Lithography Spells Style For Schmitz-Horning Co., Wallpaper and Wallcoverings Magazine, 1961

November 28, 2021

By Janet Dodrill

Reproduced from the article, Lithography Spells Style For Schmitz-Horning Co. article, Wallpaper and Wallcoverings magazine, Convention Issue, November, 1961.

wallpaper and wallcoverings magazine november 1961

Wallpaper and Wallcoverings Magazine, Convention Issue, November, 1961.

In 1796, when a playwright named Aloys Senefelder invented a new process for publishing his plays and music, he probably never dreamed his method would be used to reproduce hundreds of different things – among them wallpaper scenics.

The process Senefelder invented is called lithography. It was adapted in 1905 by the Schmitz-Horning Co. Cleveland, Ohio, to make wallpaper murals.

The Cleveland firm is the only firm in the United States producing decorative types of scenic papers by the lithographic process. The technique is also used, however, to make photo murals.

Lithography offers two advantages in the production of scenic papers. First, it is comparatively inexpensive, and secondly, there is plenty of latitude in producing various effects. Until recently, Schmitz-Horning scenics were done in a full rainbow of colors with blurred outlines. The new lines, however, have adopted the crisp, simple styling popularized by the more expensive sold screen printed scenics.

schmitz-horning company direct rotary press and pressman 1961

A Schmitz-Horning Co. lithograph “direct rotary” press here “grounds” on a double coat of an oil based paint. Only one color can be printed at a time.

“When Schmitz-Horning first started making scenics, customers liked many colors and complicated designs,” explained Warren Schmitz, company president. “In fact, it took more than two years’ work to complete the plates for just one scenic.”

Some color ways of this scenic were made in 14 printings, one print at a time. The complicated motif of butterflies, flowers and other greenery gave the effect of elaborated detail found in oil painting. This elaborateness has been abandoned by the firm in its new scenics which are painted “color for color,” according to Mr. Schmitz.

Yet today’s S-H murals are being produced in much the same way as they were in 1905 when Hugo M. Schmitz, Warren Schmitz’s father, and Will Horning, a lithographic artist, Founded the firm. Horning sold out his share of the firm in 1921, and it has been run by the Schmitz family since.

lithographic artist frank mayer at schmitz-horning company 1961

Lithographic artist Frank Mayer traces a color area of a new Schmitz-Horning Co. design on a transparent tissue.

Hugo Schmitz was an artist of some note whose work had been hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since worlds of art had long been reproduced by the lithographic process, Schmitz felt that wallpaper scenics could be made in the same way and much more economically than the hand-painted and wood blocked ones then available. So was introduced the first mechanized method of producing scenic wallpapers.

Within the firm’s first year of business, it established a modest distribution throughout the country, with a plant in downtown Cleveland as headquarters. In 1912 Schmitz-Horning moved to a two-story building at 777 E. 82nd St., where it has remained ever since.

In the plant of 15,000 square feet, the firm produces it lines of Murals of American, Lithographed Mural Wallpaper and Mural Maps. Schmitz-Horning was probably the first firm in the country to come out with a map specifically as a wallpaper scenic and called a “Mural Map.”

schmitz-horning company bookkeeper mrs harry james 1961

Mrs. Harry James, bookkeeper at Schmitz-Horning Co. for 37 years, checks a customer file. The firm puts out only its own lines which have been distributed throughout the U.S. for more than 50 years.

Mr. Schmitz estimated that his lithographed murals sell for about one-third to one-half the price of handprinted ones. The lower prices are due to the fact that lithographed wallpaper, although not made at the mass production rates of machine prints, can still be put out much faster than screen printed scenics requiring many hand operations.

The basis for lithography is a simple one: – under certain controlled conditions, oil and water will not mix. This process utilizes a flat printing of roughened zinc in contrast to a raised or engraved surface.

But before a plate can be made, a number of preliminary steps must be taken at the Schmitz-Horning plant. First, a design is needed. Providing these are free lance artists. Sometimes the artist will suggest his own design, while other times Mr. Schmitz will make a definite assignment.

schmitz-horning company president warren schmitz with sanibel pattern lithographic mural 1961

Warren Schmitz, president of Schmitz-Horning Co., stands beside a panel of “Sanibel”, new Schmitz-Horning lithographic mural featuring crisp, clean styling.

