In the United States, a picture or
blank card stock that held a message and sent through the mail at letter rate first began when a card postmarked in December
of 1848 contained printed advertising on it. The first commercially produced card was created in 1861 by John P. Charlton
of Philadelphia, who patented a postal card, selling the rights to Hymen Lipman, whose postcards, complete with a decorated
border, were labeled "Lipman's postal card." These cards had no images. In Britain postcards
without images were issued by Post Office, and were printed with a stamp as part of the design, which was included in the
price of purchase. The first known printed picture postcard, with an image on one side, was created in France in 1870 at Camp
Conlie by Léon Besnardeau (1829–1914). Conlie was a training camp for soldiers in the Franco-Prussian war. They
had a lithographed design printed on them containing emblematic images of piles of armaments on either side of a scroll topped
by the arms of the Duchy of Brittany and the inscription "War of 1870. Camp Conlie. Souvenir of the National Defence.
Army of Brittany". While these are certainly the first known picture postcards, there was no space for stamps and no
evidence that they were ever posted without envelopes
In the following year the first known picture postcard in which
the image functioned as a souvenir was sent from Vienna. The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britain and
the first German card appeared in 1874. Cards showing images increased in number during the 1880s. Images of the newly built
Eiffel Tower in 1889 and 1890 gave impetus to the postcard, leading to the so-called "golden age" of the picture
postcard in years following the mid-1890s.
caught on to the usefulness of this cheap and fast method of sending messages, the poor man’s telegram - remember the
telephone did not yet exist - national postal services authorised the sending of postcards through their postal systems.
Postcards started to be sent
internationally in 1875, after the first meeting of the General Postal Union in Berne.
the 1914 - 1918 First World War millions of postcards were sent home by troops with the embroidered silk postcard being particularly
favoured by both sender and recipient. Those sending the cards saw them as something out of the ordinary, as a special
and beautiful thing to send home at a time of hardship and horror. Recipients treasured and preserved the cards as memories
of their loved ones fighting for King and Country.
WW1 embroidered silk postcards have always had an enthusiastic
following among collectors and recent years have seen something of a boom in their popularity. There are many types
available; sentimental, romantic, seasonal, patriotic, regimental badges, images of war destruction, and more, all avidly
The example displayed above is a scarce example featuring the badge of those serving with the R.S.P.C.A
Auxiliary to the Army Veterinary Corps.
The First World War was the final 'fighting' war for the military
horse. At the beginning of the war horses were used in battle but the inevitable devastating outcome was such that their
role was then limited to the burden of moving munitions, supplies, men and artillery to the front line. Conditions were
horrific. Sick and wounded horses were patched up and returned for duty through to the point at which they were deemed
unfit and were despatched. MIllions of horses served and died, by 1915 some 5000 horses were being put 'out of action'
Deltiology, the official name for postcard collecting, is thought to
be one of the three largest collectable hobbies in the world, along with coin and stamp collecting. Postcards are popular
because of the wide range of subjects, with just about every subject imaginable being at some time, portrayed on a postcard.
History itself can be tracked on postcards, be it historical buildings, famous people, art, holidays, streets, etc.1
A postcard or post
card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope and at a
lower rate than a letter. The United States Postal Service defines a postcard as: rectangular, at least 3.5 inches high by
5 inches long and .007 inch thick and no more than 4.25 inches high by 6 inches long and .016 inch thick.2
For the purpose of clarification, the term "Postal Card" refers
to cards that were printed and sold by a governmental body on which postage paid indicia were preprinted on the cards themselves.
The term "Postcard" refers to cards which were privately produced and were not sold with postage prepaid.
Most pre-1898 postcards share a few common traits. First, the postcard is characterized by an undivided back (no
line going down the center of the back of the postcard). Second, many contain printed lines on the back for the name of the
addressee and his address only. As indicated earlier, most were from big Eastern cities. It is also noteworthy that during
this time only the government was allowed to use the word "Postcard" (one word) on the back of the postcard. Privately
published postcards of this era will have the titles "Souvenir Card," "Correspondence Card," or "Mail
Card" on the back. Government cards will also have an imprinted U.S. Grant or Thomas Jefferson head
On December 24, 1901, the U.S. Government granted
the use of the words "Post Card" to be printed on the undivided back of privately printed cards and allowed publishers
to drop the authorization inscription previously required. Writing was still not permitted on the address side. The publishing
of printed postcards during this time frame doubled almost every six months. European publishers opened offices in the U.S.
and imported millions of high quality postcards. By 1907, European publishers accounted for over 75% of all postcards sold
in the U.S.
Britain was slower than its continental neighbours to latch on to the possibilities of picture postcards, and it was 1894
before the Post Office gave the green light to their private publication for use through the mail with an adhesive stamp.
