It’s hard to imagine a world without postcards. After all, they are such a ubiquitous part of our lives. But postcards have a long and fascinating history that goes back centuries. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history and evolution of postcards, from the early days of mail to the rise of the Golden Age of postcards and into modern times. We’ll also explore the different types of postcards, the ways in which postcards have been used over the years, and the hobby of postcard collecting. So without further ado, let’s explore the fascinating history of postcards.
Photo by Counselling on Pixabay
A Brief History of Postcards
Postcards have been around for centuries, but the modern postcard as we know it today is a relatively recent invention. The first postcard was sent in 1840 in Austria, and it was made from a sheet of paper folded in half and stamped with a postage stamp. By the 1870s, postcards had become popular in the United States, and the U.S. government began issuing its own postcards in 1873. These postcards were a little different than the ones we know today, as they were printed on one side and had to be written on the other side.
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that postcards began to look more like the ones we’re used to seeing today. In 1898, the U.S. government began printing postcards with a white border and a divided back, which allowed for messages to be written on one side and the address on the other. This marked the beginning of the Golden Age of postcards, which lasted from 1898 to 1918. During this period, postcards became increasingly popular and were used for everything from sending messages to inviting people to parties and events.
The Golden Age of Postcards
The Golden Age of postcards was a time when postcards were incredibly popular and widely used. During this period, postcards became an important form of communication, with people sending postcards to each other, to friends and family, and to even complete strangers. Postcards were also used to advertise new products and services, as well as to promote businesses and tourist destinations. In fact, during this period, the postcard industry was highly profitable, with the production of postcards increasing dramatically.
In addition to being a popular form of communication, postcards were also used as a form of entertainment. Many postcards featured colorful, eye-catching images, making them appealing to collectors and those who enjoyed looking at them. This was especially true during the peak of the postcard craze, when postcards were printed with everything from humorous cartoons to beautiful landscapes and famous people.
Popularity of Postcards in the 20th Century
In the 20th century, postcards continued to be popular as a form of communication, but they also gained a new purpose: tourism. Postcards featuring images of tourist attractions, cities, and landmarks became incredibly popular, and many people collected them as a way to remember their travels. Postcards were also used to promote businesses and advertise products, with many businesses sending out postcards to potential customers.
At the same time, postcards began to become more of a novelty. Postcards featuring humorous images, jokes, and riddles became more common, and people began to send postcards for fun instead of as a way to communicate. Postcards were also used to send greetings for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions. By the end of the 20th century, postcards had become an integral part of life, with people sending and receiving postcards on a daily basis.
Postcards as a Source of Historical Information
In addition to being a popular form of communication, postcards are also an important source of historical information. Postcards can provide insight into different aspects of history, from everyday life to major events. For example, postcards from the early 20th century can provide a glimpse into what life was like during that period, from the clothes people wore to the places they visited. Postcards can also provide information about major events such as wars, as many postcards were produced to commemorate battles and other important moments in history.
Postcards can also provide information about how people communicated in the past. Postcards were often used to send messages between family members and friends, and they can provide insight into how people kept in touch with each other during a time before email and social media. In addition, postcards can provide information about how people traveled in the past, as many postcards feature images of different places around the world.
Collecting Postcards: A Hobby for All Ages
Postcards have long been a popular hobby for both young and old. Postcard collecting can be a fun and interesting hobby, as it allows you to explore different aspects of history and culture. It can also be a great way to connect with other collectors, as many postcard collectors have formed online communities where they can trade, discuss, and buy and sell postcards.
Postcard collecting is also a great way to stay connected with family and friends, as postcards are a great way to send messages to loved ones. Postcards can also be used to commemorate special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Plus, postcards can also be a great way to decorate your home or office, as postcards are available in a variety of styles, colors, and designs.
Different Types of Postcards
Postcards come in a variety of types, making them a great choice for all kinds of occasions. There are postcards for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and just about any other occasion you can think of. There are also postcards featuring images of famous people, places, and events, as well as postcards featuring cartoons, jokes, and riddles.
In addition, there are also postcards with a more practical purpose. Postcards can be used to send letters and packages, as well as to advertise products and services. Postcards can also be used for business purposes, such as sending out invitations or announcements. And, of course, postcards are still a great way to stay in touch with family and friends through the mail.
Postcards in the 21st Century
Today, postcards are still a popular form of communication. While email and social media have replaced postcards as the primary form of communication for many people, postcards still have their place in the world. They can still be used to send messages and invitations, but they are also becoming increasingly popular as a form of art. Many people are now creating their own postcards, using digital tools to create unique and colorful images that can be printed and sent through the mail.
In addition, postcards are still widely used as a way to advertise products and services. Companies are now using postcards to reach potential customers, as they are both eye-catching and cost-effective. Postcards can also be used to promote events, such as concerts and festivals, as well as to promote tourist destinations.
Postcards have a long and fascinating history, from the early days of mail to the rise of the Golden Age of postcards and into modern times. Postcards have been used for everything from sending messages to advertising products and services, and they have also been a popular hobby for collectors. Postcards are still widely used today, both as a form of communication and as a form of art. So the next time you receive a postcard in the mail, take a moment to appreciate the long and fascinating history of postcards.