The finished art is usually half the size of the murals, which average 10-13 feet in width. Some scenics, however, exceed 20 feet. One well-known Schmitz-Horning design, “Westchester Hunt,” comes in 10 sections and runs a grand total of 11 1/3 feet.

A Black and white photograph of the finished art is blown up to full mural size. The Schmitz-Horning lithographic artist makes a tracing on tissue over the photograph. The tracing is an art in itself, since the artist is using a black and white photograph as his guide and must study the full color sketch to select colors. Each color must have its own tracing.

The tracings are then “rubbed down” on a zinc plate by putting them through a transfer press. The artist now works on the plate with a liquid crayon. Using the tracings as a guide he works in the color values onto the plate. Although a separate plate is required for each color in the design, both the dark and light values of a color can be carried on a single plate.

The plate is next put through a solution of gum arabic to delineate between the print and non-print areas. Parts of the surface protected by crayon are not affected by the chemical bath. But the unprotected surfaces react to the solution and take on an oxide coating. The plate now has the ability to attract and retain water on its surface.

The crayon is removed after the gum arabic bath, and the plate is ready for use. Its printing areas – those originally covered with crayon – pick up and transfer oil inks. The non-printing areas, those carrying a coating of oxide, will pick up and retain water.

Schmitz-Horning has three lithograph “direct rotary” presses plus a smaller press for scenic miniatures. The presses are sheet fed. The plate is attached to a large cylinder and prints directly on the sheets of paper which are carried around a second cylinder. Just one color is printed at a time and paper sheets are fed into the presses by hand.

Wallpaper scenics are but one of the many decorative and useful items reproduced by the lithographic process. May famous artists of past and present have produced lithographic prints which occupy a high rank in the graphic arts. Lithography is also the basis of the offset process used to print blotters, booklets, calendars, programs, greeting cards, children’s books, stationery, sheet music, maps and even cigar bands.

The oil-based paints used in the lithographic process have made Schmitz-Horning scenics automatically washable. “We’ve improved the process throughout the years, but even our earliest efforts could be washed,” said Mr. Schmitz. “A Woman wanted to know how to clean one of our old scenics in her house. I gave her very careful instructions, but the cleaning woman went ahead and washed it with LesToil. It came out beautifully.”

Schmitz-Horning’s new crisp styling is designed to appeal to modern families who want smart decor at a price they can afford, according to Mr. Schmitz. “Lithography still offers the most practical, mechanized method for producing large-scale designs,” he concluded.

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Schmitz-Horning Company Made Beautiful Landscape Wallpapers

January 28, 2021

By Janet Dodrill

Cleveland, Ohio wallpaper manufacturer, Schmitz-Horning Company (1905-1964), designed and produced beautiful high quality wall murals and panoramics for homes and institutions. Here is a selection of just of few landscape designs from their 1941-1942 catalog, “Scenic and Sectional Wall Paper.”

The company produced large-scale chromolithographs and was maker to Kro-Mura, San-Kro-Mura, and Venwood wallpaper brands.

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Treasure Island, no. 8044 natural coloring on Rachelle, five sections each 40" wide by 80" high, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Treasure Island, no. 8044 natural coloring on rachelle, five sections each 40″ wide by 80″ high, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

The Woodland, no. 367, two sheets each 36" high by 60" wide, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

The Woodland, no. 367, two sheets each 36″ high by 60″ wide, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

The Heron, no. 608, natural on off-white ground, two section each 40 inches wide by 60 inches high, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

The Heron, no. 608, natural on off-white ground, two section each 40 inches wide by 60 inches high, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

The Forest, no. 601, two sections each 40" wide by 60" high, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

The Forest, no. 601, two sections each 40″ wide by 60″ high, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Sierras, no. 363, three sheets each 36" high by 60" wide, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Sierras, no. 363, three sheets each 36″ high by 60″ wide, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Ming Floral, no. 8036, turquoise ground, four sections each 40" by 80", by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Ming Floral, no. 8036, turquoise ground, four sections each 40″ by 80″, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Larkspur, no. 8020, pastel colors on light yellow, three sections each 40" by 80", by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Larkspur, no. 8020, pastel colors on light yellow, three sections each 40″ by 80″, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Elysia, no. 8032, pastel colors on old ivory, five sections each 40" by 80", by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Elysia, no. 8032, pastel colors on old ivory, five sections each 40″ by 80″, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Die Niederlaender, no. 410, two sheets each 40" high by 60" wide, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Die Niederlaender, no. 410, two sheets each 40″ high by 60″ wide, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Chinese Floral, no. 80733, full color on wedgewood, four sections each 40" by 80", by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Chinese Floral, no. 80733, full color on wedgewood, four sections each 40″ by 80″, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Chinese Embroidery, no. 808014, pastel colors on ivory grass cloth ground, two sections each 40" by 80", by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Chinese Embroidery, no. 808014, pastel colors on ivory grass cloth ground, two sections each 40″ by 80″, by Schmitz-Horning Co.

