Thursday, December 29, 2011

For Your New Year's Entertaining

Entertain 1960's-Style with this Party Perk percolator. It's perfect for the buffet or rumpus room! All we need is a fondue set to go with it...

Happy New Year from the Blog About the Postcards.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This Hits the Spot!

If the Chinese food from last week wasn't to your taste, how about Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner at the Spot Cafe, on Route 66 in San Bernadino, CA.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chinese Food!

Let's have Chinese Food for dinner tonite, at the Chiam Restaurant in Chicago. Anyone have a time machine to take us back to the spot of this vintage linen card?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shell Oil Tower

According to the architect George Robb's website ( the Shell Oil Tower was the result of a 1954 architectural competition for an observation tower at the Canadian National Exhibition. The Tower appeared as a beacon in the night, surrounded by urban floodlights and activity. The Tower glimmered from within, emphasizing it openness, freedom of movement, and purpose as a conspicuously important place in the city.

The Tower was completed in 1955 and served as a landmark for its citizens. It was torn down in 1986. Yet it still holds a place in the history of Toronto as a significant and visionary example of civic architecture. Here's a photograph of the tower at some point in the '60's. Looks better in the illustration on the postcard, dont you think?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Doom Products

Very nice juxtaposition of the beautiful and the ugly in this postcard! The advertisement is for a pesticide that kills Japanese beetles from the Fairfax Biological Laboratory's line of Doom products.

The back states that the brew contains "microbial spores of Milky Disease," which have "proved fatal to Japanese beetles in the grub stage, without affecting beneficial insects, humans, animals, or plants." Sounds to me like the first fifteen minutes of any good sci-fi horror movie, just before the characters realize that the stuff they spread over the roses is killing humans too!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy New Year 5772!

Happy New Year to all my Jewish friends. I've included some new Shanah Tova greeting cards from my collection. These were published somewhere around 1900-1920 by the Williamsburg Art Company. Each has the Hebrew inscription "L'Shana Tova Tikatavu" which roughly translates into "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year." The other wording on the postcards is in the Yiddish language, however I have translations for only a few of the over 100 different cards in my collection. Any Yiddish speakers out there want to translate?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poetry and a Hurricane

Here in New England we are just wrapping up with Hurricane Irene, only to be walloped in Connecticut once again with inches and inches of rain over the past few days. A fitting card for this week is an excerpt from the poem, "The Lighthouse," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The card has a view of White Head, which I'm guessing is near the Whitehead lighthouse near Camden, Maine, commissioned in 1803 by the U.S. Congress.

The poem is about a dozen stanzas long, with the one above somewhere in the middle. It is very typical of Longfellow's poetry: lyrical, full of symbolism and romanticism, and having mass appeal to his fans in the mid-1800's. If you're not familiar with Longfellow, you're probably familiar with some of the lines he made famous, including "footprints on the sands of time," "By the shores of Gitchee-Gumee," and "Into each life some rain must fall." Well, I'd say we've had more than "some" this round!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pickled Things

It's now approaching State Fair season in the U.S., where the food midways serve everything from fried Oreos to fried tiramisu to fried butter pats to fried Snickers bars. (In Iowa yesterday, some fried Republican candidates were served up as well).

In any event, if you can fry anything, I guess you can pickle anything too, as evidenced by this week's blog entry. Here's a neat vintage chrome advertisement showing an array of "Pickles with a Pedigree," from the Southern Specialty Kitchen, Statesville, N. C. They go on to boast on the back of the card: "Exquisite packages assembled from the colorful assortment pictured, boxed in beautiful foils, or re-use containers, glamorized with lustrous cellophane, gorgeous ribbons, seasonal flowers, fruits and emblems. Descriptive material submitted upon request. Shipped anywhere. Sold in epicure shops coast to coast and Canada." As if the prose isn't enough to whet your appetite for small objects steeped in brine, they even include a poem:

For zest and spice you will agree
There's nothing quite the same
As "Pickles with a Pedigree"
Home-Made by Dixie Dame.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy 150th, Mt. Washington Auto Road!

This year, on August 6th, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is celebrating its 150th birthday! Mt. Washington is the tallest elevation in the Northeast United States, rising to the summit of 6,288 feet in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Known as the site of the "world's worst weather" (the wind at the summit has reached 234 mph), the mountain and surrounding area is part of a beautiful national forest, blazing foliage in the Autumn and providing outdoor recreation year-round.

