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Category Archives: Existing photo processed by Bob Lawrence

N. H. D. V. S. Barracks, Johnson City TN

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The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers had just recently been built when the picture was taken (note the horse and wagon in the foreground).  It’s a lithograph printed in Germany.

USS Shenandoah

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This is a modern real-photo postcard with no attribution.  The picture, however, apparently depicts the USS Shenandoah (ZR-1), which was launched in 1923 and felled by a storm in Ohio in 1925.

The Cunard R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth

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Nice mid-50s Cunard postcard with an artist’s rendering of the original Queen Elizabeth, launched in 1938, but only carried troops until 1946, when it entered regular commercial service.  The artist is C. F. Hopkinson, who actually worked for Cunard as an accountant, according to this posting.

United Mainliner

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This nice postcard is from the late 1940s.  United used that logo from 1940 to 1954.  “Mainliners” were DC-3s.  With world-wide production, some 16,000 of these planes entered service somewhere…and some are probably still flying.

Two Kids

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This is a cropped version of a real photo postcard, printed on Artura stock that was made between 1910 and 1924.  The image was very faded with moderate spotting and scratches.

A couple of things:  I have heavily kicked up the contrast and the sharpness. I brightened the light reflections in the kids’ eyes, but I can’t correct the problem with the left kid’s left leg, as you view him.  Notice that it looks like his leg ends before it even gets to the shoe.  I enlarged it and it appears to be a lens aberration or a case of poor processing.  Maybe he didn’t have a leg there…who knows?

Lonely in Limestone

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This card was mailed almost exactly 104 years ago, when Limestone TN had cowboys and stage coaches. Ah, those were the days…

This is a standard-size postcard, a generic issue overprinted with “Limestone”.  These cards were generally sold by an agent of the printing company, so this particular motif was chosen by someone local…the one who placed the order.  I do not see any printer’s credit on the card.  By 1914 there were dozens of print shops churning out varieties of cheap postcards.

One other <yawn> interesting aspect of this card: to read the message, you rotate the card toward you.  Most cards require a horizontal rotation.

Bahama Star

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The old Bahama Star is what I am after.  Here’s a link to its page in the Wiki.

As noted, it came to the rescue of the burning Yarmouth Castle in 1965.  The captain was then Carl Brown, better known to Rogersvillians as Carl Netherland-Brown.  He was just two weeks into his captaincy when the Yarmouth Castle event took place.

This New Bahama Star?  What’s left of it is part of a breakwater at Taiwan.

Blimp?

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Blimp?  What blimp?  Notice that not one person on that beach is looking upward at this gigantic blimp floating along.  Well, why not, for gosh sakes?  Because the blimp’s not really there.  This is a composite image, as far as I can tell.  Well done, too.

An L-Class Goodyear blimp.  The resolution of the image, plus a pesky palm frond, keep me from reading the NC number on the bottom tail fin.  And I don’t know what that blue and yellow signal flag means.

Here’s the reverse:

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Don (?) Rey

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This colorful, embossed cigar label was printed in the 1920s, when Don Rey cigars were being made in Red Lion PA by T. E. Brooks & Co. (later Van Slyke & Horn).  As far as I can determine, the company lasted from 1910 to 2011, when the assets were auctioned off.  The brand is now being produced in Puerto Rico (if they survived the hurricane).

Hmm.  Pillbox hat, red kerchief and lipstick, sideburns.  Early gender dysphoria?

Ozark Air Lines DC-9

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Oversize 5″ x 7″, company-issued postcard.  Since Ozark Air Lines acquired its first DC-9s in 1966, I would suppose this card dates from about then.  Ozark lasted from 1950 to 1986, when it was bought out by TWA.  The company was based in St. Louis.

Sneaky!

Both of these postcards show a Delta DC-7 with different livery (color scheme).  And, except for the livery, they both feature the same photograph.  Whoever did the retouching was really good.   These are from the mid- to late-50s.  This particular DC-7 was “written off” in 1962, after a service of  eight years.
On the back: “Delta-C&S Air Lines Golden Crown DC-7’s are world’s fastest airlines.  This luxurious transport, seating 69 passengers cruises at 365 miles per hour at 25,000 feet, has a top speed of 410 miles per hour.”

The card was printed by Delta and included in folders presented to passengers upon boarding.  The flight attendant would mail this card for you at no charge (I think).  All you had to do was address the card and scrawl something banal as a message.