Schmitz-Horning Co. 1941-1942 catalog, Scenic and Sectional Wall Paper.

Schmitz-Horning Co. 1941-1942 catalog, Scenic and Sectional Wall Paper.


Frieze by Schmitz-Horning Co. Based on Henry G. Keller Painting

June 30, 2020

By Janet Dodrill

The Garden of the Gods, No. 362, wall frieze, Schmitz-Horning Co. 1912 catalog, from the painting by Henry G. Keller

The Garden of the Gods, No. 362, wall frieze, Schmitz-Horning Co. 1912 catalog, from the painting by Henry G. Keller

American artist Henry G. Keller (1869-1949) designed works for Cleveland’s Schmitz-Horning Company, a wallpaper manufacturer. A frieze, which appeared in a 1912 catalog (from our Schmitz family archive), The Garden of the Gods (the gateway, with Pike’s Peak in the distance), No. 362, was from the painting by Henry Keller. The pattern was made-up of a sequence of six sections, 36 inches wide by 15 feet repeat. These wall decorations had unlimited uses, as the catalog states, in both residences and public places such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and club rooms.

henry g keller

Henry Keller, ca. 1920 (source: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

I am in the process of researching the painting, and will update this post with anything I discover.

Henry Keller was born the same year as my great-grandfather, Hugo Max Schmitz, co-founder and president of Schmitz-Horning, which was founded in 1905. Based on that, Mr. Keller must have been in between the ages of 36 and 45 when the wall frieze was manufactured.

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Resources:

Photo, Henry Keller, ca. 1920 / unidentified photographer. Henry G. Keller papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/images/detail/henry-keller-6384

Schmitz Family Archives

Detail, The Garden of the Gods, frieze, Schmitz-Horning Co.

Detail, The Garden of the Gods, frieze, Schmitz-Horning Co., chromolithograph


Hugo Max Schmitz, Newly-Discovered Artwork

November 30, 2019

By Janet Dodrill

hugo max schmitz

Hugo Max Schmitz, photograph, early 1900s (recently-discovered).

On a recent trip out of town to visit my cousins, some items were discovered in my uncle’s possession. Unseen artwork by Hugo Max Schmitz, my great-grandfather, all of which I had not seen before. In a couple of the works, there are similarities to his previously-known work. He was an artist and a co-founder of Cleveland wall covering firm, Schmitz-Horning Company (1905-1964). The stunning painting comparisons are below.

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Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

art study by hugo max schmitz

Possible study for watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil or gouache, early 1900s (recently discovered).

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

self portrait by hugo max schmitz

Self-portrait study by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, early 1900s (recently discovered).


Artist Hugo Max Schmitz from Wisconsin Co-Founded Schmitz-Horning Co.

July 30, 2019

Hugo Max Schmitz, 1930.

Hugo Max Schmitz, 1930.

Hugo Max Schmitz (1867-1938), my great-grandfather, was an artist and co-founder of the Schmitz-Horning Company, a Cleveland wall covering manufacturer. After moving from Milwaukee, Wisconsin around the 1890s, he established himself in Cleveland’s Art Club (formerly know as The Bohemians) and exhibited in group shows. In one exhibit he showed with prominent artist and club president Archibald M. Willard, in addition to artist and lithographer, William (Bill) Horning, who would become his future business partner at Schmitz-Horning.

Hugo had six siblings, born in Wisconsin between 1852 and 1860: Victor, Willam, Edward, Florentine, Mary, and Charles Schmitz, born to father Peter Jospeh Schmitz and mother Mary (Leity).

One day I hope to learn more about his close family relatives and more about his art. We do know that a portrait that he painted of a young girl received an honorable mention in an exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum of art.

He married in 1902, to Pauline (“Queen”) Maynard Reynolds, daughter of Cleveland banker Iri Reynolds. They spent their honeymoon in Venice.

