Saturday, December 13, 2008

Honeycomb paper postcards

These three honeycomb paper fold-out postcards are from the first decade of the 20th century. They were printed in Germany, which had the best quality printing in the world at that time (World War I and the resulting global economy changed that).

The color of this one is still beautifully bright since it's a folded card and has been stored away from sunlight for about a hundred years (!).

It's hard to read what is written on the back and front of the card but basically it's from a sister sending her brother a postcard with a bug on it because he is afraid of bugs. Ha ha! Kids are so different these days.

The dark purple gradated edging on the honeycomb is so delicate and pretty. I'm wondering if it could possibly have been hand painted or hand rolled on an ink pad because just the outer edges are colored.

This pretty swallow with the red epaulet has an added printed paper wing glued to the honeycomb tissue. It's very sweet. This one is fun to unfold and then fold again because it looks like the bird could sort of be flying. I'm surprised it's still intact. 

It's postmarked 1907. On the reverse side the sender wrote to tell the recipient to pull the string to open it. These cards are perforated on the edges so I imagine they were sealed on the outside edge in some way for mailing.

I'm now thinking these things must have been hand-colored  because how else to explain the red spot on just one side of the honeycomb?

Here is another bird (but flightless, so you can't play the pretend flying game by halfway closing the card and then opening it up again). Gold glitter outlines the legs and neck of the ostrich and also the sandy horizon line.

I just love these things. No editorial. No sending situation. Just some neat images. And lots of pointless delicate prettiness. I took a creative writing class in college once and the professor said that if our stories did not have a point (or a moral), they would be pointless. I know he was trying to, a point....but if something has no point? I can't help to be drawn to it.

Postcards were incredibly popular at the beginning of the 20th century. On June 30, 1908, when the fiscal year ended for the U.S. Post Office, nearly 700 million postcards were mailed. The population at that time? About 90 million.  

1907-15 was considered the Golden Age of Postcards. People could not send enough of them and the quality and variety at that time was incredible. And the subject matter? Some of it was delightfully pointless. My kind of era. :-) 


Gina Martin said...

hey maria! saw maja last night & she told me about your blog.

i've been sitting here all morning, drinking coffee & reading it from the beginning. oh my...i knew you had turtles but i had NO IDEA! love the bird stories too! you are so dang amusing...and inspiring. you're now on my daily blog list!

Mental P Mama said...

I love these! And am intrigued by the telephone pole and wires in the 1907 one with the swallow. That looks like what you see today!

Maria said...

Gina!!!!! Howthehellareya?

Maja probably just told you about that gray cat that comes by and smokes his cigarettes, throws the butts to the ground and then gives them a good swivel squish. But he did rescue me from a possible raccoon confrontation so I shouldn't be so hard on him. Ha ha.

I'm glad you came by. I had to invent a "happy" place, you know? And this blog really is that. It's pretty neat that other people like it too.

Maria said...

Mental-I thought the SAME thing. I was a little taken aback by the electrical lines so I looked them up on the internet and apparently, overhead lines were in place in the mid 1800s for the telegraph. I'm thinking electrical cables were just added later to the pre-existing telegraph utility poles.

Researching this stuff is so darn fascinating. Why wasn't it when I was in school??????

Country Girl said...

I love the pointless post cards here, Maria! They are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria,
Found your blog via Gina's - from the start I had an inkling it was you!
I love these postcards (and those paper parasols!) ~ they are wonderful! I look forward to spending more time reading your stories and seeing the other treasures you have found! I think we all need a happy place!

Maria said...

Hey, Juliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!!!!! Howthehellareyoutoo? What have you been doing? I haven't seen you in ages because I kind of stopped antique-ing when my house got filled with stuff from basement to attic.....

Madam, please provide a blog address so I can see what you're up to. Gina, consider yourself asked too.

Maria said...

Kate-I know. Aren't they? It is just astonishing to see what was printed back then because what they did, you can't do that in today's economy. It's kind of sad because you would like to think (or at least I do) that things progress and get better with time but when it comes to what was being printed 100 years ago, it can't be duplicated today.

I think it was one of those lucky times in history when something new was being produced and since there was such an incredible demand from the consumer, publishers were free to experiment with processes and subject matter because there were so many people willing to buy whatever was produced......even more so if it was pretty. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi again Maria!
Just because my house is stuffed from top to bottom hasn't stopped me from continuing to flea market and antique shop - I obviously need some help! I do worry that I may end up like these guys:
I need to do a post on this!
In the mean time here is my blog/etsy etc....
Stop by and say hi if you get the chance!