Plain postcards were introduced in 1870, and some illustrated and advertising cards were used with pre-printed stamps, but
their use and popularity were limited.Even after 1894, picture postcards did not immediately become a big success. Early examples
showed seaside and city views rather than subjects or themes.
however, things were moving: subject cards had been published featuring the Boer War and royal events, and in that year, the
Post Office allowed both address and message to be written on one side of the card, freeing up the whole of the other for
the picture. Britain thus became the first country to introduce the 'divided back' postcard format we are familiar
with today. By this time, too, the size of cards had been largely standardised.
As of December
24, 1901, printers were allowed to use "Post Card" on the backs of their cards. All of these cards had undivided
backs (Writing was still not permitted on the address side). For Undivided Back Era postcards, writing on the front is acceptable,
not usually decreasing the condition grade of these cards but there are exceptions to every rule. The publishing of printed
postcards during this time doubled almost every six months!
In addition, European publishers opened offices in
the U.S. and imported millions of high-quality postcards. By 1907, European publishers accounted for over 75% of all postcards
sold in the U.S.
The popularity of lithographed cards caught Eastman-Kodak's attention as well. His company
issued an affordable "Folding Pocket Kodak" camera around 1906. This enabled the mass public to take black &
white photographs and have them printed directly onto paper with postcard backs.
Various other models of Kodak
"postcard" cameras followed, resulting in an explosion in the real photo postcard era. These cameras shared two
unique features: their negatives were postcard size (the major reason why so many of these images are so clear) and they had
a small thin door at the back that, when lifted, enabled the photographer to write an identifying caption or comment on the
negative itself with an attached metal scribe.
Also interesting to note is at the end of this period in time, the
picture postcard hobby became the greatest collectible hobby that the world has ever known and today it is still the third
most popular collectible hobby.
The official figures from the U.S. Post Office for the fiscal year ending June
30, 1908, cite 677,777,798 postcards were mailed. That was at a time when the total population of the U.S. was 88,700,000!
1930's the first of the saucy seaside postcards were being produced. You know the sort of stuff. Red faced fat man on
the beach with his handkerchief knotted at the corners, hears his wife say, 'You know Wilf, I feel like a new woman'.
As the dolly bird in tiny red spotted bikini wanders past, Wilf retorts (to himself, naturally), 'So do I.' Priceless.
At their peak, upwards of 16 million of these treasures were produced. However, by the 1950's
the Conservative government, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they contributed greatly to the apparent deterioration
in public morals and they were cracked down on. The renowned artist Donald McGill was the main target on their hitlist. However,
the more liberal attitudes of the 1960's saw a return to popularity. It was the 1970's and 80's which saw the
demise of this great British institution. A reduction in the quality of both humour and artwork, coupled with the rise of
alternative humour saw to this.
Originals are now greatly sought after
and can reach high prices at auction. Perhaps the best known saucy seaside cards were produced inland at Holmfirth in West
Yorkshire, by a company called Bamforths.
the middle of the 19th century, people around the world mailed messages to each other via the privacy of sealed letters. The
direct ancestor of the picture postcard seems to be the envelopes printed with pictures on them. The envelopes were often
printed with pictures of comics, valentines, New Years and Christmas. Thousands of patriotic pictures appeared on United States
envelopes during the Civil War period of 1861-1865, these are now known as Patriotic Covers. This beginning of decorative
items to be mailed led to the development of the picture postcard.
early mass-printed postcards had no pictures on them. They were designed to carry a stamp and the “mail to” address
on one side. The other side was used for the sender’s message. In 1861 (in Philadelphia, U.S.), John P. Charlton obtained
a copyright on a private postal card in 1861. However, his patent application was declined. Charlton sold his copyright to
H. L. Lipman, who produced and sold the Lipman’s Postal Card. It was a non-pictorial message card with a stamp box and
address line on one side and a blank message space on the other. Advertisers used Lipman cards to print messages and illustrations.
He is considered the father of the modern postcard. These cards were used until 1873 when the United States issued the government
Starting in 1898, American publishers were allowed to print
and sell cards bearing the inscription, “Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress on May 19, 1898”.
These private mailing cards were to be posted with one-cent stamps (the same rate a government postals). This was perhaps
the most significant event to enhance the use of private postals. As with government postal cards and previous pioneer cards,
writing was still reserved for the front (picture side) of the cards only.
