Archive for the ‘Ephemera Trivia’ Category

“I suppose you have received my letter by this time.  We get the Practical Farmer & McCalls both, and have for quite awhile.  We had quite a snow storm Tuesday and it is rather cold now. 
Best Easter Wishes from Will & Amy.”  
April 8, 1909 – Redwood Falls, MN

1909 Antique Easter Postcard Flower Egg

1909 German Antique Easter Postcard Golden Flower Filled Egg

I like postcard messages that reveal tidbits of historical information.  This one mentions two periodicals – McCalls, and Practical Farmer.  McCalls magazine dates back to 1880, but disappeared at the beginning of the 21st century due to publishing company mergers after legal battles.

I was never able to pin down specific information on “Practical Farmer” referenced in this postcard message.  I did get the impression after searching for info on it, that a subscription to some type of farming periodical was considered essential to farming success at that time.

As for the snow storm mentioned in the above postcard message, records indicate 6 inches fell during April 1909 in Redwood Falls.  Records also indicate the lowest temperature reached 18 degrees.  We might think that is nothing by today’s standards, but 102 years ago a 6″ accumulated snowfall was no picnic.  People 102 years ago didn’t have the snow removal equipment we have today.  I for one am thanking my lucky stars I didn’t have to shovel snow in 1909.

* Remember When Vintage Postcards posts a picture of an antique or vintage postcard’s back when listing it for sale.  If curious, stop by for a visit and browse our postcards to see what was written on their backs.

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Winsch St. Patricks Day Postcard, Gold Shamrock Pipe

1910 Winsch St. Patrick's Day postcard printed in Germany

I was curious why the shamrocks on some of the St. Patrick’s Day postcards listed for sale in my store had 3 leaves, and others 4.  I went looking for the answer.

Did you know that the Shamrock, a summer plant with 3 not 4 leaves, was believed by those in ancient Ireland to have magical powers?  These people also believed the number 3 was a powerful number.

I never did find out why the shamrocks on some antique and vintage postcards were 4 leaf, but  I learned something today.  Cool.

Winsch St. Patricks Day Postcard, Shamrock Harp

Winsch St. Patrick's Day postcard printed in Germany

   * Be sure to stop back in a couple of days to find out who got left behind, and who’s taken aback.

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Ever get the feeling that battling the corporate giants was an uphill battle?  Riley Burdett found that out the hard way.  The pictured Victorian trade card is advertising for an organ company in which Riley was partners with Jacob Estey.  In 1871, Riley sued Jacob over an alleged patent infringement involving a reed board.

Estey Organ Victorian Trade Card

Victorian trade card advertising for Estey Organ Co.

Illness, Death, and Delay

It took 5 years after bringing suit, to hear the case.  However, due to the illness of one judge, and the death of two others, the case had still not been decided two years later.  During this time, Estey Organ Co. was allowed to benefit from a patent Riley felt was rightfully his.  How frustrating for Riley.   Two new judges then heard the case.  It took them just 5 months to make a decision. 

The Decision

The judge found in favor of Riley.  Ex-Governor Stewart of Vermont was appointed to take an accounting of profits due Riley.  Stewart took 5 months to find Jacob of Estey Organ Co. owed Riley $161,000.  This is approximately $3.46 million in today’s dollars.

No Decision Is Final

Of course Jacob appealed.  He put up a required bond of $200,000.  What?  Jacob put up money in an amount exceeding the awarded damages?  What if he ultimately lost the case?  Jacob Estey took a chance.

The chance paid off.  In November 1883, the United States Supreme Court ultimately decided in favor of Estey Organ Company.  Riley Burdett had fought then corporate giant, Estey Organ Company and lost.

Trivia:  If curious what yesterday’s dollar is worth today, see MeasuringWorth.com.