 

Wienermobile!

 

I put the back of the card first because that’s Meinhardt Raabe as “Little Oscar”. Starting in 1937, he was the original little person (he was 4′ tall) to be the official representative of Oscar Mayer Wieners.  This card dates to the 40s.

Raabe was in The Wizard of Oz.  He was the coroner who pronounced the Wicked Witch as “dead”.  Ding, dong, etc.

The credits are:  Pub. by William Wollin Studio, Madison 3, Wisc.   (63826)

Dextone Made Direct from Kodachrome and Ansco Color by Dexter Press, West Nyack, N.Y.

Wilbur Dam, Twice

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On the back: PLANT OF WATAUGA POWER ON WATAUGA RIVER NEAR JOHNSON CITY WHICH FURNISHES ELECTRICAL CURRENT FOR INDUSTRIAL, COMMERCIAL AND DOMESTIC PURPOSES TO THIS CITY, THE CITY OF BRISTOL AND SEVERAL SMALLER TOWNS.

This is Wilbur Dam.  The dam, fully completed and on line in 1912, actually began generating electricity on a test basis to Elizabethton on December 25, 1911, apparently making it the earliest major hydro-electric generating facility in Tennessee.  According to Jackie and Dawn Trivette Peters in Images of America – Carter County (page 101), it was named for James Wilbur, a sawmill operator “in the community”.  Thanks to Joe Penza, Archivist at the Elizabethton – Carter County Public Library,  I found out the whole story and it hinges more on the importance of a railroad name than that of a logging operator.  Joe forwarded documents to me that noted the Virginia and Southwestern Railroad Company had established a flag station and side track for the logging operation on Big Laurel Branch.  The railroad named it “Wilbur Station”. So, the dam, officially known as “Horseshoe Bend Dam”, took on the name “Wilbur Dam”.  When TVA bought the dam in 1945, the name stuck.

Dan Crowe, in his book The Horseshoe People (1976/self-published), quotes an Aunt Cass Carden as saying during the dedication of the dam ceremony, “Youngins, they’re a-burnin’ a hairpin in a bottle.”  I think she was referring to a light bulb.

Curt Teich Printing Company of Chicago began producing the (above) C.T. American Art Colored cards in 1915, using an offset printing process.   Later, in the early 1930s, using new European inks and linen-effect embossing, they brightened the cards up tremendously.  This Asheville Post Card Company card, from the 1970s, shows how the process, along with more careful and artistic photo editing of the original  black-and-white photograph, produced a much more pleasing picture.  The colors and other details were added at the facility and printed using a five-plate process:

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That suspension bridge in front of the dam was for a time the only access to the powerhouse.

Cool Stuff!

Tah-dah!  It’s Frigidaire Day!

This is a Frigidaire promotional post card from around 1955.  Frigidaire, which began as a brand in 1916, is now owned by Electrolux. The range I bought about six months ago is a Frigidaire.  Heats rather than cools, though.

This card, with a real model instead of a cartoon character, is from 1959.  The new FROST-PROOF model, with the freezer compartment on the bottom, and in the infamous Avocado tone.   The two brand names I can determine in this screened image are Birdseye (began as General Seafood Corporation by Clarence Birdseye in 1923) and Morton (began in Louisville in 1940).  Since nothing in advertising is spontaneous, I suspect some deals got made.
Do not try this pose at home.
Y’know, I think she’s actually wearing that logo crown, which is intensified by the “sunburst” behind her head.  I wonder how long it took to set that shot up…

You Just Never Know…

You just never know what will turn up at a local antique store…

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As you can see, this portrait was shot at Hodges in Bristol, sometime in the early part of the 20th century.  There is no other information anywhere on the picture.  It’s just a b&w photographic print mounted on a stiff board, not a carte d’visite.  Unless this dude’s carrying a puppy in his coat pocket, he’s awfully wide hipped. He’s also holding up an unfurled umbrella. Is that a code?

You can make all sorts of guesses about his expression.

Day of Delivery, maybe

This post card, published by Beechcraft, was mailed from St. Louis in November, 1960.  This aircraft, a Beechcraft Super G18 (G18S), was manufactured in 1959 for delivery in 1960.  There were a lot of variants of the aircraft, but, in general, they were dual engine.  This one has just the one.  Part of the picture here was used as an advertising poster for this Beechcraft.  On the back: “Top Speed 234 mph. Top Range 1,626 miles”.

