History of Postcards
Due to governmental postal regulations, postcards were a long timein developing. The direct ancestor of postcards seems to envelopes printedwith pictures on them. These first envelopes were produced by D. William Mulready, E.R.W. Hume, Dickey Doyle, and James Valentine. The envelopeswere often printed with pictures of comics, Valentines and music. Thousandsof patriotic pictures appeared on U.S. envelopes during the civil war period of 1861-1865. These are now known as Patriotic Covers. The first postal type card in this country was a privately printed card copyrighted in 1861 by J.P. Carlton. This copyright was later transferred to H.L. Lipman. The "LipmanPostal Cards," as we now call them, were on sale until replaced in 1873by the U.S. Government Postal Service.
The first postcard was suggested by Dr. Emanuel Herrman in 1869, and was accepted by the Hungarian government in the same year. The first regularly printed postcard appeared in 1870, a historical card produced in connection with the Franco-German war. The first advertising card appeared in 1872 in Great Britian. The first German card appeared in 1874. Cards showing the Eiffel Tower in 1889 and 1890 gave impetus to the postcard heyday a decade later. A Heligoland card of 1889 is considered the first multi-colored card ever printed.
In this country, the earliest known exposition card appeared in 1873,showing the main building of the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago. This card, as well as other early advertising cards, usually bearing vignette designs were not originally intended for souvenirs. The first cards printedwith the intention for use as a souvenir were the cards placed on sale in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. During this period all privately printed cards required the regular two cent letter rate postage, the new government printed postals required only one cent.
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 as government postals).This was perhaps the most significant event to enhance the use of private postals. As with government postals and previous pioneer cards, writing was still reserved for the front (picture side) of the cards only.
in 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. During thistime, 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 a message and the right side for he address. England was the first to permit the divided back in 1902, France followed in 1904, Germany in 1905 an finally the U.S. in 1907. These changes ushered in the "Golden Age" of postcards as millions were sold and used. However, the trying years of 1907 to 1915 brought rising import tariffs and the threat of war, and thus a decline in the cards being imported. Political strains of the day brought about the end of the "Golden Age." From 1916 to 1945 Merican technology advanced allowing us to producequality cards printed on a linen typepaper stock with very bright and vivid colors. View and comic cards were the most often published. The Union Oil Series began in 1939, launchingthe new era of photochrome cards. Photochromes are commonly called "Modern Chromes" are still the most popular cards today.Despite the increase in postal rates for postcards from one cent to the current twenty three cents, the popularity of postcards continues to rise.
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