Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pure Joy

If you're feeling a little down, this girl should help put a smile on your face. Like the cards from last Saturday, I picked this one for the expression. In this case, I think it is pure joy.

The back of the card indicates the card is from 1907-1920

You can check out all of the other Sepia Saturday posts here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

More Pugs and the Ultimate Run-On Sentence

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

The first one seems to be a continuation from a card I don't have and it also seems to be one incredible run-on sentence:
To day she said she was well and had sent some apples they must be at the Depot now this one is from Lynn he said tell you he had a little Jack lantern from hollowene well Ma has come up to bed and they have gone out of my place of business so I can say good by mayby hope you are both well and happy when are you coming by again that was some week  they had down your way warent it you had better walk if you come again as it will be safer good by from Josh____ Ebenezer Fry

The second one is written upside down. What is it about these pug postcards?

It says:
Dear Baby.
Hope you are better Margaret. Have been looking for a postal from mamma telling us how you are. We arrived home all safe + hope you did. We saw Uncle in E. Buffalo when we came home. grandpa hasn't arrived yet. Jim was so glad to see us. All well + hope you are from Aunt Elsie.
Oct. 30 '09

If you like pugs,you may want to check out  a few posts by Aimee over at Interesting, Old, and Vintage Postcards. Aimee actually has a pug, but she has also posted some cards of pugs here and here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Honesdale, PA

It looks like someone wrote in pencil on the front: "Hope you are too."
The message sent to Miss Sarah Denney in 1915 reads:
Dear sis how are you getting along
I am dandy   hope you are having a fine time down there
by Walter

The message doesn't seem to indicate that Sarah was recovering from illness or injury, so perhaps she worked at Burns Hospital.

Here's another view of Honesdale, which currently has a population of about 5,000  (about 3,000 in 1915) :

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ladies in Bernay Play Croquet

This picture was taken in Bernay, which is located in northern France, in the Eure Department of Normandy. Ladies with mallets are not to be messed with, especially the one on the very left. I think she may be the ringleader.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nettie Bee is Vacationing in Fife

Nettie Bee is a wonderful name to have. Miss Nettie Bee was vacationing in Fife, Scotland in 1917 (?)
I have a number of postcards to and from the Bee family, all of them lovely like this one.

I will say that I liked this card a lot more before I happened to watch part of a zombie movie (Shaun of the Dead) at my gym the other day. Something about the eyes. Oh, I hope I haven't ruined it for you.

Here's the back of the card:

The message reads:
Dear N.
Very many thanks for you lovely P.P.C Sorry the weather is so broken (?) With hope it will be better tomorrow for your last day. With love from L. Chalmers

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweet 16 - Grit and Oyster Shells

It's hard to read, but on the front of the card, written in glitter, is the inscription: Compliments of F. L. Jennings. Why someone who sold cholera cure, lice killer, and poultry panacea would produce a card with a beautiful young lady on it is a little puzzling to me, but what is the appropriate card for products like that?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Los Angeles

We think of Los Angeles as being centered around freeways and automobiles, but it wasn't always that way. The early streetcars, known as the Yellow Cars, carried passengers in L.A.'s dense downtown area and to the surrounding neighborhoods. The Los Angeles Electric Railway operated from 1901 until 1963 on narrow gauge, 3.5 foot tracks.  There were 20 lines and 1,250 streetcars. There were also 'Red Cars", operated by Pacific Electric. Often people would take trips that used both systems. By 1963, the streetcars had all been replaced by diesel buses.

Mostly, I am astonished by the number of people crowding the sidewalks.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Birthday Greetings to J. Wheeler Smith

I have no idea who J. Wheeler Smith was, but he received this card for his 90th birthday in 1910. Born in 1820,  J. Wheeler Smith might have been considered too old to fight in the Civil War. Imagine that. He probably died before the first World War.  His life experience was so different from mine, yet I hold this card of his in my hand. This really sums up my fascination with old postcards.

Here's the unedited message:
Please except hearty congratulations and best wishes  for this your 90th birthday. Hope you will see many more. Just recd. your kind letter.  You certainly are a wonder to me, so smart for one of your years. With all good wishes I am sincerely
Mrs. J.H. Prentice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beatific Smiles

I bought both of these photo postcards for their beatific smiles. Something about them radiates calm, warmth, trust, hope, honesty, and a total lack of malice. They act as a tonic to renew my faith in humankind. Am I reading too much into the photographs? Probably - but for a dollar or two a piece I  think I got my money's worth. They both make me smile too.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order. Based on the stamp boxes, both are from approximately the same time period: 1904-1920.