The Auto Road opened in 1861 as America's first manmade tourist attraction. Originally traversed by horse-drawn carriages, the road has allowed private vehicles access to the summit of the mountain since the invention of the automobile, like the one in the postcard above, and you may well have seen bumper stickers on cars around the northeast boasting "This Car Climbed Mt. Washington." At an average grade of 11.6%, the road rises a total of 4,618 ft. Click here for a blog entry about the trek from someone I don't know.

I've also included the bottom postcard, which is a view of the Mt. Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods, a grand dame hotel in operation since 1902. The hotel is set at the base of Mt. Washington and is a glorious throwback to another time. This coming week is not only the anniversary of the Auto Road, it's the anniversary of my wife and I (29 years), and we spent our honeymoon at the Mt. Washington! Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Peak's Island, Maine

Peak's Island is part of Portland, Maine, about a 15-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Ranging in population today from about 800 in the winter to 6,000 in the summer, it became popular as the "Coney Island of Maine" in the late 19th century. These postcards show the steamboat "Pilgrim" landing at the ferry dock, the view from offshore, and the Gem Theater which existed until 1934 when it was destroyed by fire.

The island also played an important role in World War II, when an isolated facility called Battery Steele was built to house a large military defense installation. It included two 16 inch guns, which were only fired when first tested, blowing out windows on the other side of the island. Today, Battery Steele is a hidden ruin consisting of a large underground tunnel with side rooms where ammunition was stored, decorated by graffitti and home to partying teenagers. An arts exhibit, called the "Sacred and Profane" festival, transforms the space into a performance and visual art exhibition annually. See the TimParsons Project Website for great photographs of this site.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Noah's Ark Restaurant

St. Charles, Missouri was the home of this restaurant, built to resemble Noah's Ark. It operated for more than 30 years, through the year 2000. The decor featured fiberglass animals and a statue of Noah by the door.

Get the full scoop here:
and here:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's Roller Coaster Season!

Now that the 4th Of July has come and gone, Summer is in full swing. Here are a few amusement park cards with great roller coasters, documenting bygone days of leisure.

The top card is from Venice Beach, an outpost of Los Angeles, California, with a postmark on the back of 1911 -- exactly 100 years ago. The amusement pier where this scenic railway was built burned down nine years later.

The bottom card is from the other coast, Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts, from about the same time period. This park survived until 1984. After it closed, the roller coaster, built in 1917, was dismantled and moved to Six Flags America Baltimore Washington.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2011

In-Zane Asylum

When in Zanesville, stay in the Zane Hotel! This beautiful linen card comes from this Ohio town, currently about 25,000 people.

The other big deal in town is the "Y" bridge, the only bridge of its kind in the United States. It spans the confluence of the Licking and Muskingum rivers and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors to the city are often surprised when they receive directions including the statement, "Drive to the middle of the bridge and turn right."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Arizona Precision Sheet Metal

What does it take to sell sheet metal machinery? It takes "Cindy," the girl showing off the new Automec machine! Here's the text from the back of the card:

Our Cindy says, "What is an Automec?" Well, we never could keep a secret, but then there is a first time for everything. We ain't-a-going to tell ya this eliminates the manual need to re-adjust the back gage. With six different settings and up to nine repeats per setting, Arizona Precision Sheet Metal can reduce your forming costs and increase the accuracy with the one time handling principal. Cindy likes things in the right position!

Times have changed, huh?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Imperial Girls' Band

Brass Bands in the early 1900's provided much of the local musical entertainment in towns across America. These community organizations were formed by the towns themselves, clubs and organizations, and even factories. There are lots of great Real Photo postcards of bands of that era, and it's easy to imagine them just having bought all their instruments and costumes directly from Harold Hill, right out of "The Music Man."

This postcard is different, in that it depicts an all-girls' band -- a rarity in that nearly all the musicians in all these bands were boys or men. These young ladies look very proud of themselves, and all the more so because of their uniqueness!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Never Built

This graceful bridge, from New Jersey to Manhattan, won't look familiar to you, because it was never built. The precursor to the George Washington Bridge, this version was severely scaled down due to the Great Depression. The entire story is here:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Vintage Office Equipment

From the back of the card:

Check these features and compare: Automatic Inking, 3 minute color change, No drum, no ink pad, Prints post card to legal size, 3-way copy adjustment, Printing area 8 x 14, Automatic cutoff counter, No make-ready or clean up, Printing press quality. The BDC Rex Rotary M4 is always clean, can never leak or cake. Full One Year Guarantee. Electric automatic inking - $345, Hand automatic inking - $250, Hand manual inking $210. Lucas Bros. Inc. Ask for a free demonstration in your own office.

