Archive for November, 2009

Victorian trade card advertising Eureka Silk Thread - Chas. Shields & Sons Lithographer

This Victorian trade card, advertising Eureka Silk Thread, shows a sea serpent being caught with Eureka Silk Thread.  Why would Eureka choose to use a sea serpent to advertise their sewing thread?  A clue may lie in the undeniable draw or curiosity towards history’s unknown.  What better way to get customers to notice their sewing thread.

A Recent News Story on Florida Sea Serpent

A recent WTSP news story about a sea serpent swimming in a Florida canal says a retired engineer has recorded pictures of a mysterious 20-foot long creature that’s been swimming in the canal behind his house.  I thought to myself, ya right.  After reading the story, I still don’t believe it.  Here’s the news story if you’d like to read it for yourself.

Do Sea Serpents Really Exist?

I don’t know if sea serpents really exist, but it is possible.  Scientists have discovered 52 new plant and animal species in the rainforest of Borneo Island since 2005.  If these species can remain undetected for this long, why can’t a sea serpent remain undetected since pre-historic times?  However, I’d need more definitive proof than pictures shot by a retired engineer in Florida to believe sea serpents exist.

You can read Mysterious Sea Serpents, Parts 1-4: The Search Continues to learn more about these mysterious creatures.

More Victorian trade cards with great graphics and color, can be found in my store.

(note: I’ve been working on the optimization of my trade card web site for a better viewing/buying experience for customers, so haven’t had time to post sooner.  😦 )

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New Year Party Popper PostcardI originally posted this on Remember When Vintage Postcard’s page on facebook back in June, under the notes tab.  With the holiday season fast approaching, I thought my blog’s readers, who’ve never visited my store’s facebook page, might enjoy it.

I no longer post on that tab as I now have this postcard and Victorian trade card blog.  However, there are several posts on it my blog readers might find enjoyable.  Feel free to visit it.  Happy reading! 





The cracker was a British novelty invented by Tom Smith in 1847. It was a small, brightly coloured paper covered cardboard tube, twisted at the ends. When pulled, it created a small explosion or “pop”. Out tumbled a hand made paper hat, or small gift, and a motto or joke. The crackle or pop added excitement to Tom’s novelty, initially called a “bon bon”.

More wonderful new year postcards, perfect for displaying this holiday season, can be found in my store- Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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Excelsior Starch Victorian Trade CardI wondered how Victorian fashions were kept clean.  Excelsior Starch Manufacturing Company provided the answer.  This company was started in June, 1873, with $30,000 in capital.  The factory (or works) comprised a 110 x 150 foot four floor brick building (the graphics on the Victorian trade card to the left says otherwise, so am not sure on this point).

All kinds of starch were made using corn; from packages in any desired weight for use in preparing dishes for the table, to laundry (I was unaware a laundry product could be made from corn), and other starch grades.  Absolute chemical purity was the standard of excellence.

Excelsior’s Rise to Success

At first, the works consumed about 40 bushels of corn per day, and employed no more than 10.  By 1880, the works employed 60 to 70, with an average daily consumption of 800 bushels of corn.  This increase showed how prosperous Excelsior had become, with an annual products value that had reached about $125,000.

The Man Behind Excelsior’s Success

Peltire Hill was Excelsior’s superintendant at the beginning.  Mr. Hill was viewed as a practical man who understood starch making and the machinery used in it’s making.  He’d gained experience as foreman of Buffalo’s famous Gilbert’s Starch Works, supervised the construction of the Muzzy & Sage Starch Mill upon arrival in Elkhart in 1870, and then supervised the successful installation of Excelsior’s company works.  Mr. Hill’s experience sounds like the forerunner of today’s millwright trade.  This experience helped propel Mr. Hill from vice president in the company’s second year, to president in 1880.

The Excelsior Starch Works was one of the few in the country which manufactured by the same chemical process as the more famous Duryea Co.

More wonderful victorian trade cards like the above trade card, with great graphics and advertising, can be found in my store.

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Santa Postcard Checker Boots
Smoking Blue Santa Claus Postcard

Collecting Santa Claus postcards has been and still is sooo enjoyable for me.  These days, I look for an unusual feature in the antique or vintage postcard with him on it.

These unusual features can add $5 to $10 or more to the postcard’s value depending on how unique and scarce it is.  The features I look for include, but are not limited to:
  • switches
  • odd transportation (like the motor boat Santa I blogged about recently)
  • balloons
  • teddy bears
  • different colored suits
  • smoking (especially upside down pipes)
  • donkeys (a favorite), and
  • golliwoggs

The postcard to the right isn’t from my personal postcard collection (alas, bills beckoned), but illustrates what one could look for when building an outstanding collection.  It shows a blue suited Santa Claus smoking, plus wearing checkered boots.  In over 33 years of collecting Santa Claus’, I’ve never seen him wearing checkered boots.

Note, the Santa Claus on my store’s home page  is holding a switch.  It is from my personal collection and a favorite.  I also have a midgit Santa Claus postcard, but that is for another blog post.

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It’s that time of year; the preparation for the annual food feast.  Can’t wait to eat mandarin orange salad, Mom’s bread and celery stuffing, corn soufflé, green been casserole, jellied cranberries, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, my sister’s pretzel jello desert, and of course mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey (did I forget anything??).  In case you haven’t guessed, I’m hungry.

I’m an antique and vintage postcard, and Victorian trade cards dealer, so will share a vintage recipe from my Grandma’s 1957 Sunbeam Mixmaster instruction booklet.  Yes, I still use this vintage appliance.

Pumpkin Pie

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. evaporated or top milk

Set oven at 450 degrees F to preheat.  Beat eggs in large Mixmaster bowl on No. 12 speed 1/2 min.  Stop Mixer, add remaining ingredients.  Beat on No. 4 speed until blended — about 1 1/2 min., scraping bowl.  Pour into deep unbaked 9″ pie shell which has been chilled.  Bake 450 degrees F 10 min. then 350 degrees F for 45 min. or until silver knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve slightly warm with whipped cream.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans, if desired.

Pecan Topping:  For an extra treat — melt 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. brown sugar.  Add 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, 1/4 tsp. vanilla.  Spread over pie about 20 min. before baking time is up.

1910 Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard

1910 Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard, no. 4

Child Dinner_0001 Thumb

1910 Vintage Thanksgiving Postcard, no. 10

This week’s bit of trivia:
The first pumpkin pie was served on the American’s side of the Atlantic in 1654.

Note: Marie over at The French Factrice blog is hosting Postcard Friendship Fridays. Hop on over to Marie’s and check out all the postcard enthusiasts sharing this week.

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Standard  Sewing Machine Puzzle Trade Card

Victorian Trade Card advertising the Standard Sewing Machine for W. Hughs of Iowa City, IA

I’ve got this puzzle novelty Victorian trade card for sale, and decided maybe I should include its solution in the description.  However, with slight embarrassment, I admit to being able to solve only parts of it.  I am asking my blog readers for help. 

The pictures represent words.  To solve this puzzle, put them together to form a phrase connected to the Standard Rotary Shuttle sewing Machine.  Go ahead, have some fun solving it.  I will be very grateful.  For those who wish to solve this puzzle on their own, don’t read the comments.

Or maybe I should leave the solution out of the description?

You can find more great victorian trade cards with great advertising and graphics in my store.

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