Archive for July, 2009

Rabbit in Hat Box Postcard

For more information on this vintage rabbit postcard, click on image.

Rabbit in Hat Box Postcard BackThe message on this postcard back isn’t so much amusing as intriguing.  It starts as follows:  “Dear Annie-  Was quite surprised to get a card from you, but was glad to get it you know.  Am glad that you like your place and probably if (?) was there, you would be more than contented…”  The next part of this message is what caught my attention.  “… Haven’t been able to secure any wine yet, but as soon as I do will send some to you.”  It’s signed Shakespear. 

Most of the postcards I sell are from the first part of the 20th century.  If alcohol or sufferage is mentioned in the message, I take a closer look at the back.  This is because the message would then be a first hand account or view of a significant part of US history; in this case, Prohibition.  Prohibition was the period from 1919 to 1933, during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption was banned in the US by the 18th Ammendment to the Constitution.  The postmark on this vintage postcard is either 1916 or 1918 (postmark isn’t clear enough).  The 18th Ammendment was proposed in December 1917, so difficulty securing wine would make sense.  The postmark might also explain why the message was signed using a pseudonym.  I wonder if the sender ever secured any wine?

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I recently started watching a PBS tv show called, “History Detectives”. This show explores historical mysteries by searching out the facts, and myths that connect local folklore, family legends, and interesting objects. I found my own mystery in the following real photo postcard. 

Grandpa in Wagon RPPCGrandpa in Wagon RPPC Close-UpGrandpa in Wagon RPPC Back

This real photo postcard is of my Grandpa, John Moran, sitting in his toy wagon on what the family referred to as “One Hundred Twenty”; per my Mom, the acreage of my Great Grandpa’s farm.  The wagon was what caught my eye as I have fond memories of racing my own Radio Flyer wagon down my family’s hilly sidewalk in White Bear Lake Township, Minnesota.  I wondered if Grandpa’s wagon was an early version of the Radio Flyer wagon.

I found out that Italian imigrant Antonio Pasin started by making hand-crafted, wooden wagons in 1917.   My Grandpa’s wagon wasn’t wooden, but made of steel.  I next found out Pasin’s toy wagon company was renamed Radio Steel and Manufacturing in 1930.  It’s first steel wagon was called Radio Flyer due to Pasin’s fascination with the new invention- radio, and to honor Lindberg’s solo flight in 1927.  This is where I get puzzled.

The printing process used to make this postcard was AZO TRI 1 (4 triangles pointed up in stamp box), which dates it somewhere between 1904-1918.  The back is divided, so is post-1907.  Grandpa was born in 1909.  These dates make Grandpa’s wagon pre-Radio Flyer.  The no. 4 Liberty Coaster wagon, the precursor to the Radio Flyer made by Pasin’s Liberty Coaster Company, was wooden with spoked wheels.  The wagon in the above postcard has spoked wheels, but isn’t wooden and has no wording on the side.  Grandpa’s wagon probably wasn’t made by Pasin’s company then.  Who did make it?

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Curteich Outhouse PostcardI was driving my Mom to her 5th chemotherapy appointment yesterday (she’s battling breast cancer), when we happened across a dead skunk right at the entrance to the hospital.  As expected, it STUNK.  Holding my breath didn’t work.  I ended up breathing the aroma in anyway as I gasped for breath a short time later.   How appropriate that the skunk was killed at the entrance.  My family is hoping Mom’s cancer is rendered as lifeless as that skunk now was.  So far, so good.  Life sure can be a stinker sometimes.

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This victorian trade card is available to purchase; just click on the image for more details.

This victorian trade card is available to purchase; just click on the image for more details.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the price of groceries were the same now as they were in the early part of the 20th century?  For example, Holland Creamery Butter would be 33 cents a pound (as of May 22nd, 1912).  Yes, I know.  I’m dreaming.  I guess all those Holland butter cookies (yum, yum) I could’ve made with the extra grocery money will just have to wait.

**The Holland Butter Co. was established in 1869 by George Linn.

You can find many more wonderful victorian trade cards with great graphics and advertising in my store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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This victorian trade card is available for purchase.  Click on the image for more details.

This Merchant Gargling Oil trade card is available for purchase. Click on the image for more details.

Merchant’s Gargling Oil Liniment was one of many “quack” patent medicines of the 19th century; this one being manufactured starting in 1833.  The “medicine” intended for humans was not manufactured until 1875.  It claimed to be good for strange ailments such as Chilblains, Sand Cracks, Galls of all kinds, Sitfast & Ringbone, Poll Evil, Horn Distemper, and Crow scab to name a few.  It’s claims were questionable as many patent medicines were high in alcohol content (so much for the temperance movement).  Alcohol dependancy was one reason physicians were critical of patent medicines.  For more information on Merchant’s Gargling Oil Co., see http://www.rdhinstl.com/mm/rs178.htm.

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Here’s a strange one for you non-farmers (and hopefully not so strange for you farmers).  Lillian is sending Mrs. A.W. a postcard, trying to convince her to go someplace.  She’s a bit impatient as she wants to go yet today.  Wonder where she wants to go so bad?   

Lillian goes on to instruct Mrs. A.W. that if she wants to go, to come up after dinner.  If not coming, to phone from D. Drakes so she won’t look for her.    Lillian writes that because Rosco “thinks he will want to beat his potatoes next week” (more on that later), they’d better go “today”.  There’s that word again. 

The last part of Lillian’s message tells Mrs. A.W. to “get a gait on you” and come.  What a quaint phrase.  I think it’s comical for Lillian to expect Mrs. A.W. to come “today” when she won’t even get the postcard until after “today”.

As for Rosco, I’m not sure what he meant by “beat his potatoes”.  We will have to wait to find out as he’s waiting, along with Lillian.  Maybe Rosco’s referring to some type of pest control action.  I’m pretty sure he’s not referring to mashing potatoes though.  If there are any farmers out there, maybe you have some ideas on what he meant.

Vintage Postcard with Beating Potatoes Message
Vintage Postcard with Beating Potatoes Message

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This darling postcard is available to buy; just click on the image for more details.

This darling postcard is available to buy; just click on the image for more details.

The child on this 1920 French postcard by Sergio Bompard looks so darling.  I noticed, though, the greeting was French for Happy New Year.  This puzzled me as it wasn’t a Christmas postcard and she’s dragging toys.  So, I looked into French New Year’s customs.

I found out that French families throw dinner parties for the entire family and exchange gifts on Le Jour des Étrennes, the day of New Year’s presents (originally March 25th). Previous to adopting the reformed calendar in 1852, they would then send fake presents on April 1st, the culmination of the New Year’s feast, as a joke to those who’d previously received gifts on March 25th. Note, the reformed calendar changed the beginning of New Year from March 25th to January 1st.

French people still prepare special meals for friends and family, but fancy restaurant meals and dancing occur as well now.  As for the April 1st custom of sending fake gifts- now, funny cards with fish pictures are exchanged anonymously.

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