The aircraft ended up in Nuku’acofa, Tonga, as part of their air medical service.

Johnson Bible College

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According to Tennessee Place Names, by Larry L. Miller (Indiana University Press), Kimberlin Heights got its name, eventually (1887), from Jacob Kimberlin, who mined lead in the area in the late 1700s.  In 1897, Ashley S. Johnson founded the School for Evangelists in Kimberlin Heights near the French Broad River.  He allowed the school to be named after him in 1909 and stayed as its head until his death in 1925.  As those of you who have used typewriters can attest, it’s difficult to type a post card on them.  This was nicely done.  The stamp isn’t any help in dating the card, since 1 cent postage covered a number of years.  Kraus Manufacturing of New York, the publisher of this card, was in business from 1912 to 1930.

The school still exists as Johnson University.

 

Good Year Blimp “Vigilant”

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The Good Year Blimp “Valiant” NC-11A.  Built in 1929, it was wrecked when it ran into a mountainside near Piedmont AL on November 22 (or 20), 1930.  No one was injured.  The car and fins were used to build the “Columbia”, which lifted off in Akron OH in 1931.  It encountered devastating winds while attempting to land at Queens Airport in New York on February 12, 1932.  The mechanic on board died when the aircraft shifted and dropped him 50 feet into a gravel pit.  The pilot survived.

The reason I mention all this is the noting of the 1930 census in the Chamber puff piece on the back.  Because of the Great Depression, there was a great political need to find out the extent of unemployment, so the results were hurried out.  I doubt if the Chamber of Commerce of St. Pete would have had the information quoted before the second quarter of 1931.  This picture was taken in the summer of 1930 (can’t tell from the vegetation, since the picture was hand colored at the printing plant, and, by gum, it’s always summer in St. Pete, I’ve heard) and, by the time this card was published, the blimp was long gone.

 

Downtown Bristol TN/VA

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I’ve been mulling over this card for several weeks.  It bothers me.  I grant that it is a picture taken by the legendary Kelly & Green in Bristol. There’s an embossed “K&G 1931” either on the original negative or on the original print.    The EKKP around the “PLACE STAMP HERE” square makes this a Real Photo card printed sometime between 1904 and 1950, when this paper stock was discontinued.  The rest of the back style seems consistent with a 1930s production date (Real Photos are essentially one-offs).

As is typical with camera lenses of the 30s, the focus gets soft around the edges, but it quite crisp in the middle. ( That’s a fake State Line, by the way.  It was drawn in on the negative)  However, on the card itself, the focus is tight to where State Street goes over the hill past the railroad tracks.

The blurring on the car in the foreground doesn’t bother me too much. It may have been veering to avoid that dude standing in the middle of the street with a camera on a tripod.

It’s the clean back that bothers me.  Yet, Real Photos are printed on a higher quality paper than a regular postcard and, if it was done by K&G, it was properly washed after fixing.  If it has been kept separate from any other degrading element (like acidic paper of a photo album), it could very well be in this good condition.

So, I’m 90% sure it’s real.  Still, there’s that other 10%.

In the Land of the Sky

I was going through a pile of perfectly uninteresting post cards at a flea market and happened across this one.  I recognized that it was early, so, for research practice, I bought for the extravagant sum of $1.
Turned out to be an interesting card.  It dates to around 1913 and refers to a sobriquet once applied to the State of North Carolina.  The Land of the Sky, or, Adventures in Mountain Byways is a book published in 1876 by Christian Reid, a.k.a. Mrs. Frances Tiernan.   Later, Asheville adopted the phrase to describe its own vaunted location.  I don’t get the “coffee” bit, nor the reference to Blockade Hill, but I haven’t read the book and will read it probably never, so, well, there you are.

The card was published by Southern Post Card Company in Asheville and it was printed by Curt Teich in Chicago. Teich’s inventory numbers weren’t as organized the the teens as they later became, but the number does set it right at 1913.  In 1914, the publishing houses went to the “Let’s Save Ink!” white-border style (oh, a note: as I’ve mentioned before, if you read that the “linen era” cards were called that because using linen gave them a nice texture, you’ll know the author didn’t know about post card production…the linen finish was applied during printing by using a special textured plate).  Read all about it in the excellent Postcard America, Curt Teich and the Imaging of a Nation by Jeffrey L. Meikle (University of Texas Press, 2015/ISBN 978-0-292-72661-1)

Good card.  Glad I forked over a buck for it.