Monday, September 19, 2011
This card was produced by Detroit Publishing, and I've always felt the "Detroit" cards were kind of special.
Detroit Publishing started in the later part of the 19th century as Detroit Photographic Co., then changed their name to Detroit Publishing in 1905. I believe they went out of business in 1924. Detroit Photographic (later Publishing) apparently received the right to use a process called "Photochrome" in North America. This was a process developed by a company in Zurich & it was used for coloring black and white photography. I think. On later "Detroit" cards they call the process "Phostint", and say they're the only one who use it.
This process is what makes these cards a bit special. The color & image is sharper and more detailed than other cards, and they have a look to them I can recognize immediately. All things being equal, I'll charge a little more for a "Detroit" card than I will for others. They are better quality.
Detroit Publishing subjects are pretty much anything - this one is a High School in Fitchburg, Mass. There are a lot of scenic cards, a lot of urban scenes and so on. And like all postcards from this era, they document things and a way of living that no longer exist. There are still many to be had, and they are relatively inexpensive.
I can estimate the age of this card within a couple of years - it is 104 to 106 years old. Its an undivided back card - after 1907 the back of the cards were divided for an address & message. Also the caption (which you can't see in the photo posted here) says "Detroit Publishing". I know that name wasn't used until 1905, so this card was created in 1905 or 1906, perhaps early 1907 at the latest.
I have no idea if the scene it captured still exists - my guess is that it doesn't.
Friday, September 16, 2011
This is a Victorian Trade Card, probably from the 1880s. These cards were used as advertisments for businesses, and I believe were given out free to customers. Many people collected them, pasted them into scrapbooks and such, and over time I suppose had a very eclectic set of small pictures. Taken as a whole they are very good documentation of 19th century fashion, social history & values. Maybe.
Frequently the illustrations had nothing to do with the business they were used to advertise. Printing on he back of this one advertises J. Henrich & Co, Teas, Coffees & Spices, 503 N. Third Ave., New York, which has nothing to do with a couple of miniature toga wearing children setting a large egg shell afloat. But it's interesting just the same.
Also, its quite possible this same picture was used to advertise a completely different business - I've seen examples of that along the way. This was a time when any kind of truth in advertising laws did not exist, and not only did completely different businesses use the same pictures to advertise their product, they also made pretty much any claim about it they could think up. Lots of snake oil out there in the 19th century world.
Monday, September 5, 2011
This is a standard/chrome postcard of the CBS building in Columbia Square, Hollywood, California. Radio station KNX studios were there.
What I like about this postcard are the three cars - the solid green one and the two 2-tones. I'm not up on my automotive history so I can't really say what year, make or model these are, but they scream late 1950s. Back when cars were made of steel, back when they didn't have seat belts or a thousand other saftey systems we take for granted today, back when if you hit something while driving there was a good chance somebody was going to die.
These three cars were everyday vehicles, nothing special about them, anybody who had a job and wanted one could buy one. They were big, solid, powerful machines, with V8 engines and lots of horsepower. They just don't make them like this anymore.
I digress. I don't know the exact date of this card, but I assume it's from the late 1950s, because of the type of card it is & the way the cars look. In the original card, the colors are a bit sharper than what I have displayed here. It is very hard to get everything exact, no matter if you use a scanner, or like me, a digital camera and a light box. In the original, the sky is a dark rich blue, and I can't reproduce that without putting everything else out of whack. It's the limitation of digital photography, my freeware photo editing software and my abilities, but I do the best I can.
Friday, September 2, 2011
This is a CDV photo of a young woman, taken by H. A. Krull in Neu-Strelitz, Germany. What I find interesting about this is the hat she is wearing. In our eBay listing we called it a "Santa Claus" hat, but I'm sure it's not. It has a fringe with some sort of plume behind it, and they are probably white. The cap is a dark color, but which dark color is anybody's guess. She is also wearing a long necklace, perhaps with a locket, earrings, and a ring on her right hand.
Neu-Strelitz is north of Berlin.
On the back of this card is photographer information and a couple of medallions. Photographers, especailly European photographers, would frequently include copies of awards they had won on the backing of the photograph. One of the medallions on this one has a date of 1863.
If this were an American CDV, I'd estimate it from the 1880s, just by the physical characteristics of the photo and the backing. It's possible this is from the 1880s also, but since it's from Europe I can't be positive. It may be earlier. But I think 1880s would be a good estimate. No matter what - it's old.