1901, the U.S. Government granted the use of the words “Post Card” to be printed on the undivided back of privately
printed cards and allowed publishers to drop the authorization inscription previously required. As in earlier eras, writing
was still limited to the front. However, during this time, other countries began to permit the use of a divided back. This
enabled the front to be used exclusively for the design, while the back was divided so that the left side was for writing
messages and the right side for the address. England was the first to permit the divided back in 1902, France followed in
1904, Germany in 1905 and finally the U.S. in 1907. These changes ushered in the “Golden Age” of postcards as
millions were sold and used.
By this period, divided backs were almost
universal, except in a few monopolistic governments. Previous to and during this period, a majority of U.S. postcards were
printed in Europe, especially in Germany whose printing methods were regarded as the best in the world. However the trying
years of this period, the rising import tariffs and the threats of war, caused a swift decline in the cards imported. The
advent of WWI caused the supply of postcards from Germany to end. Poorer quality postcards came from English and U.S. publishers.
The lowered quality of the printed postcard, recurrent influenza epidemics, and WWI war shortages killed the American postcard
hobby. During the war years the telephone replaced the postcard as a fast, reliable means to keep in touch. Thus the
political strains of the day brought about the end of the “Golden Age”.
postcards were, and still are, made from photographs. Photographs can depict social history without words. They can show change
over time in a certain area. Aerial views can be used to show the urbanization of a town into a city, or any other type of
developmental, or demographic change. Photographs can also show the change in the styles of buildings, clothing, and transportation
in different societies. Postcards can be an outstanding source of social history, because they show what was popular or seen
as important in the area in which the postcard depicts. The photographs on the postcards themselves can show the changes of
an area over time. Postcards are a good source of local history and can tell a story of a specific area. The postcards of
Weirs Beach reveal the social history of the city over time. The collection of postcards includes those of landscapes,
buildings, street scenes, people, the beach, and other important scenes of Weirs Beach. With the collection
on this website, one will be able to see a glimpse into the life in Weirs Beach, past and present.
The picture postcard was not invented as much as it evolved from other sorts of cards. Playing
cards were used as visiting cards during the 18th century in Europe. They were usually the size of a playing card and had
pictures printed on them. Also, there was a space for the name to be printed on the front. Occasionally, messages were written
on the back. In 1777, a suggestion was made by a French engraver to publish and send engraved cards through the post for a
penny. However, this idea was not well-liked because servants or those who handled the card could read the message. Trade
cards were also used in order to advertise a business.
Towards the end
of the century and into the 19th century, the style of visiting cards changed. They became smaller, no longer had pictures,
and had the names boldly engraved on them. As visiting cards went out of style, more and more people began decorating their
writing paper and envelopes. The picture engraved as a heading for the letter would depict the area from where the author
was writing. These pictures, which were extremely realistic, evolved into the first postcard.
German government in 1865 initiated the thought of the first postcard. However the first postcard wasn't sent until Dr.
Emanuel Herrmann wrote and published an article about the use of postcards. The Austrian Post Office was impressed enough
to issue the first postcard on October 1, 1869. It was yellow and on the front had a two-kreuzer stamp on the upper right
hand corner. Also on the card were three lines printed for the address. The message was written on the backside of the card.
The postcards became extremely popular, as close to three million cards were sold in the first three months of sale in Austria-Hungary.
The use of the post card spread to Belgium and Holland in January of 1871, and then onto Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Then
the postcard appeared in Canada, followed by Russia in 1872, and France in 1873.
first postcard was issued by the United States Post Office Department on May 13, 1873. The marks for mailing on the card depicted
the bust of Liberty and a circle with the postage amount of one cent. Most cards were used widely as advertisement in the
U.S., until they were in general use after the World Columbian Exposition in 1893. Colored cards of the Exposition went on
sale and they became extremely popular. On May 19, 1898, an Act of Congress was passed so that privately published postcards
were given the same message privileges and rates as government issued cards. All those privately published had to be labeled
as such. This marked the start of the Golden Age of postcards in the U. S., which lasted until about 1920, when popular use
of the telephone began.
The reason why postcards became so popular is
because of the price. Postcards cost less to send in the mail than a sealed envelope. When first issued and all through the
Golden Age, postcards could be sent for one cent. Post cards were also popular because they were an easy way to keep in touch
while someone was away from home or on vacation. Many postcards took the place of family albums with pictures of families
dynamics of postcards have evolved greatly over time, changing their overall look. There are some postcards that look much
different then those from the time of their creation. The sizes, shapes materials, and the overall set up have all varied
over time. Some of these changes affected Weirs Beach, while others didn't. Weirs Beach had its own
dynamics of postcards as many other places did.