Can you smell the purple ink?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Crest Motel

I love this postcard because this place looks like a total dump. They took extra effort to include an inset of the swimming pool, but how could that be a good idea? The pool has few chairs around it, and it is so close to the parking lot that you could breathe the car exhaust while you swim (or drive your car into the pool since there's no fence around the pool to keep out your '62 Dodge or your 2-year old child).

The best part is the sign. It's a total ripoff of the Holiday Inn "Great Sign." If you look closely at photos of the old Holiday Inn signs, it's clear that this is not one of them, since the proportions are different and there's no marquee to hang the letters on that spell "Happy Anniversary Marge and Jim" on one side and "Visit Our Lounge" on the other.

Here's a "Great Sign" for comparison...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

British Pavilion - Expo'67

My postcard collection is pretty lame when it comes to British Royalty, so I have nothing to post in honor of the wedding today. I do have a lot of cards of the World's Fair in Montreal, 1967, however, so with a little bit of a stretch to make the connection, here are two views of the Great Britain pavilion from Expo'67! The bottom view is one of a series of cards depicting architectural models of the various pavilions, presumably sold before the fair's construction was completed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fish Shanty, Los Angeles

From the back: Located in the heart of Restaurant Row, La Cienega at Fourth. Fish and Sea Food Luncheons, Dinners, and Cocktails temptingly served in a unique Marine Setting.

Not on the back: Our front door is shaped like a whale's mouth, enhancing your dining experience.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Luxury Hotel

This fine establishment is really not in San Juan -- it's in Pennsylvannia. Certainly a fine homage to the Latin tropics, we might wonder nevertheless why this place was built in Amish country, sombrero mucho grande and all. The back marks the location on "U. S. 22, Penn Highway 6 miles east of Pittsburgh 21, Pa., at Turnpike Entrance. " And it case it wasn't clear from the picture, it goes on to describe the hotel as "A Luxurious Hotel -- the finest accomodations at the Pittsburgh Turnpike Entrance." My guess is that it was the only hotel at the Pittsburgh Turnpike Entrance.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Office of the Past

Here's the "Simplifind" filing system, for "records that come to you." Today, lots of deskfuls of these records would fit in your pocket on a jump drive!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BBQ Season is Near

...and to make sure you're ready, git yourself a Big John Grille or Big John Rotisserie -- the "Talk of Partygivers."

This advertising card makes the most of the postcard format. Four different pictures of burning animal flesh (in case one doesn't make the point), with a bikini-clad grill supervisor thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Union Station, Las Vegas

The Las Vegas Union Pacific Station was the best example of Streamline Moderne in Las Vegas. It was built in 1940 and replaced a 30-year-old Spanish-style station. It was demolished in the mid-1960s to build the Union Plaza Hotel. Amtrak continued train service to the back of the hotel until 1993.

The Union Plaza Hotel, now called the Plaza Hotel, announced in September, 2010 that it was closing its 1,037-room hotel tower and will lay off more than 400 employees, in order to make upgrades and re-open in a very difficult economy. The Plaza is the white building in the foreground of this photo:


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Awesome Awning

"Other Awnings Can't Stand It," is the catch phrase on the reverse of this postcard for the Silver-Top Manufacturing Co. Of course, this roof probably collapsed a few weeks ago during the Northeast snowstorms of 2011, where we had foot upon foot of snow on our roofs, with numerous collapses around here in Connecticut.

Note that in addition to the workmen, two suits and Lassie are also up on the roof. A very effective demonstration of the strength of the aluminum!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Office of the Past

Here's the latest in Dictaphones -- the Traveler Soundscriber. It's battery operated and features cool green disks branded nicely with the logo.

I just discovered more information about this on an item currently listed on Ebay! See this link:

This is a "trick" postcard, as the back's actually a postcard sample from the publisher, with the following description on the back:
"This copy you are reading represents the approximate amount and layout included in the cost of your post card order. Anything in excess of this, or differing in layout, will carry an extra charge.
This card is a standard post card format. Cards will always be printed in this form unless otherswise specified."

