Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Fabulous Postcard Projector

It's not even Christmas yet, but here I am the recipient of a marvelous gift. It is so fabulous. Earlier this year, Tracy over at Tracy's Toys bought something she had never seen before--an early 1900s tin postcard projector.  You insert a postcard, and you can project the image on a wall.  I remember seeing it and marveling at it, but I never thought I'd have one of my own. Then, out of the blue, Tracy decided to send it to me. Wow!

Here is the back, where you insert the card. The chimney serves to dissipate the heat from the light bulb.

Here are some side and front views, showing the lens.

And, yes it works, although it takes awhile to switch cards, so your audience may lose patience. I don't see any reflector in the box though, so I'm not sure exactly how it works. Here's a diagram from a 1909 Popular Mechanics article that shows a postcard projector with two lights.

If you love gadgets and toys, be sure to take a look at all of the other good stuff over at Tracy's Toys. Eventually Tracy is going to run out of space to display her collection and she'll have to open a museum. I'm looking forward to that day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Business in Binghamton #2

If you were a hatter, what would you put on the front of your trade card? Maybe a stylish hat?  Calkin the Hatter decided, for whatever reason, that a horse belonged on the front of his card. The back was blank. The card is from prior to 1886, because in that year Calkin took on a partner and the name of the business was changed to Calkin & Delevan, hatters, furriers, and dealers in men's furnishing goods. It doesn't have the same ring as Calkin the Hatter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Altdorf, Switzerland

Altdorf, Switzerland is famous for being the birthplace of William Tell. You can see the statue of him and his son in the center of the square.  And the tram off to the right seems to stop right in front of a brewery - how convenient! Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything else about the tram. I think it's still there, but I'm not sure.

Here's the back of the card.

The message to Mrs. Detting at Heinrichshütte in Rigi Klösterli, Switzerland reads:

Arrived safely in Schatzdorf and received card. Olivia Sprüngli sends many friendly greetings. Extra greetings to Mr. Brinckmann and St. Johannsberi and of course greetings from Elise.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Best Wishes

Here's  a postcard from the Woodin family album, sent in 1911:

The message reads:
To Aunt Jennie
Helen Johnson

For photos of the Woodin family, see this earlier post.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moss House

I'm not sure why anyone would build a moss house. Out here in Oregon, we have things to spray on moss to kill it, but it's a losing battle. If you park your car outside, it will grow on your windshield. In any case, this house must have been velvety and green, though it is shown in black and white here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Here to wish you a happy Thanksgiving is my favorite postcard personality, Tracy Graham.

Note that the sender has written Tracy on the young man's forehead.  That's so typical of cards to and from Tracy Graham. They are always warm and humorous, often poking fun, and with real news.

As I mentioned last week, I was thrilled to track down Tracy's daughter, Bernice, who is alive and well and didn't know anything about about this collection of postcards I have that were sent to and from her parents. I am sending them on to her, because that's where they belong.  I know that they will reawaken childhood memories and be passed on to grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I admit it's difficult, because these are without a doubt some of my favorite postcards. At the same time, I have a real sense of satisfaction knowing that these cards are going to the family who wrote them.  I'm thankful that I got to read them and share their stories. And these cards had real stories; they followed Lizzie and Tracy through their years of courtship, marriage, and family. I feel like I knew the family. I'm even more thankful that I was able to talk to Bernice in person and that our conversation connected the postcard world with the real world.

The message to Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Graham reads:

Nov. 23 - 1917
Hope to see you all soon. I am going home Sunday and hope you can come down for a visit next week. Mary will be here after  Wednesday for the rest of the week. With Love. M.V.G.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and to the Graham family.
If you would like to look at some of the previous Tracy Graham posts, click here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Greetings from Mabel

And here's the back of the card.

The message to Mrs. Claud Light reads:
Dear Sis,
I am anxious to see the new kitchen. Write and tell me what you are going to give the girls for Christmas so I won't be giving the same things. Lovingly, Mabel

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ludwig's Restaurant in Neu Pirken

Ludwig Hübler had something he called a Restauration (a cross between a restaurant and a station?) in Neu Pirken, Germany. There were hotel rooms,  an outdoor bowling alley, and a dining room. In 1910, around the time this card was sent, Pirken and Neu-Pirken had a population of 757, almost double what it had been ten years earlier.

Ludwig sent this card to Mr. Karl Bernt in nearby Görkau as a friendly invitation to something, though I'm not sure what. I have trouble making out the old German script unless it's written very neatly. In any case, both Neu Pirken and Görkau both became part of Czechoslovakia after World War II. Pirken is now known as Březenec and Görkau is known as Jirkow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Sight for Sore Eyes - Lead and Opium

Here's a trade card from about 1880, advertising Dr M. M. Fenner's eye salve.  Dr. Fenner was a well-respected, wealthy, and interesting fellow who lived in Fredonia, New York. You can read all about him here. The article even discusses the ingredients for some of Dr. Fenner's remedies, but not the eye salve.