Hugo was acting president at Schmitz-Horning Co., est. 1905, and was one of the initial artists for the firm, designing high-end color lithographic wall mural and paper patterns. He ran the company until his death in 1938, and then his son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz took over, who was already working in sales at the company.

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Hugo Max Schmitz as a child.

Hugo Max Schmitz as a child.

Hugo Max Schmitz, age 9.

Hugo Max Schmitz, age 9.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early still life artwork.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early still life artwork.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early landscape artwork.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early landscape artwork.

The Schmitz family of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, late 1800s.

The Schmitz family of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, late 1800s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (center), Paris, 1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (center), Paris, 1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (right) with his signature pipe, Paris,1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz (right) with his signature pipe, Paris,1890s.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early late 1800s or early 1900s.

Hugo Max Schmitz, early late 1800s or early 1900s.

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

Self-portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, 1898.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice done on his honeymoon, 1902.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice done on his honeymoon, 1902.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice became a wall mural pattern for Schmitz-Horning Co., early 1900s.

Hugo Max Schmitz’s watercolor of Venice became a wall mural pattern for Schmitz-Horning Co., early 1900s.

Original Wall Mural Design Panels for Schmitz-Horning-Company, Floral Garden by Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, early 1900s.

Original Wall Mural Design Panels for Schmitz-Horning-Company, Floral Garden by Hugo Max Schmitz, oil, early 1900s.

Portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz of his wife, watercolor, 1903.

Portrait by artist Hugo Max Schmitz of his wife, watercolor, 1903.

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

Watercolor portrait of young girl by artist Hugo Max Schmitz.

Portrait of young lady by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil.

Portrait of young lady by artist Hugo Max Schmitz, oil.


Hugo Max Schmitz and Warren Reynolds Schmitz, presidents of Schmitz-Horning Co.

October 29, 2016

By Janet Dodrill

Hugo Max Schmitz holds his young son Warren Reynolds Schmitz, in 1905.

Hugo Max Schmitz holds his young son Warren Reynolds Schmitz, in 1905.

Schmitz-Horning Co., and mural and wall covering manufacturing and printing company, was founded around 1905 (or possibly earlier) in Cleveland, Ohio by Hugo Max Schmitz and William Horning (“Will” or “Bill”). They were artists and lithographers.

Hugo was born in Wisconsin and traveled to Cleveland in the late 1890s, joining the Art Club, and befriending (and even traveling with) several established area artists. He was a talented artist, and wanted to offer high quality art that was affordable for people’s homes, thus the idea of reproducible art murals and papers.

Hugo was acting president, and Mr. Horning sold his interest in the company around 1920.

Around 1926, Hugo’s son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz, came to work at the company as Vice President and worked in sales after graduating from Miami University of Ohio (where he excelled in Debate Club).

hugo max schmitz

Hugo Max Schmitz of Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

Hugo was my great-grandfather and Warren was my grandfather.

The company had longevity in its employees, and many had multiple family members who worked there. They printed on two of the largest chromolithographic custom presses in the world (a third one being in London), and oversized zinc plates had to be shipped from Germany. The color lithographs exceeded a 40″ x 80″ sheet size and were printed in oil-based inks on high quality paper and were fully washable.

It was most likely one of the top ten wall covering manufacturers in the country of its time, and Hugo Schmitz was considered and authority on the Frieze, a continuous pictorial wall mural, and published articles in Decorator and Architectural trade journals.

In 1938, Warren Schmitz became president of Schmitz-Horning, after a tragic automobile accident and death of Hugo, 72. Also killed was family friend Margaret A. Hale, 66, wife of the late George W. Hale, builder of Cleveland’s Alcazar Hotel. Hugo’s wife, Pauline “Queen” Reynolds Schmitz was injured but survived.

warren-reynolds-schmitz-schmitz-horning-company-cleveland-ohio

After the death of Hugo Max Schmitz, Schmitz-Horning Co. was run by his son, Warren Reynolds Schmitz.

With Warren at the helm, he produced new patterns and product lines including scenic panoramics, working with several notable area artists, and developed sales and marketing materials including catalogs and small-scale wall scenics view books.

Warren Schmitz (“Bud”), ran the company until around 1960, and Schmitz-Horning Company closed. A bookkeeping document shows that a sale of S-H equipment to another local wallpaper firm occurred around 1964. A newspaper ad for the wall coverings sold through The May Company can be seen in The Plain Dealer in the 1964. Warren died at the age of 65 in 1970.

