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Feature December 2012

Kronheim & Co. in the USA

In recent years a number of copies of an almanac printed by Kronheim & Co. have come to the market in the USA.

Produced in 1876 for the Centennial Home Insurance Company, the set of twelve cards (one for each month) mark the centennial of the American War of Independence.

January from the Centennial Home Insurance Company almanac for 1876 printed by Kronheim & Co, New York
July from the Centennial Home Insurance Company almanac for 1876 printed by Kronheim & Co, New York
July from the Centennial Home Insurance Company almanac for 1876 printed by Kronheim & Co, New York

Each card depicts a famous scene from that war with a description of the event on the reverse of eleven of them. The rear of the twelfth shows an engraving of "The Principal Building of the Centennial International Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876."

The twelve scenes depicted are:
January – Washington at Valley Forge, 1778.
February – Arrival of Colonel Knox with Artillery at Cambridge, 1776.
March – Cradle of Liberty.
April – Battle of Lexington, 1775.
May – West Point, With Its Fortifications, 1780.
June – The Battle of Bunker-Hill, 1775.
July – The Announcement of the Declaration of Independence.
August – Washington at Monmouth, 1778.
September – General Marion Inviting a British Officer to Dine, 1780.
October – Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, 1781.
November – Entrance of the American Army into New York, 1783.
December – Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1778.

At the foot of each card is the inscription: ‘Kronheim & Co., 9, Dey Street, New York’. Each month is embellished differently, with a mix of flowers, fruit, birds, and geometric patterns.

The Principal Building of the Centennial International Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876

Joseph Martin Kronheim sold his UK business in 1855 to a Mr Oscar Frauenknecht who continued producing prints under the Kronheim name. J M Kronheim returned to his native Germany, where he invested in a company manufacturing bronze powder. However, he lost heavily in this enterprise and travelled to the US to set up another printing business. He did not remain there long, leaving his son in charge of the US company, he returned to England to rejoin his old company.

The Almanacs illustrated here show the address of Kronheim & Co. in New York. It is not yet clear whether it was J M Kronheim or his son who produced them, or even an office of the UK business based in New York?