In this second part of our series on the early history of postcards we continue with the Undivided Back Era which lasted from 1901 to 1907.

It wasn't until the year 1901 that the United States Government allowed the use of the words "Post Card" to be printed on the undivided back of cards that were privately printed. This allowed publishers to drop the authorization inscription that was previously required. Writing however was still limited to the front of the card. But because of this United States action other countries began the same practice. This allowed the front of the card to be used solely for design purposes. This left the back divided so that the left side of the card was used for writing messages and the right side of the card was used for placing the address of where the card was to go. This lead to what was known as the divided back card. England allowed this to be done in 1902, France then followed in 1904 and Germany in 1905. The United States finally allowed the divided back card in 1907. These changes began what is known as the "Golden Age" of postcards. Between 1907 and 1915 divided backs were being done almost over the whole world. However because of the threat of war, which ultimately came, the Golden Age of postcards, where many cards were imported from all over the world, soon came to an end.


In 1916 began what was known as the modern era, which lasted until 1930. During this era the United States began producing what were considered "quality" cards. However they still continued to also produce inferior quality cards to compete with foreign markets. The cards of this era were usually printed with white borders around the photos. Because of this they were known as "white border cards."


In 1930 began what was known as the linen card era, which lasted until 1945. Because of the advances in technology, postcard manufacturers were now able to print cards on linen type paper stock which gave them the ability to use very bright colors. View and comic cards were the ones that were most commonly published on this paper. The most popular cards of this era were the political humor cards of World War II.


Finally we come to what is known as the Photochrome era which began in 1939 and continues up until the present time. What was known as the Union Oil Series, this series launched the new era of photochrome cards. These cards today are called Modern Chromes and are still the most popular cards today. Since the earliest days of postcard printing these are absolutely the most beautiful and high quality cards that were ever made. These cards are very much sought after by collectors. And in spite of the increase in postal rates from one cent to the current rate of twenty-three cents, these cards continue to be very popular.

Yes, postcards are still a hot item. And when the day comes when it costs $1.00 to mail a letter postcards will still be the best value around.


By: Michael Russell
Article Source: Postcard Guide
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