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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Retired to New Mexico

I thought that I had marked in the binders all of the post cards about which I have blogged in the past. I found this one that did not have a "posted" sign on it. So I did a bit of research to see what I could find about the engine of the front. It turns out that this is a "Northern" type of locomotive in the 4-8-4 Whyte Locomotive Classification chart. I delved into its history: It was built for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company in the mid 1940s. It is almost 37 meters (over 120 feet) long. It was built so big so that it could have a larger firebox to build up more power to get it through the mountains. It is called a "Northern" type of locomotive because it was first ordered by the Northern Pacific Railway (from 1864 to 1970, when it and others became the Burlington Northern Railway). This particular locomotive saw its last days of service out of its home base of Belen, New Mexico. It helped scheduled trains to get through the mountain passes, particularly Abo Pass. Albo Pass is 1,759 meters (5,770 feet) above sea level in the Manzano Mountains. This locomotive was reassigned, with a few of its "sisters", to Belen. It was retired from service on July 4, 1957, the first of the group to be retired.
This is the back of the post card. It almost looks amateurish. The stamp that says, "PHOTO POST CARD" is crooked; the printing of the publisher's name is too small and too close to the line and that line is also at an angle; the "ADDRESS" stamp is not very dark. I did look into the publisher. L. Fremming and his brother, Bob, are from Wisconsin. There is history of them working together in Chetek. I found a post card on line published by the Fremming Brothers. I even have almost 20 post cards published only by Bob Fremming. I only have two from L. Fremming. I must admit that in my research I found out that I had posted about L. Fremming's post cards before. On November 16, 2011 I had asked if two post cards were relatives. It turns out that they were. This is the other post card:
It is a Southern Pacific locomotive. It seems that L. Fremming must have left Wisconsin to move to Washington state and try his hand at what he knew best: publishing post cards. I think he succeeded. I wish I had more of his.
If you would like to see a Northern type of locomotive up close, there is one on static display in Coronado Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Two Crozier Canyon in Arizona Post Cards

This is a picture of a Santa Fe Railroad train as it passes through Crozier Canyon in northwest Arizona (about 55 kilometers [35 miles] northeast of Kingman, Arizona). This post card was printed by the Detroit Publishing Company. More about this below.... However, about the picture: In 1857, President James Buchanan authorized Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (soon to be the president of the Confederate States), to find a road that would connect Fort Defiance in today's New Mexico with Fort Mohave in the extreme west of what is today Arizona. Davis delegated this task to Lieutenant Edward Beale. This expedition was to have a second purpose, to see if camels - natural desert animals in other parts of the world - would be useful for the US military applications. Davis authorized the purchase of about 30 camels at $1,000 per head. The entire party surveyed northern Arizona along the 37th parallel. Today, Interstate 40 and old Route 66 follow part of what became known as "Beale's Wagon Road". The camels proved their worth, but the military developed other priorities and sold off the camels. The legend of "Hi Jolly" is worth pursuing if you are interested in "American Camels".

As you can clearly see, this post card comes to us from the White Border Era of post card printing. Prior to this era the printed pictures went right to the outside borders of the post card. When one prints hundreds of thousands of post cards, cutting the picture off with an eight of an inch border of white can save over 10 percent of the ink. That means that one can get one extra post card per print run for every nine that one prints. That kind of savings adds up!!

This post card below is a duplicate of the one above. The difference is that this one comes to us from the Linen Card Era. This post card was printed by one of the pioneers who developed the textured card, Curt Otto Teich. He made the card for the Fred Harvey Company. Fred Harvey was the originator of the "Harvey House" chain of restaurants and hotels that he built along the railroads in the western United States. He started the company in the late 1800s and he died in 1901. So, this post card was published by the company that he left behind.
In 1897 Harvey took over the news stands for the A.T.&S.F. Railroad and began distributing postcards. Between 1901 and 1932 the Company contracted all their cards with the Detroit Publishing Company (thus, the first post card that we see above). These cards have an H prefix before their identification number, but in addition Detroit published many of Harvey’s images on their own. After Detroit closed, many of Harvey’s cards were contracted out to Curt Teich (thus, the second post card that we see here) among others.

