Wooden Postcards and Other Vintage Designs

Wooden postcards tend to fall within three eras: early, vintage (1930s to 1950s) and modern. Several different designs of wooden cards were issued for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Most of these cards consisted mainly of puns on various words associated with wood.

For example:
Exposition is more than oak-a, it is ash-tonishing, you cedar sights of your life...More fun than the beech. I wood spruce up and come. You walnut regret it. Butternut delay.

The Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1905 and the Jamestown Exposition of 1907 also had wooden souvenir postcards. Some of the earliest cards that look like wood and are advertised as wooden probably are cardboard imitations of wood.
The hobby of woodburning or pyrography, was very popular during the same years as the golden age of postcard collecting. The burnt wood postcards are similar in design to leather postcards but the designs were hand burned by the postcard buyer. The wooden cards are also much harder to get than the leather cards.
Most of the burnt wood postcards were burned over printed designs. Some designs may have been copied or traced from patterns although possibly the artist's design was reversed or altered by the manufacturer. Flemish Art was the largest and best-known pyrographic manufacturer.

leather cards

Leather postcards sometimes had a printed design. This was used to show buildings and other precision details. The brown ink used was difficult to tell from an actual burned design. Not being of card stock, the postcard was mailed at the 2 letter rate.

Letter Card

The Letter Card was a product used exclusively in Canada by the Folkard Company of Canada Limited, Montreal. It comprised a pre-printed letter sheet that when folded and glued closed could be mailed as a postcard. To open and read the message you would tear off a perforated and gummed margin.

Moonlight Effect

In the era when photographing by moonlight was a great technical achievement, postcard publishers came up with a means of faking such views. You had to be very meticulous trying to simulate accurate moonlight conditions. A day scene was selected with no people or shadows in sight. The view was then retouched by darkening the sky. Painting a disc in the sky represented the moon and brightly lighting the windows gave the impression of a night scene.

Multiple-Fold Panoramic

The multiple-fold panoramic postcard was a long horizontal format card usually with a panoramic view of a city that was folded for mailing.

Sunken Centre Photographs

Sunken centre real photograph postcards have a wide white border slightly raised by embossing so that the picture or pictures seem to be framed.


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