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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Yellow and Red


Early Real Photo Cards

I can’t tell you who this stylish couple is.  I can’t tell you where they lived, but I can tell you when the photos were taken, within a 4-year period – 1903 to 1907.
The paper these real photo post cards are printed on is an Ansco product called Cyko.  The process of the printing is chlorobromide, yielding a warm brown tone.  Cyko came on the market in 1903 and the undivided-back era ended in 1907, when the Universal Postal Conference agreed to allow a message area on the left side of the back, not just the address.  There’s probably a little slippage on the end date, since, as far as I can tell, the U.S. Post Office didn’t ban these backs, just let them fall out of favor.

The blank area to the right of each picture was there for a message of some sort.  These are either one-offs or part of a very limited edition.

Bristol Caverns


This linen finish card was printed in 1950 by Curt Teich in Chicago.  It was published by Bristol News Agency, Bristol Tenn.  And that’s a lot of gassy prose on the back.  Compare:


This card was published ten or so years later.  It’s a modern chrome postcard printed by Haynes of Roanoke.  While much terser, the wording the back is more atmospheric.  The top one is a paragraph from a text book – this one is a clever sell piece.  I don’t know how “mysterious” the cavern is, but the adjective gets the mood across.

Desperado, I think


There’s no identification at all on this old picture.  When I first saw it, I thought, “Desperado!”

And that may be, but his hat’s on crooked and it’s obvious he doesn’t dress like this very often.  He’s wearing suspenders, with both a vest and a coat.  The picture was taken outdoors with some sort of drape or side of a tent behind him.  It looks like there’s a patch over the seat of the chair.  Much used, perhaps.

Otherwise, this man’s identity is lost. I wonder who he was…

Scenes of East Tennessee’s Land of Lakes

etlakesback etlakesfront

This is a souvenir folder from the Curt Teich company in Chicago.  It’s copyrighted 1952.  There are 18 views in the foldout portion.  They’re on medium stock and not presented as postcards (although I’ve seen some of these views as postcards).  The views cover Cherokee, Douglas, Ft. Loudon, Norris, South Holston and Watauga.  Included, for fillers, I guess, are Bristol Caverns and a shot of a highway going on to a bridge.  Missing is Ft. Patrick Henry because, if these pictures were shot in 1951, that dam was just being built (it was completed in 1953).   As I’ve mentioned before, these pictures were shot in black-and-white and were then colored, a little clumsily, at the Curt Teich facility.  The colors, then, are mostly imaginary; although, the photographer would have made color notes for each shot.