Posts Tagged ‘trivia’

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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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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I recently bought a Victorian trade card lot that contained a newspaper clipping in which the following question was asked, “Is my Prang trade card from the 1876 Centennial celebration a worthwhile item?” I was pleasantly surprised the seller included this as information on Victorian trade cards, much less their lithographers, is sometimes very hard to find. I decided to do an internet search to see what I could find out about Louis Prang.

Louis Prang, From Defiance to St. Nicholas

Louis Prang was an American publisher who learned colour printing and business management from his father, a calico manufacturer. When the Prussian government banned him for participating in the 1848 uprisings, he came to the USA. Sounds like Louis wanted more than what his father taught him.

Louis Prang used what his father taught him in his business, L. Prang & Co. From 1860 to 1897, he built a reputation based on colour printing; particularly large, technically brilliant chromolithographic reproductions of oil and watercolor paintings. For example, Louis Prang supplied the plates for Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St Nicholas”. What a cool piece of trivia.

The Corruption of Public Taste

Louis Prang was applauded for his aim to provide good, affordable art to the masses. However, this also got him in hot water. He ended up being charged with corrupting public taste by closing the gap between original art, and the inferior substitute (the chromolithographic reproductions). Humm. Why applaud Louis Prang, then turn around and charge him with corrupting public taste?

The Prang Trade Card Question Answered

Newspaper Clip Answering Prang Trade Card Question

(Note the trade card pricing tip at the end of the newspaper clip.)

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You can find more great Victorian trade cards at Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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Clark's ONT Cotton Thread Trade CardI missed last week’s weekly ephemera trivia, so thought I’d catch up with this blog post.

It’s Napoleon’s Fault

Ever wonder where the expression, “the bogey man is coming to get you!” came from?  It turns out Napoleon is responsible. 

Napoleon’s nickname “bogey” (from Bonaparte – boney to bogey) resulted from an act of revenge.  He blockaded Britain’s coast in the very early 1800’s due to the defeat of his fleet at Trafalgar.  This resulted in the serious depletion of imported silk thread in Britain.  The price of smuggled silk thread skyrocketed.  That was naughty Napoleon.  We women needed that silk thread for all those pretty Victorian fashions.

Weekly Ephemera Trivia:

Patrick Clark came to the rescue of British ladies by inventing hand sewing thread (2-4 cord) from a material readily available – cotton.  Patrick’s grandson, George, later invented a six-cord thread strong enough for sewing machines (circa mid-1800).  It was called ONT, which stood for “Our New Thread”. 

(Information from Sewalot.com)

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Okla.  Dec 27th  1922

“All are well here.  having nice weather.  Got home all right.  found everything all right but the wheat.  had to sow it over.  To Emma and ?     Lew”

1922 Vintage Christmas Postcard

When I first read this vintage postcard message, I thought “that’s odd, why would Lew sow (plant) wheat in December?”  OK farmers, go ahead and groan.  So, I looked up the planting and harvest time for wheat.  I found out winter wheat (Oklahoma’s number one crop) is planted in September and harvested in summer.

Oklahoma farmers actually want complete snow cover as it benefits wheat by being warmer underneath the snow than on top.  This might explain why Lew had to “sow it over”.  He might not have had the protective snow cover and had to replant as a result.  I’m not a farmer, so there could be other explanations.  After all, he did say the weather was nice.  I still think it’s odd to plant in December as I’m from WI where NOONE farms in winter.

A Bit of Ephemera Trivia: 

It takes less than ten seconds for a combine to harvest enough wheat for 70 loaves of bread. And one acre will produce enough wheat for 2 thousand five hundred loaves.     (courtesy of America’s Heartland)

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1909 Antique Christmas Postcard published by B.W., no. 370

 The mother on this antique postcard is making the traditional dessert served on Christmas Day, Christmas Pudding or Plum Pudding.  It is a dark, steamed pudding, with sweet spices, dried fruit and nuts, and usually made with suet that originated in England.  This pudding is definitely not for those on a diet. 

History of Christmas Pudding 

Christmas Pudding can be traced back to the 1420s.  Back then, it was not a confection or dessert, but a way to preserve meat (dried fruits acted as the preservative).  I wonder how long this preservation method lasted.  

The ancestor of the modern pudding was the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction.  During Queen Elizabeth 1’s reign, plums were added (a popular ingredient).  As the sweet content of the Plum Pottage increased, it became increasingly known as Plum Pudding.  Around the 1830’s, it became more and more linked with Christmas. 

Christmas Pudding Traditions 

Traditionally, Plum Puddings were made four to five weeks prior to Christmas (usually the last Sunday before Advent) as they needed to age in the traditional pudding cloth.  The household members (at least the children, see pictured antique postcard) took turns making a wish while stirring the concoction.  This is why the day became known as Stir-up Sunday. 

Tokens (initially a silver coin) were included in the pudding.  Whomever’s serving included it, kept the token. 

The Christmas Pudding is ceremoniously brought to the table after being doused in brandy and flamed.  It was greeted with applause. 

This Week’s Bit of Ephemera Trivia: 

The Plum Pudding was originally eaten at the Harvest Festival, not Christmas. 

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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