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Schmitz-Horning Co. Catalogs, Lithos Digitized at Cleveland Public Library and CleDPL

August 15, 2015

By Janet Dodrill

CleDPL library assistant Ray Rozman scans an original Schmitz-Horning Co. wall mural design.

CleDPL library assistant Ray Rozman scans an original Schmitz-Horning Co. wall mural design.

In going through the family house a few years ago, I discovered catalogs and samples from my great-grandfather’s former Cleveland-based business, the Schmitz-Horning Company. Since then, I have been researching and learning about the company, and our family’s role in the company.

The Schmitz-Horning Company, which specialized in high quality washable color wallpaper, artistic murals and scenic panoramic wall coverings, was founded around 1905 by Hugo M. Schmitz I, an artist and my great-grandfather, and William (Bill) Horning, a lithographer. Mr. Horning left the partnership around 1920. My grandfather (Hugo’s son), Warren R. Schmitz, acted as vice president of the company starting in the late 1920s. After the tragic automobile-related death of Hugo Schmitz in 1938, Warren Schmitz served as president of the company.

Through Google, Cleveland’s newspaper The Plain Dealer archives through the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s website, and family materials, I have started my journey of piecing together a historical footprint of the company and some of the people that worked at the company.

CPL Map/GIS librarian Tom Edwards scans a Schmitz-Horning scenic wallpaper design.

CPL Map/GIS librarian Tom Edwards scans a Schmitz-Horning scenic wallpaper design.

Recently, I discovered the public resources available at Cleveland Public Library in downtown Cleveland. Over several trips there, I visited the Cleveland Digital Public Library (CleDPL) (under the direction of Chatham Ewing, Digital Library Strategist), at 325 Superior Avenue, 3rd floor, the map department and the history department at 525 Superior Avenue, 6th floor, the business department on the 2nd floor, and the photograph collection on the 4th floor, and as a patron received assistance in researching and in documentation of our family’s materials.

Additionally, I was made aware of the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery, the library’s public online digital gallery.

Panoramic Friezes catalog, 1909-1910, the Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

Panoramic Friezes catalog, 1909-1910, the Schmitz-Horning Company, Cleveland, Ohio.

A dedicated library staff assisted and enabled me to do extensive high resolution and large-scale scanning of our deteriorating Schmitz-Horning original wallpaper designs and mural lithographs, and multiple company catalogs, with an early one dating back to 1909, and most being the only known catalogs in existence. The Cleveland Digital Public Library, a new department since spring of this year, accommodated me for many hours spread over several weeks by assisting me with scans on an i2s SupraScan Quartz overhead scanner, synced to a pc, with size capabilities up to 33″ x 46″. They suggested methods regarding the preservation and storing of the materials. Other equipment available included an Epson Expression 10000 XL for photographs, and several book scanners, one high-speed ATIZ scanner, and one a versatile and user-friendly Knowledge Imaging Center (KIC) scanner. The map department had a large-scale feed-through type scanner (plus printer), a Hewlett Packer Designjet T1200 HD MFP, which scans up to 41″ wide by any length, which enabled me to scan one-of-a-kind lithographic wallpaper rolls, some over 100 inches long.

A selection of the materials scanned will be available on the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery, making documentation on this historic Cleveland business available to the public. Individuals researching companies in the wallpaper industry may also find it useful.

Other Schmitz-Horning blog posts by Janet Dodrill:

Schmitz-Horning Co. Artists Created Impressive Lithographic Murals and Scenic Wallpaper

Google Cultural Institute

Schmitz-Horning Co. Ming Floral Scenic Wallpaper Pattern

Schmitz-Horning Company Created Wallpaper Murals and Art

Articles about Cleveland Digital Public Library:

Cleveland Digital Public Library Will Offer High-Tech Scanning For The Masses

Ohio: Grand Opening of Cleveland Digital Public Library (ClevDPL) Taking Place Today

Ohio Public Libraries Receive Grant Funding To Create Network Of Coordinated Digitization Hubs

Curtis Flowers scans a Schmitz-Horning Co. lithograph on CleDPL's large overhead scanner.

Curtis Flowers scans a Schmitz-Horning Co. lithograph on CleDPL’s large overhead scanner.

The Cleveland Digital Public Library (CleDPL) department of Cleveland Public Library

The Cleveland Digital Public Library (CleDPL) department of Cleveland Public Library.

Book Scanner at Cleveland Digital Public Library

Book Scanner at Cleveland Digital Public Library.

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