it is not yet proved conclusively enough for the satisfaction of the writer. However, evidence of so strong a force exists, for him to pass the available data on to collectors. Perhaps collectors of the cards of these two publishers may compare information and verify the implication. Before the 1898 back, Mitchell was printing only MV Cards by halftone (1A7); Not until his B-3 issues did unscreened lithographs (1A5) printing appear. This was the 4th of Mitchell's PMC-1898 backs. In the issues for the first known time, appeared the rare Waters & Co. Photographers. The grain of the same cards were printed is quite coarse in comparison to the Detroit cards labeled "Phostint”.

         Now, Mitchell produced, or distributed, cards for the Art Litho Co. in San Francisco (which in turn. provided cards for Galloway). These Art Litho cards are Mitchell's A-1 back.

         Meanwhile, the Art Litho Publishing Co., New York issued a series of cards on Detroit, C-1 back. These cards are from Taber Photographs from San Francisco, and are printed by the same process.


This side is exclusively for the address                       This side exclusively for the address

ART LITHO Co., New York (A-1 issue) ART LITHO CO. San Francisco, (B-1 issue) No other publisher is yet, known to have printed cards this early, by the exact process; Mitchell, Detroit, Art Litho (S. F.) and Art Litho (N.Y.) are the only four publishers yet known to have issued this type of printing from this grain of stone, this early. Editor's note: this was probably an experimental time in the printing process by many companies!

         From here there seems to have been a jump to Spain.  The next issue, so far to appear, is that of Bevan & Co., Malaga, (A-1 issue). However, here, while the stone appears to be the same type, Bevan & Co. attempted a crude Ben Day (1A7) in portions of the picture; the unscreened sections of the stone seems to be the same.

         Vouga & Co., Geneva (A-1 issue) next appears with this process and stone. There is a finer control than on the earliest Detroit’s and Mitchell’s, but the "Phostint" refinement has not yet been developed. This refinement it seems was accomplished by Ernest Richter. Rome, in his B-1 issue; these are the most excellent mezzotint lithographs ever produced. All if these are early, quite rare issues.

         Now the photographic process of the preparation of the stone came into open admission with the use of the word photochromiekarte. Richter seems to have made at least one early issue for the Purger & Co., Munich (SI-1). Metz, Tubinger & Basel next produced a slightly inferior card using the same name photochromiekarte.

         After the turn of the century, these lithograph mezzotints reached England and the United States. The Photochrom Co., London and Detroit, using the process. Both the Detroit Publishing (or Photographie) Co., and the Photochrom Co., Detroit have issues on P. M. C. 1898 backs, but the word Phostint does not appear on these PMC issues (see The Detroit publishing handbook, by Burdick for date appearances).

         Finally, we show here two Detroit Co. cards:


                     Card " A "

     Card "A" is Detroit's C-1 issue. (See articles on Detroit in

March-April, 1954 issue of this magazine) Card "B" is Detroit's E-1 issue. Card "A" is printed from exactly the same grain of stone as the Vouga & Co., Geneva A-1 issue, and the early Mitchell Mezzintint.


                     Card " B "

    Card "B" is slightly off register, but is printed from the same grain stone which Richter used to print the Purger & Co. SI-1 issue. The improvement in the printing coincides perfectly with the time passage in all companies' issues, except Richter's own (B-1) issue. It appears the quality of Richter's card has never been quite equaled and that the Detroit quality did not quite approach it till they later appeared with the "PHOSTINT" line.

         From this, there is a strong implication that the photographic mezzotint lithograph process was first applied to Post-cards by Edward H. Mitchell in San Francisco or his associates; that Mitchell probably (?) produced (at least the pictures of) some of the early Detroit Co. issues; that the process went from the West coast of the United states to Spain, Switzerland and Italy (where it was refined by Richter & Co.) and from there to Germany; that the process returned to the United states, refined, through the agency of the Photochrom Co. (both in England and in Detroit); and finally that it reached wide-spread distribution under the trademark "PHOSTINT" of the Detroit Publishing Co.                      




         Many duplicators, correlations, pairs and "matchings" have been shown to me by interested collectors, associating pictures, stoned and publishers' credit lines. Perhaps you have some in your own collection which will interest you: good hunting!

                        DETROIT OR MITCHELL?

                          By Pauline Watkins

                 4416 Camero Ave., Hollywood 27, Calif.

         In Vol. XI, No. 8 of this magazine, Mr. W Bourcy-Beckley brought out information that led him to believe Edward H. Mitchell was the original publisher of the printing process later used by the Detroit Publishing co. He did not have positive proof. There is positive proof that Waters & Co., Photographers, were the original photographers on the fourth series of Mitchell's Cards. The name 'Waters' appears in the left or right hand corner of the picture itself.

         Check your Mitchell’s and find his name, and then check your Detroit’s and try to find the Waters name on them. The name Waters appears on a miniature Detroit Photographic Co., card copyrighted in 1900, card no 275, showing Union Square in San Francisco.

         This proves that Detroit and Mitchell used the same negatives and Waters was a Mitchell photographer, then Detroit used Mitchell plates. Many Detroit’s show scratched space at the bottom, proving that a name had been removed. Evidently the connection was not wanted to be known.          This is conclusive evidence that Mitchell was the original publisher of the process later used by Detroit under the Trade name of ' PHOSTINT.'

       Editor's Note: This article shows how research develops. One article arouses curiosity in another collector to search for proof or disproof. This incentive spurred Pauline Watkins to seek facts which we pass on for the benefit of all. Examine you own cards closely, you may uncover an astounding find such as this!

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