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Posts Tagged ‘victorian’

Late 18th century/early 19th century patent medicines, particularly the old English remedies, owed their popularity to the following fact.  The multitude of ingredients inside might have varied (unbeknownst to the customer), but the bottle shape did not.  A patent medicine’s proprietor believed this distinctiveness leant genuineness to their remedy. 

Victorian trade card, bottle of Ayers Cherry Pectoral

Victorian trade card, bottle of Ayers Cherry Pectoral

Distinctive packaging may have made patent medicines easily recognizable to even the most illiterate, but it also made them vulnerable to counterfeiters.  Naïve proprietors eventually got smart and began to vary their packaging using differing bottle heights, mouth widths, and bottle inscriptions in order to deter counterfeiters.  This may also explain why many of today’s products, not just over the counter medicines, change their packaging from time to time.  Why chance loosing sales to an unscrupulous competitor?

Victorian Trade Card Ayers Ague Cure

close up of bottle on back of Victorian trade card advertising Ayers Ague Cure (notice the similarity in bottle shapes)

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I am fascinated with Victorian fashions.  My many blog posts on the subject attest to that.  I believe Victorian fashions have more personality and style than many of today’s fashions.  Sorry Lady Gaga.  However, today’s blog post is about the opposite.  It is about a piece of clothing with no personality or style.  This blog post is about a Victorian era hat called a “mob cap”. 

The mob cap is simple and serves a basic function – to keep a servant’s hair clean.  The woman in the below vintage postcard is wearing a hat similar to a mop cap (minus the flowers).  It looks rather plain in comparison to other Victorian era hats with feathers and ribbons. 

Lady vintage postcard published by Ullman

1913 vintage postcard published by Ullman of lady wearing hat similar to a mob cap.

* More vintage postcards of woman wearing Victorian fashions can be found in my web store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

* Be sure to stop back in a couple of days to find out a postcard message’s contribution to winter in April 1909 Redwood Falls, MN.

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Thought I would post a couple of comical Victorian trade cards to “lift” the winter blues.  Spring can’t come fast enough for me.

Comical stock card of man leaping over fence to leave dog behind.

Comical stock card of man leaping over fence to leave dog behind rather than having a bite taken out of him. (ouch!)

Minard Liniment Victorian Trade Card

Patent medicine Victorian trade card advertising Minard's Liniment for Nelson & Co. of Boston (poor guy)

Sweet Home Soap Victorian Trade Card
Victorian Trade Card advertising Sweet Home Soap for J.S. Larkin & Co. of Buffalo, NY (what kid wants to take a bath?)

* More great Victorian trade cards for sale can be found at Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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I normally don’t collect or buy photochrome antique postcards, but this one has a nice image of a Victorian woman fashionably attired.

There was a short period when I was going to grade school (and a little into junior high) that long skirts were back in fashion.  I had to talk my mom into buying one for me.  Funny thing is, I don’t remember wearing it too often. 

The other thing I noticed about this antique postcard, was the perspective between the woman and the people behind her.  The background people are so much smaller.

* Be sure to stop back to find out what Irish people consider lucky.

* Other antique postcards, and vintage postcards of woman available in my store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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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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Puzzle cards were a type of novelty victorian trade card used in late 19th century advertising to capture and keep a potential customer’s attention.  Puzzle cards differed from other novelty trade cards in that they required more effort and concentration by customers.  Below is an example of a puzzle card with hidden pictures.

Carters Backache Plasters Puzzle Trade Card

Carters Backache Plasters Puzzle Trade Card: see if you can find an elephant, monkey, giraff, bear, dog, wild boar, 2 camels, wolf, 2 rats, face, lion, lioness, and tapir.

TIP:  Hidden Picture Trade Cards with color images are scarce.  Also look for hidden picture trade cards with unusual hidden objects like “nigger eating watermelon” or “fat man on roller skates”.

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

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SXPC Real Photo Postcard, Victorian House

1912 SXPC Real Photo Postcard of Victorian House

“Hello –

I suppose you are angry.  I will explain as soon as I am able to write a letter; have been sick.  This is one of the pictures I took and promised you.  will have to stay in town for  a few months.  will let you know when I return.  there is no place like the Old Home.  does it suit you.

Lucile”

I wonder why Lucile believes W. E. Conner (recipient) might be angry.  It is mysteries like this that make reading old postcard messages enjoyable.  Lucile says she will explain as soon as she can write.  Obviously she can write, or else someone else wrote the message.

I like real photo postcards of Victorian homes for architectural reasons.  The design of the window caps, corner trim, and color choices on this home make what could have been a plain home stand out.  I noticed the front steps look to be carpeted.  I wonder if this was normal.  It is certainly the first time I have seen it.  There is also the possibility this house didn’t have indoor plumbing in 1912 (notice outhouse to left under the trees).  Postcards like this help in the restoration of Victorian homes.

** You can find more real photo postcards for sale in our store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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