These are the backs of the post cards. The first one is from the White Border Era, printed by the Detroit Publishing Company. You can see in the upper left-hand corner the word "PHOSTINT"; this is the trademark that they used for their own, unique printing process. The same area also shows us that Fred Harvey's company was involved in the publishing of this post card. The description is much longer on this post card than the one below.
The bottom one is the one that was printed by the Curt Otto Teich company. At the very bottom of the middle of this side of the card is the code: 7A-H2919 This tells me that the post card was printed by the Curt Otto Teich company in 1937 - indicated by the "7A" - for Fred Harvey's company. Notice that both companies indicate with an "H" that this job is for Fred Harvey - they just have different numbers for the post card lots.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


The title at the bottom of this post card says, "THRILLING ONE ACT
DRAMA ENTITLED "THE RULER, THE COLLAR AND THE MURPHIES. OR WHY THE SMITHS LEFT HOME AND TRAVELED BY THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY." I found this to be a rather enigmatic sentence. I can see the connection between the ruler and the dollar coin; they are there to give perspective to the size of the potatoes. Even having said that, I believe there may have been some "graphic design" liberties being taken regarding the actual sizes of the elements. On the other hand, I have seen some rather large Idaho potatoes. This picture may be legitimate!! No matter. The picture and the phrasing got me to do some research. Here is what I found:
....1) The post card was mailed on May 13, 1910 so I looked up the dollar coin that was circulating in 1910. The coin was 38.1 millimeters (1.5 inches) in diameter - take a look at the ruler and coin; it is accurate! - and 2.4 millimeters thick. It was composed of silver (90%) and copper (10%). The mints in Carson City, Denver, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Francisco all minted the coin. It is called the Morgan dollar coin because it was designed by George T. Morgan. This website contains lots of information about the history of the dollar coin:
....2) Who are the Murphies? My research has shown me that the Murphies being referred to on this post card are NOT PEOPLE at all. It turns out that Murphy is slang for potato! Between 1820 and 1930 4.5 million Irish people immigrated into the United States. Between 1820 and 1860 they were 1/3 of all the immigrants and in the 1840s they were half of all immigrants. Murphy was a common name shared amount the Irish immigrants. People started to say that the Irish were as plentiful as potatoes. The next leap in parlance was to simply call the potatoes Murphies.
....3) The logo in the top right-hand corner is that of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The railroad charter was approved by Congress in 1864 and it stretched from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Northwest. It had almost 11,000 kilometers (6,800 miles) of track when in 1883 former US president Ulysses S. Grant drove in the last spike. The route through the Pacific Northwest took the track right into the heart of potato growing farmland. Thus, using the potato on the front of a post card with their logo makes perfectly good sense. In fact, the phrasing at the bottom, not so subtly, suggests that you follow the Smiths' good example and take the train to the land of potato plenty.

The back of the post card is trying to continue the potato theme.
Spud is another nick-name for potato. And, notice that Doctor Spud is on the Scenic Highway through the Land of Fortune? This is the same location through which the Northern Pacific Railroad just happened to have been laid. This is the entire back of the post card:
One last interesting item on the post card. Look again at the top picture of the front of the post card. There is a small dot in the bottom right-hand corner. I could not make it out with my large magnifying glass, so I blew it with my scanner.
This is what it looks like: I have no idea what it is, except, maybe, the printer's mark. If it is the printer's mark, my guess is that the printer's name started with an S.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Is This Post Card Related to Last Week's Post Cards?

This is a re-run of one of the post cards from last week. I am not, as the title of this post suggests, questioning if this post card is related to last week's; that is obvious. I am showing it here because I would like you to notice a couple of interesting points.
1) The words in the upper left-hand corner say, "The Kind We Raise in".
2) The flat car on which the onions are setting
3) The number on the flat car: "L. S. & M. S. 26 323"
4) The shape of the train car in front of the flat car (presuming the train is traveling to the right)
5) The ratio of sky, blue sea(?), and train track

Now look at this set of post cards:

The words in the upper left-hand corner say, "The Kind We Raise in our State".

The vegetables are sitting on a flat car.

The number of the flat car: "L. S. & M. S. 26 323".

The shape of the train car in front of the flat car is the same.

And the ratio of sky, blue sea, and train track are the same.

The only difference is that the words on the front have add "our State"

When I turn over the card, it is obvious that these three have been printed and published by the same company.

Now let us look at the post card in question:
Doesn't it look awfully familar?

Here are the only differences:

1) The printing of the words is in black ink instead of the original red.
2) It is a white border card. That means that it was printed between 1915 and 1930.
The company that printed the post cards from last week and the three above was only in business from 1912 to 1914.

That means, to me, that another post card company saw the original post cards, thought they were a great idea, and with no worry about copyright infringement (the original company is now gone), went ahead and published these as their series of post cards. This is what the back looks like. No reference to the original publisher at all:
You can see that the new publisher has decided to start their own series: "Freak Vegetables".