Hmmm, I wonder how well this one helped their postcard sales!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Controversial Topic

They say never discuss religion or politics. Here I go, breaking the rule. This linen-era postcard from the American Legion makes the point that teaching your child religion will prevent all kinds of personal and societal ills. Is this card ironic and campy, or still right on in 2011? Discuss!

The back of the card goes on to say:

"The Altars of God are the Hope of a Nation, The principles of religion alone
can avert spiritual, moral and economic bankruptcy. Going to church regularly
will make for happier homes and a better community life."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After the Fire

Here's a view of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, postmarked on the back August 17,1907. It's a great view of the Fiske Hotel with a ferris wheel on the beach as well. The message says,

"Mr. Wallace and I was out here last to see the ruins of the big fire."

The fire the writer was talking about was the one on August 15, just two days prior. That fire destroyed the Fiske Hotel shown in the postcard, as well as 17 other hotels, 60 cottages, and an estimated 110 businesses. Voyeurs from miles around, just like our writer, came to see the ruins.

More about the fire, with lots of postcards, here:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fiddling Around

The owners of this Natchez, Mississippi motor court weren't fiddlin' around when they decided to name their place the "Stradivari." The shape of the sign says it all, although violins have a longer neck in proportion to the body than the one here. Anyway, we have to give them some credit for their creativity in branding!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Postcard Mystery

/ /
Here's a view of the Kalamazoo, Michigan Courthouse, postmarked 1907. The message from the sender writes a short message to Ralph, ending with the cryptic sentence: "I am awfully glad Mary kept her promise." OK, help me solve the mystery. What was the promise Mary kept?

It's Solid State!

Here's a postcard advertising the 500 MC Frequency Meter. If you were stuck with the job of marketing these, I wouldn't blame you for accompanying the hardware with a little software like Miss Sexy either.

Otherwise, you'd be relegated to presenting just the facts alone, which include "No. 2 in a Series from CMC," "Leader in Solid State Digital Instrumentation," "Only 15 vacuum tubes," and "Rugged Mudlar Construction."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Voice Mail Circa 1975

Here's the latest innovation...Your Complete 24-hour electronic message center. All you have to do is put the machine next to the phone, so that the plastic arm is pressing down on the switchhook, and put the receiver in the machine. Then put a carnation near the phone since it's not beautiful enough on its own, and no one would be interested in it unless it was more aesthetically pleasing. Well, maybe we should just read the actual back of this advertising postcard from the 70's, to really understand this new technology:

"Telephone your own Telephone To Find out who called while your were out; To Change the message you want your callers to receive. No more missed phone calls - Your telephone is always answered courteously in your own voice - Every phone message, sales order, etc. accurately and confidentially recorded -- 24 hour customer telephone service possible with RSVP - Save on secretarial help - Own your own RSVP for less than the cost of an answering service - VOICE-ACTIVATED! The RSVP Secretary will continue to record your caller's messages as long as they continue to speak...and will hand up ONLY and the END of the message - RSVP is completely portable -- no direct wire connections -- no line charges."

I love these chrome advertisements for office equipment. I have a number of new ones to post in the near future, including dictaphones, filing systems, and desks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old Orchard Beach in the Future

Old Orchard is a coastal resort town in Maine. A summer vacation destination since the 1800's, it has a 7-mile long beach, hotels and an amusement park frequented by New Englanders and Canadians. I grew up in Portland, about 30 minutes away, so collecting postcards depicting Old Orchard is a passion.

After a very long search, I finally found the Old Orchard in the Future card from 1907. It's deemed to be rare by Daniel E. Blaney, the author of the Arcadia Publishing book "Old Orchard Beach" and the president of the Old Orchard Beach Historical Society, who states in the book that this card is the most sought after card by collectors. He says that he knows of only four copies to exist, of which he owns three. Presented above is copy No. 5 !

Monday, January 3, 2011

Morse Motel (or is that REmorse?)

The Morse Motel was right there on Highway 51 in Cairo, Illinois. It looks like the kind of place that might be named the "REMorse" Motel, for all the folks who shacked up there and felt guilty afterwards.

In any event, the message on the back is a great one: "Almost 400 miles. Good roads. Sunshine most all the way. Grass is green. 51 degrees. Candy gone by noon. Oranges gone by 3:30. Ate Brownies after Supper. Watching Red Skelton from our bed. Earl and Tess. Report this card to Alice."