Postcards as you may
already know are not very large. They have always been rather small since their creation. Early on in the life span of the
postcard there was a standard size widely used in the United States of 3 1⁄2 inches by 5 1⁄2 inches. Almost as
large as the majority of modern cards which are approximately 4 inches by 6 inches. Deleted. Not all postcards have
to follow these size restrictions, and there are many exceptions to these rules, but for the most part these are the sizes
There are many differences on the front and back of the
Weirs Beach postcards. One thing that was always the same on the back of the postcard was the area for the stamp
in the top right hand corner. It remained in this spot throughout all the changes and remains the same to this day. The earlier
cards used the entire back of the card only for the address only, reading "This Side For Address Only". To compensate
for this lack of room to write on the back, the majority of these postcards had an area to write on the front, this area was
blank could be found on any edge of the card. These cards could be of anything deleted. Some, however, did not have
any space to write which left people scribbling over the picture, or writing in the empty sky. As time went on the law restricting
writing on the backs of postcards was lifted and a new appearance of the back was introduced. This new appearance had a line
splitting the left and right sides so that the right side could be used for the address and the left for the message. After
this happened the percent of cards with a space on the front dropped greatly. A rather small number of cards had lines or
the address, the non-divided had the least percent, but it seemed that more of the more recent, divided back cards had them.
Older postcards had no color when the photo was originally taken. The only way to have color
postcards was to ship them overseas and have them colorized. For this reason, many were just left black and white or an odd
shade of brown. The ones that did have color seemed rather phony, and the color schemes were unrealistic deleted.
Many don't just look unrealistic but they look almost hand drawn. They are of streets in Weirs Beach and other
places of interest such as the gas station or post office. The more modern cards can be, and are taken in color.
There are a few that are black and white, maybe to give a more authentic look. The most recent cards have the best color and
have views that were not obtainable at earlier times. This comes with the invention of the helicopter. There are many pictures
of the waterfront and other spots that can easily catch a person's eye.
postcards are the thing nowadays. Illustrations that are vintage have been the most popular pictures and images used in many
postcard printing projects. In fact, many have even made a collection of vintage postcards as a hobby.
One major factor of these vintage postcards being popular is that the vintage illustrations
have helped the postcard printing project to stimulate curiosity and interest of those who are not familiar with a certain
era. Attraction have been generated for most people that made it easy for most vintage postcard printing design to catch the
eyes of their target readers.
It’s a proven fact though
that people are most certainly attracted to things that are unfamiliar to them. Likewise, anything that speaks of, or illustrates
an era gone by piques almost anyone’s curiosity. What do people of a certain time have in fashion? Or what is the lifestyle
during a particular time?
It seems that the less modern graphics
are used, the more attention your postcard printing project can get from your target readers.
But do you know how these vintage postcards came to be? When did they start becoming popular?
From 1939 to the present times, vintage postcard printing first came to being during
the photochrome era. This is during the late 1930s. Also known as the Modern Chromes, the postcard printing pieces of that
age were catching the eyes of many collectors mostly because of the colors applied. The colors appealed to a population that
has embraced color images not only in their postcards, but most importantly in their movie industry. Hence, the popularity
of The Wizard of Oz film.
The very first “Chrome”
postcard printing pieces were launched by the Union Oil Company in their service stations in the western part of the US. In
1939, they were the most widespread print material in the marketing industry. They were quickly reproduced, with high quality
results, and most significantly, they were printed in color.
spread of these vintage postcard printing pieces were momentarily subdued during WWII because of shortage in supply. But they
were later revived and eventually replaced both linen and black-and-white postcards in 1945.
From 1900 to the present, there was also the vintage Real Photo Postcards that were produced from photos and developed
onto photographic paper. It is very difficult to know their exact dates because most have lost their postmark or the photographer
have not been able to indicate it in their postcards. Hence, there is much confusion in identifying them in the present time
as there is nothing to indicate if they are reproductions or not.
of vintage postcards tell the real from the reel by looking at these postcard printing pieces with a magnifying glass. A real
“Real Photo Postcard” has solid picture, while a reprinted one is made up of a lot of little dots.
Then there’s the Art Deco Era (1910 to 1930s) that made popular the vintage
postcards that have vibrant colors as their design. Art Deco subjects are usually of the past such as the ancient Greeks,
Middle Eastern themes, and Egyptian artifacts, among others. The most common illustrations on Art Deco vintage postcards were
ladies in fancy vogue style clothing; as well as the presence of sharp angles and straight lines.
Although these vintage postcard printing has supposedly ended around the 1930s, it was during this era that the greatest
volume of postcard printing pieces have been produced.
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you like and have worn, were you a hippy in the 60's perhaps you were a punk, do you collect postcards have a love of
cars or motor bikes? may be you have a story about a relative in the 1st world war/second world war perhaps the Vietnam war
or any other war during the 20th century, perhaps a story of a famous person from the 20th century that you met or knew, any
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