"Edward H. MITCHELL"
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
By Pauline Watkins
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 '
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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