To view more old photos and the fascinating stories that accompany them, check out the many wonderful posts of Sepia Saturday.

No Nice Boys Yet

More from the Bee family! The Bee family lived in the Rosemount Buildings in Edinburgh, Scotland. This card was sent to Chrissie Bee from her friend Isa.
Here's the back of the card:
The message reads:
Dear Chrissie,
How do you like this. I am enjoying myself #1.
But have seen no nice boys as yet.
Yours with love

The Rosemount Buildings were built in 1860 and are now part of Edinburgh's West End Conservation District. They were unusual in that they were built of red brick with yellow brick accents, instead of traditional stone. You can read more about the conservation area here at the Friends of Gardner's Crescent.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Picadilly Circus

Wow, the backside includes a quote from the Prime Minister. Which Prime Minister? Does it matter? It seems to me it does.  It turns out this quote is from Winston Churchill, from a 1940 speech calling all men to fight against the Nazis. So, why don't they include his name?

And here's another view from a little later:

I love all of the ads, and I'm glad to know that Guinness is good for you. Bovril is also front and center. Don't tell anyone, but I actually like the stuff.

This card was sent in 1954, though the picture is from an earlier date. Here's the back, with no quote from any Prime Minister:

The message to the H. Hieronimus Family reads:
I expect Char will remember this spot. Lots of nite life
Leaving in 1/2 hour for Brussels, beautiful country you bet. Love Uncle Henry

Earlier this year, the Vintage Postcard Gallery blog featured another Valentine's postcard of Piccadilly Circus. It seems full of traffic just like these, but there is not an advertisement to be seen, which I find peculiar.  I guess it was  limited to one part of the intersection. Be sure to take a look at the other post here, because Debs will actually tell you about Piccadilly Circus too, something I neglected to do.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eleven Pound Baby

No, this is not a picture of the baby; this is a turkey. See the back of the card for details on the turkey-sized baby.

The message sent to William Jefferson in 1909 reads:
Dear Annie +Will - You will be surprised  to hear of our Eleven pownd Boy Born Nov. 22.
answer, Lane + Lee

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good for What Ails You - Part 1

This isn't a postcard, but a trade card from around 1880; it's called a metamorphic trade card.
We may make fun of the miracle cures and snake oils of yesteryear, but in fact we have many similar and equally questionable remedies today. And some remedies like this one were probably very effective. It's an ad for cod liver oil, Van Stan's Emulsion. Cod liver oil went out of fashion a long time ago, but we have rediscovered it. I take fish oil, so I'm hoping it will make me look younger just like it did these people. Besides that, it will cure scrofula, whatever that is.
All you have to do is flip back the top of the card and the miraculous cure has taken place:
The woman looks dramatically younger and healthier. I'm going to go out and buy a couple of bottles.
The other side of the same card has another equally good advertisement for a cement glue (Van Stan's Stratena):

Fold back the top and everything is fixed!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shavertown and Pepacton, New York

This is a great old humor card, but the back side of the card is really of greater interest.  There's a reason I didn't recognize the towns of the sender and the recipient; they have been submerged under water for over 50 years.  Here's the other side of the card:

Tom Miner sent this letter from Shavertown, New York to his wife in nearby Pepacton in 1917. I'm not going to correct his spelling. Here's the message:

We are going to the show to night. We worked 10 hrs to day but to morrow we are not going to work like that
We are going to chainge I tell you
latter (?)
your hisban Tom

New York City needed water, so they purchased the valley on the Delaware River in 1942, displacing 974 people, destroying four towns, and submerging nearly half of the Delaware and Northern Railroad. What that actually meant is that the property owners were served with notices of condemnation.  The property owner had a choice to accept half the assessed value of the property and vacate the premises or hire an attorney. Residents who hired attorneys had their cases heard before three commissioners, one from Delaware County, one from New York City, and one from the 6th judicial district. The commissioners ultimately decided what the award should be.