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Hills Optician Victorian Trade Card

Victorian Trade Card advertisement for Vivian W. Hills, Optician, of Norway, ME

Part of the claim on back reads, “… HILLS has fitted cases that the “so called opticians” said could not be fitted.  Thousands of eyes are spoiled by the use of spects not perfectly adapted to the eye…”  This claim seems to reinforce an entry from the Optical Journal of 1901 that warned of troublesome itinerant peddlers – “If you value your eyesight, you will place no confidence in the statements of tramps who go from house to house selling spectacles. They will tell you your eyes are diseased and nothing but their electric or magnetised glasses will save you from blindness. Such talk is an insult to your intelligence.”.  Sounds like wild claims aren’t confined to patent medicines.  Electric eyeglasses?  Interesting.
Trivia:  Zylonite,or zyl, is the most common type of plastic frame today.
** Additional Victorian trade cards for sale in my store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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Second Kansas City, MO Courthouse

1892 Courthouse, Kansas City, MO

Queen Anne or second empire Victorian mansions have sooo much character in their architectural features; from grand staircases, stained glass, and turrets, to pocket doors.  The woodwork in some is incredible (not to mention no longer found in today’s homes).  The above postcard of the second Kansas City, MO courthouse (razed in 1936) isn’t a Victorian mansion, but does have a lot of character too.

Unattractive Courthouse

Kansas City’s second courthouse had symmetrical and rounded windows, cresting, turrets, and was made of native stone.  It was located at 5th and Oak Streets, and cost $200,000 in 1892.  Some people were dissatisfied with it, and demanded a more attractive and accessible building.  I don’t know why they found it unattractive.  The aforementioned features were found in many Victorian homes of the times.  Did they find their own homes unattractive?

Inaccessible Courthouse

I also wonder why they considered it inaccessible.  It can’t have been the location.  The third courthouse was built just down the street.   Maybe they considered the stairs a problem?  I don’t know why as the stairs don’t look as steep as stairs in Victorian houses.

Courthouse Razed

We may never know the whole story regarding why people were dissatisfied with their courthouse.  What we do know is the second courthouse was razed and salvaged after 43 years of use as part of Judge Harry S. Truman’s  “10 Year Plan”, starting in 1930, to transform Jackson County and Kansas City’s skyline.

Ephemera Trivia: President Harry S. Truman was elected judge of Jackson County, MO in 1926.  He therefore worked in Kansas City’s second courthouse.

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Vintage Kewpie Postcard, Quill

1916 Kewpie Postcard by artist Rose O'Neill, and published by Gartner & Bender

 Postcard collectors may be familiar with Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie doll-like illustration created in 1909.  A Kewpie is a comical character with a somewhat larger head, big eyes, cubby and rosy cheeks, and a curl or top knot on top of it’s head.  I found out some trivia about the Kewpie I wasn’t familiar with I thought I’d share with my readers.

Did You Know?

  • The Kewpie was the first case of merchandising based on a comic character.
  • The 1939 New York World’s Fair time capsule contained a Kewpie doll.
  • The Kewpie doll was mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary, and John Steinbeck’s 1930s novel, Of Mice and Men.
  • The Kewpie is the mascot of the Kewpee Hamburgers chain.

I find trivia always fun and interesting; especially if connected to old vintage postcards.  I hope you found the above trivia fun and interesting too.

** Be sure to stop by the blog, The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, to view the many postcards shared on Postcard Friendship Friday.

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Vintage Postcard of Union Station, St. Joseph, MO published by St. Joseph Calendar and Novelty Co.

I’ve always found it fascinating to find out what famous person visited or slept at a place I’ve visited; kind of a twice removed celebrity status type thing.  In this case, the place is Missouri.  I was driving a brand new K car my Dad bought there for Mom, back to Wisconsin.  I’d just gotten my driver’s license, so it was a big deal for me.   Mom followed in the old car.

Union Station, St. Joseph, MO

The pictured old vintage postcard is of the Union Station in St. Joseph, MO.  The first railroad station (depot) there was built-in 1882, which boasted a hotel on the 2nd floor and horse-drawn taxis (courtesy of the hotel) in front.  It was considered a local attraction.  Sadly, the first railroad union station burned in 1895.

Who Slept Here?

The second depot, built-in 1896, was just as grand.  It boasted a dining room, a barbershop and a shoe shine parlor within it’s high arched ceilings, but no hotel.

Where did visiting celebrities and politicians sleep?  I don’t know about Buffalo Bill Cody (who visited once), but former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis slept in a private car there.

Presidential Trivia

Presidents William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson also visited the second St. Joseph, MO railroad station.  President Woodrow Wilson’s visited in 1919, a couple months before suffering a stroke that made him an invalid for the rest of his life.

The second Union Station in St. Joseph, MO was demolished in 1960, victim of the increasing popularity of automobile travel.

Be sure to stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for Postcard Friendship Friday.

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