Although we don't know what the ingredients of the eye salve were, here are some recipes for eye remedies from Dr. Chase, a contemporary of Dr. Fenner.

Oh, you don't want to put lead in your eye? O.K., let's try something else.
Yeah, opium, that's it!

Here's the front page from Dr. Chase's book, in case you want to look for your own copy or sue him for causing you to go blind.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Falls View Bridge, Niagara Falls, Ontario

This is a postcard of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.

In the foreground you can see the streetcar, owned and operated by the Canadian National Railway Company.  There is a comprehensive website that details the history of Niagara Falls streetcars, so I won't repeat it, but encourage you to visit their website if you want to know more.

You can also see an Imperial Oil Limited gas station in the foreground on the right. Off in the distance, you can see that the cars seem to be backed up on the bridge behind the streetcar. That's the Falls View Bridge - the third one. The first Falls View Bridge was built in 1869 with a bridge deck that was only ten feet wide. It was widened in 1888, to allow traffic in both directions, but it didn't matter for long because a year after the renovation there was a powerful storm that destroyed the bridge. It still lies submerged in the water.

The second Falls View Bridge was built immediately and finished within 117 days after the destruction of the first one. It didn't last long either, because it was unable to carry the weight of streetcars, which were now considered essential. The bridge shown above, also known as the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, was built in 1898. Unfortunately, disaster struck again in 1938, when the bridge collapsed due to ice jams. You can read more about the bridges over Niagara Falls here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Girl with a Hoop

This child is beautiful and exotic looking, but unfortunately I can't tell you anything more about her. The card is Italian, probably from the 1920s.

Here's the back of the card. Although this card certainly has a story, I don't know anything about it. Lucky for you, there is Sepia Saturday, where people (more often than not) know the stories behind their photos.

Business in Binghamton #1

Here's a trade card from circa 1880 from Binghamton, New York.

And here's the back.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tracy Graham Revelation!

Based on yesterday's post, I think it's fair to say that this card to Tracy Graham was from Liz Mable, the woman Tracy eventually married.

The card was sent in 1908 with a message that reads:
I passed all of my exams. Am I happy! Well just a few. So long till - .

Guess what? I discovered something else.
Because of the fabulous Delaware County, New York, Genealogy and History Site  I now have all sorts of information on Tracy and family.

From the 1930 Census for the town of Meredith, New York:

Tracy Graham,  45 (b. 1884)
Elizabeth Graham,  39 (b.1890) Wife
Glenn Graham, 12 (b. 1917) Son
Robert Graham,  5 (b. 1924) Son
Bernice Graham, Daughter

Patrick Horgan,  37 (b. 1892) Ireland White Employee

Both Tracy and Elizabeth are buried in the Woodland cemetery in Delhi. The other thing that I discovered by chance is that Bernice Mable Graham Telian is the Historian for the town of Meredith. I wonder if she would like to have her parents' postcards.

*Update: I was thrilled to be able to talk to Bernice on the phone and she is very excited about getting the postcards. I seem to find more and more; I'm up to about 30 now. I'll post the scans, but all of the Tracy Graham cards themselves are going back home. Bernice tells me that her brother Robert is still alive, but that Glenn died in a motorcycle accident when he was a teenager.

Here's the back of the card:

Another Update - November 30, 2010
Since Bernice Graham sent me the photos of the three children (Glenn, Robert, and Bernice), I thought I'd include them here.
Glenn Graham

Robert Graham
Bernice Graham

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tracy's Girl

Slowly but surely I am piecing together the few details of Tracy Graham's life through the postcard evidence.  I have various collections of postcards sent to and from particular people, but no one has piqued my interest like Tracy Graham.  Occasionally they are standard greetings, but more often they are playful jabs, inside jokes, and just plain fun.

Here's a perfect example.

 I have not been able to find much about Tracy from the internet, but this card from 1909 solves one more puzzle. I knew that he got married and that his wife's name was Liz, but there was no indication of her last name, because the later cards are just addressed to Mrs. Tracy Graham.  This card is addressed to Miss Elizabeth Mable by a sender who added some notations to the front of the card - crossing out the word hubby and replacing it with Tracy. The sender also added Cooperstown on the front, so presumably they made a trip there.

Here's the back of the card.

The message reads:
Say Liz:
I would like to have had a snap shot of you people, when you was tumbled out into the road at William Dodd's milk house.  H. Ha.  J.B.A

If you haven't read the previous Tracy Graham posts, click here or on Tracy Graham down below in the list of topics.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Badersee, Germany

The Badersee is a lake located at the foot of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. The lake never freezes because it is replenished from subterranean warm springs. The lovely card is able to convey some of the special reflective quality of the water, although in reality it's more green than blue.

Here's the back of the card:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grace Kelly

What is it that gives Grace Kelly that enduring mystique and appeal? She seems to personify eternal beauty and natural poise, and inspires the same sort of devotion and fascination people also have for Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana. Decades after her death, people still want to read about her and gaze at her picture.

Grace Kelly was born in Philadelphia on November 12, 1929.  Her career as an  actress spanned only six years, yet she won a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award.  Grace  retired from acting at the age of 26 to assume her duties as Princess of Monaco, upon her marriage to Prince Rainier. She died tragically in a car crash on September 14th, 1982, at the age of 52.

Grace and Rainier had three children, Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie. Albert, the current ruler of Monaco, is engaged to Charlene Wittstock from South Africa, so perhaps we'll see another marriage commemoration cover in Monaco again soon.

Here are some pictures from the May 27, 1958 issue of Look magazine.  It was a large magazine, so unfortunately it doesn't fit nicely into my scanner.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - York, England

Bootham Bar is the one of the famous gateways through the city walls of York. There has been a gate of one kind or another here since 71 AD when the city was founded by the Romans. At that time, the city was known as Eboracum. When the Angles took over in 451 AD, the city became known as Eoforwic, which has a certain ring to it if you can pronounce it. It didn't become known as York until the 13th century.

York started out with horse-drawn carriages or buses as public transportation (i.e. no rails). They also used steam-powered trams briefly before changing over to electric trams in 1909. If you look closely, you can see that this one has two decks, and the barrier on the top one is quite low. Sit down, gentlemen or you may be knocked off the tram when we pass through one of those gates.

As buses gained in popularity over the next few decades, the decision was made to stop running the trams. The last one ran in 1935.

Here's the back of the card, showing that it was printed by E.T.W. Dennis & Sons.  I don't encounter  their cards very often.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

To Amy from Paris

Today is Sepia Saturday, an opportunity for bloggers to share interesting old photos. Sepia Saturday is hosted by Alan Burnett, who also has a lively and entertaining blog entitled  News from Nowhere, and another blog (Fat Dog to the Big Apple) about a virtual walk across the United States with his dog, Amy.

Here is a lovely view of Paris from the turn of the century.

And here's the back of the card, which would appear to be addressed to Alan's dog.

The message reads:

The Little Palace was built for the Paris Exposition and is now a Museum of Modern Art.
Best wishes,
Mrs Hax (?)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Broadway - Portland, Oregon

I'm back in Portland after a trip to Hawaii, hoping that the sunshine I stored up will carry me through the cold, wet winter.
Here's an old view of Broadway in Portland, Oregon and the same view today.  There are no longer streetcars on Broadway, but bike lanes have been added.  The first building on the right is the Benson Hotel, which has changed little over the years. The Liberty Theater, with its Statue of Liberty (on the right, under the American flag) and its Wurlitzer organ is sadly no longer there.

View Larger Map

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

When we think of U.S. veterans, we usually think of soldiers who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, or more recent conflicts. But here's a card commemorating the efforts of veterans in 1909, well before we ventured into those bloody wars.

The veterans we're talking about here were veterans of the Civil War. The Sons of Veterans was a fraternal organization that grew to 200,000 members by 1904. In 1922, the name was changed to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Although membership has declined to about 7,500, you can still join if you are a male 14 or older and:

1. Are directly descended from a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or member of the Revenue Cutter Service (or directly descended from a brother, sister, half-brother, or half-sister of such Soldier, etc.) who was regularly mustered and served honorably in, was honorably discharged from, or died in the service of, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Revenue Cutter Service of the United States of America or in such state regiments called to active service and was subject to the orders of United States general officers, between April 12, 1861, and April 9, 1865;

2. Have never been convicted of any infamous or heinous crime; and

3. Have, or whose ancestor through whom membership is claimed, have never voluntarily borne arms against the government of the United States.

Here's the back of the card, addressed to Perley Thomas of Gouverneur, New York. It's an unusual name, and I had hoped it was the industrialist and entrepreneur who developed the famous Perley Thomas streetcar, but I don't think it's the same person.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halekulani Buffet - Honolulu, Hawaii

Help yourself. Then afterward you can go for another paddle in an outrigger canoe in front of the hotel. You can still stay at the Halekulani today. It's a lot more elegant and expensive than these cards might suggest. If you go there, you may want to stay in their royal suite, which is quite a bit larger than my house. I wonder if the personal butler does any cooking or if you have to bring your own cook.

The 4, 066 sq. ft Royal Suite features the ultimate in privacy, luxury and service: two bedrooms, dining room, dressing area, 2.5 bathrooms, kitchen facilities, large wraparound lanai and state-of-art entertainment enhancements including a 50" Plasma Screen and wireless portable television, A personal butler and airport limousine services are included for the Royal Suite. The furnishings and accessories are simple and classical, and celebrate the various Pacific and Asian cultures that are a part of today's Hawaiian community. The color palette is a subdued range of sunset colors that contrast with the brilliant greens and blues of the ocean, sky and landscaping just beyond the balcony.

 And here are the backs of the cards in the same order.


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