A Time in Our History When Coal Smoke Signified Work and Strength

March 24, 2014 Travis Dewitz

As I was doing research for the Dewitz Photography vintage inspired re-brand, I looked at hundreds of letterhead examples from the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s. A common theme emerged from factory and manufacturing companies’ letterheads; smoke. Their letterhead almost always proudly bared an engraved image of their factory hard at work. Steam and black coal smoke expelling from the factory stacks visually implying the company is busy and hard at work and not idle. These are powerful images that I love but you would never see them in today’s world. Today, marketing for manufacturing companies is all about the people and products involved, photographed in a bright sterile studio space. I don’t think you could even find  a photo of a factory in any marketing material today but if you did, I guarantee it isn’t spewing black smoke. I think it is amazing how much has changed in just 100 years, within a lifetime for some.

letterhead the berger mfg co canton ohioletterhead cornell wood products company cornell wisconsinletterhaed allison brothers soap manufactures middletown connletterhead horlicks food company racine wisletterhead the rudolph wurlitzer co chicago illetterhead the lisk manufacturing co limited danville paletterhead reed manufacturing co newark new york


dewitz photography vintage inspired letterheadHere is a sample of the new vintage inspired letterhead branding that I am adopting. I am all about being unique and offering something others are not. Dewitz Photography is still a modern business but I am setting my foundation with solid ideas from years past. Paper is in here. Don’t you like getting good mail? The feel and smell of paper in your hands? When possible, you will get actual mail from me, from letters to postcards but don’t worry, as email is still timely and the main component of my communication chain.

I loved how businesses and companies always advertised their main specialties or the product they are known for right up along their logo. This sort of advertising was found on letterhead, bill heads, note paper, and even envelopes. They were proud of what they did and made sure the customer knew it. Many companies often included the names of the top members on letterhead as well. We lost some of this tactile feel in marketing compared to the present global economy.

Keep an eye out for my new photo cabinet cards if you want your own unique photograph stylized from cabinet cards of the past.

Travis Dewitz

I. Love. Photography. I love it. It lightens my heart, fills my soul, and allows me to capture life the way that I see it. I constantly yearn to show life in a way that hasn’t been seen before, to bring images to people in a fresh and innovative way. My favorite focus in photography, my specialty I guess you would say, is Railroad Photography & Art. Something about the rumbling of these great, big, beautiful machines. The way they shake the earth beneath you as they rumble by, how they invade your chest and you can feel the rumble inside you. The plumes of heat on a hot day represented in a heat wave. Snaking through a western valley, void of trees or any other distracting element. Just the train, by itself, in it’s own inexplicable beauty and power. From the time I was a child, they have captured my imagination. I’ve recently gotten into portraiture a bit, and I want to bring some of my experiences with trains to that arena. To capture the power of a person, the sadness, loneliness, omniscience, pride, love, & carefree spirit in a way that hasn’t been done before. I want people to look at themselves in a photograph I have taken, and see a side of themselves that they think no one else has ever seen. Dewitz Photography is all about capturing a moment in a way that has never been seen before, capturing a beauty that some never knew was even there.