Monday, September 19, 2011
Detroit Publishing Postcard of Wallace Way & Fitchburg High School, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
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.