Types of Postcards
Postcards have undergone several changes since their first appearance. In the initial era postcards used to be simple cards without any images and were primarily used as a simpler alternative to letters. Picture postcards changed this as with the advent of modern photography and printing techniques, it was like sending a postcard to a love one back home was like saying
Dear loved one, I am safe, I am here, and this is what can be seen ‘Here’
Depending on which country you live in, Postcards now days are a souvenir themselves, and one still come across these magnificent small cards with photos of a faraway location which were and still are treasured by travelers and visitors alike.
In this article, we will discuss various types of postcards along with the era when they were popular.
The first printed picture postcard was invented in France in 1870 at Camp Conlie. Leon Besnardau is credited for inventing this postcard which is shown below:
As we can see printing was itself in infancy as this is essentially a black and white postcard. Color postcards would arrive a few decades later.
Undivided Back Postcards
Before 1907 postcards used to have “undivided backs” as private citizens were not allowed on the address side of a postcard. US Post allowed people to write on backside of postcards in 1907 and this heralded a new era of “divided back” postcards which had space on their back for writing.
Divided Back Postcards
Divided back postcards came into existence after 1907 and postcards have changed little since then at least in terms of format.
Before the invention of modern color printing and photography, most images were black and white. In the earliest days of postcards, these images were widely used on them, but many producers and publishers combined black and white images with several color tints which gave these postcards a multicolor appearance.
Tinted postcards were quite popular from late 19th century until early 20th century.
Early 20th century made sea travel faster and affordable for masses due to recently arrived steam locomotives. Millions of people across the world would flock to seaside beaches and resorts in summer and this hasn’t changed much since then as even after a century we see a similar rush to seaside during holidays.
Several postcards depicting seaside were printed during this era and these are collectively known as seaside postcards.
Industrial revolution and changing cultural mores were also reflected in postcards of each era. Saucy postcards are a good example of the change in attitudes towards sex as these often-contained cartoon like figures with small dialogues, which were often bawdy in nature and were repeatedly banned across several countries in 1950’s for moral concerns.
Saucy postcards used innuendos and double-meaning words and were believed to promote promiscuity. They made a comeback in the comparatively liberal decade of 1960’s and are considered by some as an art form.