Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Marseille, France

Back in 2011 I posted a colorful scene of streetcars on La Canebière in Marseille. Here are some more cards showing scenes of Marseille that include streetcars. The earliest trams in Marseille began service in 1876 and were pulled by horses.  As in most other places, the system slowly transitioned to electric power.  This first card, circa 1900,  appears to show horse-drawn and electric trams operating side by side.

Here's a close-up.

The tram system in Marseille has operated continuously, although the cars today are very sleek and modern in comparison to the ones shown here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More Cats in Advertisiing

Here are some more cats working hard to promote totally unrelated products on circa 1880 trade cards. The first one is especially clever, suggesting that if you don't buy a shoe with a black reinforced tip, it won't even make a safe nest for birds.

If you're near Salina Street in Syracuse, new York, you can head over to G.W. Ingalls & Co. and buy yourself a pair.

Then you can head down the street and buys some fruit vinegar from John Ferguson, Grocer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cats in Advertising

Cats have been used to advertise everything imaginable, from shoes, to groceries, hardware, and medicine. Here are two trade cards from the 1880s featuring cats. The first one is an advertisement for Dr. Thomas Ecletric Oil, used all around the world and equally good for man and beast. If that's not enough, it was used for internally and externally for coughs, croup, asthma, diptheria, rheumatism, lame back, and a number of other things. The ingredients included spirits of turpentine, fish oil, oil of tar, and red thyme.


 The second card is equally peculiar. The picture , with a caption of Declaration of Love, seems to show a cat swatting a monkey...or is that a dog with a very long tail? In any case, one of them is chained to the wall.

If you think this is a strange approach to selling stoves and hardware, check out the back of the card.

Stay tuned for more cat advertising cards next week.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

City of Cleveland

Here is the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Line's City of Cleveland by day and by night. The side wheel steamer was destroyed by fire shortly after it was built in 1907, but was rebuilt again by 1908. The Great Lakes steamer transported passengers between Detroit and Cleveland.

Here are the backs of the cards. I posted the second one first, because it has a message and some interesting cancellation stamps. The sender seems to have thought that a one cent was sufficient postage for a card from Detroit, Michigan to Mainz, Germany. It looks like it arrived postage due. I don't know enough about postal history though to be able to tell you why the amount stamped on it is 10 centimes instead of an amount in German pfennigs.

Here's the back of the first card.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Newgate Gap - Margate, England

Most of all I love postcards that show a snapshot of life as it was at that moment, people going about their business and perhaps stopping briefly to look at the camera. What happened just before the photo was taken? Did the man fall of the bike? Are the people on the iron bridge above watching this scene or looking out to sea? In any case, I would love to jump into the scene and take a walk to the refreshments shop, built into the rock face,  before I head down to the shore at Cliftonville, the coastal area of Margate, a town located in South East England.

This card shows the original bridge, built in 1861, a 42-foot span at an elevation of nearly 60 feet.  In 1907, a decision was made to replace the bridge with a new more ornate one.

Here's the back of the card. It's addressed to Mr. Chilvers, c/o Mrs Miles, Lower Lodge, Kingswood Manor, Burgh Heath near Epsom with a message that reads:

1 Princes St 
Dear Wilf
All right
Hope you are

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tram Tuesday - Salford, England

If you were standing here today in Salford near Manchester, you would be in the middle of the motorway. But back when this photo was taken, Cross Lane was a vibrant street with trams, shops, and the Ship Hotel and its famous Ship Pub. The Ship Hotel was built in 1888 and demolished in 1973 after many colorful years and many visits by foreign sailors and locals alike.

On this postcard you can see The Ship on the left-hand side. Jessie was staying just down the street from The Ship where you see the X.

At the time this postcard was published, circa 1910,  Greater Manchester had an extensive tram system. According to Wikipedia, the tram system provided 200 million passenger journeys per year by 1915 on 662 vehicles. At that time it was the most popular form of transportation. The tram system recovered quickly from damage during World War I, but was closed for a time in 1918 to stop the spread of the Spanish Flu.

In the 1940s,  tracks were pulled up to provide steel for the war effort. As in many places, the trend was to abandon trams for buses. Salford tram service ended in 1947, with Manchester service ending just two years later.

Here's the back of the card, with Jessie's message:

Dear Leon
Where I have put that cross is the place Street I am staying in I often ride on the street car to town lovingly Jessie

Does the fact that she refers to the street car instead of a tram indicate that she was perhaps visiting from the United States?

You can view a video of Salford history and The Ship at Salford Online.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weird Postcards

By no means boring, but all a little strange...

Friday, July 20, 2012


The Owl Bar (El Tecolote) in Baja California, Mexico, was a popular destination for U.S. residents even before Prohibition. The Owl featured a casino, dance hall, a brothel, and of course lots of alcohol. Cocaine and opium were also commonly available. Mexicali was one of a number of the centers for vice tourism just across the Mexican border from the United States. Even before Prohibition, efforts to abate prostitution in California sent some of the red-light business across the border.

Not surprisingly, many of the most interesting stories relate to the brothel and its 104 rooms. Andrew Grant Wood wrote about Mexicali and El Tecolote/ The Owl in his book, On the Border: Society and Culture between the United States and Mexico. According to Wood, the prostitutes represented a variety of ethnicities and races, but the customers were segregated by race. There was a section for white customers and a separate section for non-white customers. It would also appear that once the prostitutes were there, they were not free to leave. A number of newspapers in the United States covered the story of the 1920 fire that ravaged The Owl and sent scantily-clad prostitutes fleeing from the building. The prostitutes dispersed after that.

A federal mandate forced the closure of The Owl in 1922, however an $80,000 donation to Mexican General Rodriguez allowed for an extension of their gambling permits, under the new name, The ABW Club. The operation closed completely in 1936.

The card below shows two of Mexicali's breweries. You can read more about Cerveceria de Mexicali on The Real Tijuana Blog and about Cervezeria Azteca, which moved to the United States and became Aztec Brewing.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kashima Maru

The S.S. Kashima Maru was a Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) trans-Pacific passenger liner. This photo is from around 1920. NYK produced many very beautiful ship postcards.

In World War II, the Kashima Maru, then being used as a transport ship, was torpedoed and sunk by the USS Bonefish in 1943.

P.S. This post was being inundated with spam comments for some reason, so I have closed it to new comments. My apologies.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wiggins Old Tavern

Wiggins Old Tavern is located in the Hotel Northampton in Northampton, Massachusetts.  Although I have never had the opportunity to eat here, the Dalai Lama did, as did Richard Nixon, David Bowie, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  The hotel and tavern are still open if you think you might want to visit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

U.S. Battleship Oregon

The USS Oregon was built in San Francisco and launched in 1893. I have delayed this post for a long time because I intended to go down to Tom McCall Waterfront Park here in Portland and take a photo of the mast, which is on display there as a memorial. Somehow I have never gotten around to doing it, but there's a perfectly good photo on Wikipedia anyway.

Here' s the card.

And here's the Wikipedia photo of the mast as it looks today.

Source: Wikipedia
The card was sent by D.A. Westcott of Victoria, B.C. to Miss Kate Goff of Waterford, Pennsylvania. The choice of a battleship postcard seems to be intentional. Here's the back of the card with its wonderful message.

Victoria, B.C. Canada
Kate - Take care of yourself. Don't let any body walk on you.
D.A. Westcott
May 23, 1908.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Boring Postcards II

You probably had an event-filled and exciting weekend, so this is a perfect opportunity to relax with some very boring postcards. If you're going to collect boring postcards, be sure to include at least a few aerial views of parking lots.

You might also want to include some dark caves with stalactites.

And a few puzzling landscapes...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Two Girls

These are obviously the same girls photographed over a span of years. The only indication as to who they might be is some scrawled writing on the back of one of the pictures. It looks like it might be: Jenecal Belarag, but that may be a note that has nothing to do with the identity of the girls.

In the second photo they have reversed places, but the pose is otherwise very similar.

In the third photo they have switched places again and have both grown their hair long.

The stamp boxes on the backs of the cards provide a fairly broad range of the date, with the first and the third card printed between 1910 and 1930. Cards like the second one were also printed through the 1920s.

Here are the backs in the same order.


Related Posts with Thumbnails