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

I Am Lucky to Have These

Here are two more exaggerated food concept cards. The first one shows a giant potato. The wording tells us that it is "the atmosphere here" that is responsible for the size of the potato, wherever here is - you get to guess, or see on the other side from where the post card was mailed. The bottom one shows two giant onions from wherever... you get to fill in the blank, although there is no line to write on like on the EH Mitchell cards. I am not as excited about the pictures on the fronts of these two cards as I am about what I found on the backs.
The top post card is very ornate and attractive. I wondered which company would draw attention to themselves like that. There is no company name on the card - front or back. I was very disappointed and thought that there is no use in blogging about this post card; there isn't much to say. All I could think about was that I have two copies of that card - one slightly larger than the other. Nothing exciting.

I continued on through Volume 4 of my collection (where the exaggerated pictures post cards are kept). I noticed that the back of the post card with the onions looked familiar. I went back to the potato post card and "Voila!" it had the same "scrolly", fancy design on the back.
It also had some identifying marks at the bottom!! The first mark was this owl and art supplies. I found nothing that corresponded. I greatly depend on the website: for historical information about printers and publishers of post cards. They have done a lot of work and deserve even more credit for that work. There was nothing with the owl logo or Gold Medal Art on their website. So I decided to look at the next indicator on the post card:
I looked up to see if Mr. Google could find a certain J. Herman from 1912. Again, nothing; this includes a search through the Metro website.
The next clue was at the bottom of the line that makes this a divided back era post card:
For this logo I went straight to the Metropolitan website and searched under "M" because that top item looked like a fancy M. This could be interpreted as "MPCo". Scrolling down the Ms I found it!! This is the logo of the Midland Publishing Company from New York City, New York. Here is the description from the website: "A publisher of holiday and greeting cards. Most of their cards were printed in the United States by the Gold Medal Art Company, whose distinctive owl logo appears on the back. Their designs were very simple and often uninspired."

I am luck to have these (I have a total of eight of them) post cards in my collection because the company was only in business from 1912 to 1914.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Celebrating Almonds in California

This post card is definitely celebrating the fact that almonds grow in California. Those are actually flowering almond trees behind the rail car in the post card. This post card was mailed on January 16, 1913 and I wanted to see if the almonds were still being grown in California 107 years later. Sure enough, there are three Almond Growers Associations near (within 300 km) San Francisco. One town, Kerman, has the same name as a town in Iran that grows pistachios. I wonder if this is a coincidence???
This picture to the left is the back of the post card. I cannot read the writing, but I can see that it was sent from San Jose, California to Chicago, Illinois. I also see that the post mark is advertising that there will be an international exhibition in San Francisco in 1915. The World's Panama Pacific Exposition
was from February 20th to December 4th of that year. It was seen as an opportunity to show to the world that they had recovered from the earthquake of 1906. They did very well.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Only One in My Collection

Don't let the title fool you. We are still staying with the theme of exaggerated pictures on post cards with this post. We are straying away from exaggerated edibles to exaggerated lumber
(or rather titles for the lumber). The title on the front of the card is there to get your attention (as if the picture, itself, isn't enough). This particular post card is calling these very large timbers "toothpicks". The back of the post card, however, gives away the truth of the situation.
This shipment of wood is from Washington or Oregon and the people in that area of the United States are proud of their handiwork and production.
Now, to explain the title of this post. I keep track of all the printers and publishers of the post cards in my collection. I have 3,036 post cards from 529 identifiable printers and publishers. This is the only post card with Wesley Andrews in "the credits".
This line has been turned 90 degrees so you can read it. It is actually used as the line between the address and the message sections of the post card - very creative use of words. The texture of the paper used for the post card, the code on the front in the bottom right-hand corner and these words "C. T. ART COLORTONE" tell me that this is a Curt Otto Teich card from early 1932. I have lots of post cards from him. But, this is the only post card that I have with a credit going to Wesley Andrews. I looked him up on the internet and this is what I have found. He was born in Ontario, Canada (YAY! A fellow Canadian!!) and set up his first publishing shop in 1904 in Baker, Oregon. He was also a photographer famous for his views of the Oregon coast. He moved his shop to Portland around 1920 and eventually sold it to Herb Goldsmith before his death in 1950. Andrews donated hundreds of his negatives to the Oregon Historical Society, leaving a legacy of his pioneering photography.
This what the back of the post card looks like: