Warwick Bros & Rutter published over 7,024 picture postcards during what is known as “The Golden Age of Postcards” (1901-1913). Their business premises was one of many companies in the stationery and printing industries affected by the Toronto fire of 1904. The firm, located at 68-70 Front Street West was the Ontario Government printer, and copies of many older government documents were lost in the fire. After the fire, the company built a new facility at King Street and Spadina Avenue, just west of what is now the Spadina Hotel.
In 2001, the Toronto Postcard Club archivist had catalogued 6,488 of the Warwick Bros & Rutter postcards known at the time as follows;
B. C. – 301 Alberta – 223 Saskatchewan – 200 Manitoba – 273
Ontario – 3,370 Quebec – 323 New Brunswick – 567 Nova Scotia – 809 P. E. I. -146 Newfoundland – 23
Yukon – 17 Rocky Mountains – 21 Western Canada – 39 Miscellaneous – 166
Alaska (pre-statehood) -2 U.S.A. (Rochester?) – 1 Bermuda – 2 Mexico – 5
Although the firm was an Ontario based company, the founder, William Warwick (c1830s -1880) was born in Montreal to an English father and an Irish mother. His mother’s name was not listed in the book: “Warwick Bros & Rutter Limited. The Story of a Business 1848-1923” but a look through the “non-catholic Montreal BMD index” suggests that his parents may have been Guy Warwick and Louisa Fortune. Over 100 of his postcards were images of Montreal.
In 1847 William Warwick left Montreal for Woodstock, Ontario, where he opened a small book and stationary shop. In the 1850s he added a bookbinding facility and began to manufacture and publish schoolbooks and others. In the 1860s he developed his wholesale business, but finding Woodstock a limited market, moved his business to Toronto in 1868.
In 1880, while driving through The Exhibition grounds in Toronto, Warwick had an accident in which he was thrown from his carriage and injured so severely that he died within a few weeks. The loss of the head of the business was a serious blow. But, Mr. Warwick had surrounded himself with able and loyal associates, and these people took up where he left off. Mrs. Rosina Warwick, who had proven herself a worthy and capable assistant to her husband became the head of the business assisted by the eldest son, Guy F. Warwick. Arthur F. Rutter, who had joined the staff as a lad in 1873, assumed charge of the manufacturing departments.
Following William Warwick’s death, the name of the business was changed to “Wm. Warwick & Son”, the firm consisting of Mrs. Warwick and eldest son Guy. In 1885, when the second son, George R. Warwick was admitted to the partnership, Mrs. Warwick retired and the firm name became “Warwick & Sons”. Arthur F. Rutter was taken into the partnership in 1886 and Charles E. Warwick, the youngest son, was also made a member of the firm. In 1893 the firm name was changed from “Warwick & Sons” to “Warwick Bros. & Rutter”.
For some years, the firm made a specialty of the production of picture post cards. It was the first Canadian firm to enter the field with “Made in Canada” coloured cards, leading the way in three color and four color printing processes and making available the highest class of color printing at a popular price.
“Warwick Bros & Rutter Limited. The Story of a Business 1848-1923”
“The Warwick Bros. & Rutter Postcard Gems 1903 – 1912”
The Toronto Reference Library digital archive of Warwick postcards
TPC list of Warwick and Rutter postcards