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Thursday, March 15, 2012


I have written earlier about how the copyright law enforcement was not so enforced in the time of the early post card production, printing and selling. These five cards are a prime example of this. At a quick first glance, one could almost assume that these 5 cards are precisely the same. With an eagle eye, one can see that all the trains’ engines are right at the point between the third and fourth support piles – every one of them! The piles are reflected in the water on each card, too. Each engine is pulling exactly one baggage car and 5 passenger cars. These cards sure do have a lot in common.
With a closer look, one sees that two of the trains have smoke coming out of the stacks. These same two cards have mountains, which are different from the others and it looks like they have actual clouds, instead of the white wisps in the skies of the other cards. Upon even closer inspection one can see that the fourth and fifth cards have the same printing flaw. Just above the baggage car on each card is a little zig-zag in darker blue ink against the white wisps. .
Then as we look at the titles on the cards we see that they are definitely not identical cards – but we also see that they were probably either printed by the same company with slight variations for one reason or another; or the picture was sold to another printer; or another printer boldly picked up the picture but avoided copyright infringement by changing just one small thing. I am in favor of “the same company printed it with slight variations” theory.The top card’s title “1574 Lucin Cut-Off, Great Salt Lake, Utah – Southern Pacific” is printed in red ink. It was the Southern Pacific Railroad that built the trestle after taking over the Central Pacific Railroad. In fact, four out of the five cards remind us that the Southern Pacific is in charge of the trestle. The top card is the oldest, having been printed before March 1, 1907.
The back of the post card contains the ubiquitous “THIS SIDE IS EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE ADDRESS” phrase. It was published by the Gray News Company. They existed from 1906 to 1922 and operated out of Salt Lake City, Utah. There is not indicator of who printed the card The other four cards are from the divided back era (1907 – 1915). The second card ignores the Southern Pacific as well as the publisher of the post card and the printer. Maybe they are trying to make up for this by adding smoke coming out of the engine. There is a very distinctive American flag wrapped around the horizontal flag pole pointing left in the top center of the back of the card. I am not certain about what this means about indicating the printer or the publisher. There is more to come about this on a later card. The next card also has the smoke coming out of the engine.
It has the same train, the same clouds, the same mountains. The only difference is that the card’s title is at the bottom and in dark green ink. It says,”1574 Lucin Cut-off, Great Salt Lake, Utah” then over to the right side it reminds us of the import role the Southern Pacific played: “On Southern Pacific Ry.” The back of the post card is exactly the same as post card number two, except (so it isn’t exactly) the ink used in a very dark blue. The fourth post card is similar to the previous two. It has the same back as card number two in the same golden colored ink. But, like card number three, the title is at the bottom and in dark ink. The number is off to the left of the card, the Lucin Cut-off is centered and the Southern Pacific reference is on the far right of the card. This presents itself in a much more balance than the previous three cards. The printer is getting better at layouts.
The title at the bottom of the last post card is no longer spread out in a balanced presentation. They have rejoined the number of the card to the description but they left the Southern Pacific reference off to the right. The great thing about this post card is that there is a publisher’s name on the back: the card was published by the Williamson-Haffner Company (WHC).
This company was very short lived. They were in Denver Colorado from 1905 to 1910. I am hoping that the connection on the back of the card between the flag draped horizontal flag pole and the WHC is more than a coincidence and more than just a printer’s indication but a direct connection to the publisher. I am still trying to trace the printer. I have many post cards with this flag and not much else on the back. Knowing the printer will make it easier to understand the cards better. This particular post card was mailed on November 17, 1908 at 3:30 in the afternoon from Ogden, Utah – the eastern terminus of the Lucin Cut-off. I love the message: “Don’t know where I’m going but am on my way.” I see that the word “Dearest” has been crossed out. I wonder if this is some kind of hint to Miss Lily Bridges by the sender. Once he returned to Walker, Missouri did he propose to her or ask her to be “his girl”? I see that he got the county in which Walker sits correct. However, he spelled the name of the city wrong – he added an “s” at the end. I did a bit of research on the name, Miss Lily Bridges. Her name shows up in Marriage Book Q on page 51 of the marriage registry of Vernon County in Missouri. She was married in 1926 to a man named John Harley in Nevada, Missouri – just a start and a stop southwest of Walker. Here is some sort of up to date information about Walker, Missouri. The population in July 2009 was 274 people, 138 of whom were males. The median age of the residents was 35.8 years old 4 months younger than that of the state of Missouri. The estimated household income was $31, 261 and the estimated cost of a house or condo was $44,766. If you were renting, you paid $433 per month.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.