A special panel of engineers hired by the Mayor of New York City to look at alternatives, recommended the Hudson as a water source instead of damming the Delaware. They also recommended universal metering and fixing leaks in New York City as conservation measures to reduce the demand. The Board of Water Supply objected to the report, and New York City rejected it in favor of the original Delaware River plan.
The West branch of the Delaware River was dammed, and flooding was completed in 1955, creating a reservoir twenty miles long and about a half mile wide. Along with the displaced living residents, graves from the local cemeteries had to be exhumed and moved. The reservoir currently provides new York City with about 25% of its drinking water.

Alice Jacobson, a former resident, has written a book entitled Beneath Pepacton Waters, which tells about life and people in the area before the dam.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - What's the Difference?

I know this has been keeping you up at night. You toss and turn, wondering: "What is the difference between a streetcar, a trolley, a tram, a funicular, an interurban, and a cable car? Are they all the same?"  Not quite, but there is a fair amount of overlap. Here are some basic definitions:

All sorts of things are called trolleys today, but a lot of them aren't really trolleys. The word trolley comes from troller, the wheel at the end of a pole that collects current from an overhead wire to power the vehicle. As far as I'm concerned, if it doesn't have the overhead wire, it's not a trolley.  Generally, trolleys also run on tracks, but there are exceptions.  There are also trolleybuses (or trolley coaches), though not very many anymore. Here's a postcard of a trolley in Brisbane Australia.

A streetcar is a wheeled vehicle that operates on rails. It may also be a trolley, but not always. Many definitions specify that it is powered by electricity, but that's not necessarily the case.  The first streetcars were pulled by horses, and there were also steam-powered streetcars. It is true though, that virtually all streetcars today operate on electricity.  Streetcar is the word used by Americans; people in the U.K. and many other places around the world refer to them as trams. Here are streetcars (or trams) crossing the August Bridge in Dresden, Germany in about 1910.

A tram is the same as a streetcar, except that a tram can also be suspended from a cable, in which case it is an aerial tram. In this case, Americans call it a tram too, because it is quite clearly not a streetcar. Things get a a little tricky here though because an aerial tram is really also a cable car, although it is permanently affixed to the cable. (Gondolas are also aerial cable cars, but are not permanently affixed.) Here is a great photo by Tim Jewett of the aerial tram in Portland, Oregon.

Cable Car
Cable cars are propelled by a continuously moving cable, which is often underground in a slot between the two rails. The cable is powered at a powerhouse, these days using electric power, but in earlier days with steam. The cable car attaches to the cable with a grip, which is just like a big pair of pliers. In order to stop the car, the gripman releases the grip. When he wants to start again, he clamps it down.

A number of cities in addition to San Francisco had cable cars in the early years of streetcars.  As far as I know, they were only used in cities with hills. In the days when streetcars were pulled by horses, the poor animals were often unable to pull a fully loaded streetcar up a hill. Cable cars overcame that problem, but when trolleys came along, they generally proved to be more efficient. Here's the cable car in San Francisco.

Funiculars or Incline Railways
So, what's the difference between a cable car and a funicular? Funiculars, like aerial trams, are generally attached to a cable, but they operate more like an elevator, with simultaneously ascending and descending cars counterbalancing one another. Also, funicular cars are often slanted to fit the grade. Cable cars are more likely to operate on streets, whereas funiculars have their own right of way. Here's a postcard of the Incline at lookout Mountain in Tennessee. The cars don't look like this anymore. This one looks a little like a bus; today's cars look like classic funicular cars.

Cog Railways
This is going a little off the subject, but I'll include it anyway. A cog railway usually has an engine and a passenger car. They are not linked together though; the engine merely pushes the car up the hill and brakes it on the way down. Unlike funiculars and cable cars, these cog railways produces the energy to ascend the incline, just like a train engine. The difference between a cog railway and a regular train is that the cog railway uses cogs to engage into a cog rack to provide it with traction for scaling steep slopes. A classic example is Jacob's Ladder in New Hampshire:

Here's a scary cog railway in Switzerland, but it runs on electricity:

Interurbans were sort of a blend between train and streetcar. As with streetcars, they traveled into towns on the main streets, but like trains, they also traveled on tracks through the countryside between cities. Interurbans were larger than streetcars and had greater horsepower, allowing them to exceed 60 miles per hour. Although they generally looked more like trains, they ran on electricity.

 Here's another one in Massachusetts.

So, these are the definitions as I understand them.  Let me know if you think I have missed something.


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