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Photochrom printing was invented in the 1880s by Hans Jacob Schmid (1856-1924), a lithographer for the Swiss publishing company Orell Füssli & Cie. It was Orell Füssli that registered the patent for it on 4 January 1888, and marketed it via its new subsidiary Photochrom Zurich – which became Photoglob Zurich in 1895 – the initials of which, PZ, appear in gold letters on the images produced in Europe. The process, which won a gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889, was exported to the United States by the Photochrom Company of Detroit, but declined steadily and disappeared completely in the 1930s with the appearance of the first colour films.

A photochrom print, obtained using a black-and-white photographic negative, is based on the colour lithographic process. To create it, a number of lithographic stones are produced, one for each colour; this quantity may vary depending on the final rendering required.

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