The lithography part of chromolithography was invented by Bavarian printer Aloys Senefelder around 1798. Based on the principle that oil and water do not mix, Senefelder drew images on polisted stone in greasy crayon, covered there maining surfaces of stone with a thin film of water, and then applied printing inks to the stone. He discovered that the greasy images attracted the printing inks while the non-greasy surfaces repelled them. He called the newprocess "Chemical Printing" or "Stone Lithography".
At de very early stage the departement store " Bon Marché " (Paris) discovered the value of advertising, and began to issue series of cards. This trade cards which were produced en masse by printers where sold to different shops and manufactures who then printed their own advertising on the backs and/or on the front.
Other european companies such as Liebig and a lot of renowned brands provide an even greater diversity of material. This is often of extremely high quality reflecting the craftsmanship of the period and ideal material for, in particular, the thematic collector.