Follow by Email

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Linen Post Cards

Continuing on the theme of Pikes Peak, I have scanned three post cards from the Linen Post Card era. The ages of these cards range from the 1930s to the mid-1940s. Because they are postally unused, I cannot tell you the exact age of any of the cards. Two of them are from the H.H. Tammen Company which existed from 1896 to 1953; one is from the Sanborn Souvenir Company, which existed from 1920 to 1976. This is quite the range of dates but, we can narrow it down a bit.These three post cards are what they call Linen Post Cards. In about 1930 publishers began to print post cards on a linen paper stock. These post cards were called linen because the rag content within the paper gave these post cards a textured “feel.” You can also see the weave in the cards if you hold them just right in the lighting. They were popular among the printers and publishers because they were cheaper to produce and they accepted the use of bright dyes for coloring the pictures on the faces of the cards. Curt Otto Teich was among the early linen post card publishers; some say his company invented the process. The advent of chrome post cards (1939) brought this era to an end. You can see some example of chrome post cards in my previous blog post.

Although you couldn’t tell it by the smoke coming out of the engine, the top post card is a view of Windy Point on the way up to Pikes Peak. It is a product of the H.H. Tammen Company. There is no indicator on the card about who might have printed the card.

The middle card is showing a train as it passed the timberline on Pikes Peak. This was published by the Sanborn Souvenir Company from Denver, Colorado. There is no indicator of the printer on the back of the card, but the number on the front hints that it may have been the Curt Teich Company. The visual “feel” of the card places it back in the early 1900s; but, the linen in the card says otherwise. If I am correct in interpreting the number in the bottom right hand corner of the card (14400-N), this was a reprint of a post card that the Curt Teich Company first printed in 1908. The N in Curt Teich parlance indicates that this card is a reprint.

The bottom card is also from the H.H. Tammen Company and again there is no indicator of who the printer was. One way of dating this card might be to know more about cars than trains.
There are a couple of automobiles at the top of Pikes Peak. If I knew as much about cars as I do about trains, I could probably tell you the year and make of the cars. We could then date the post card to a time after that.


  1. The coloring looks more like that from the white border era. I have some early linen cards with barely noticeable textures. Unless you look closely at an angle, they look like white border postcards. Sometimes, also, earlier pictures were reused on linen postcards.

    1. Great information!! I looked at it from an angle and I can see texture on the card. And I can feel it, too. It must be what you said at the end... "pictures were reused on linen postcards". I did find it interesting that HH Tammen would do up linen cards.


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