Post Card (divided back)   1907 - Present

Postcard back

Great Britain was the first Country to issue divided back postcards in 1902 followed by France and Germany. This quickly led to a sharp increase in card sales. To keep in step with Europe the United States released new postal regulations on March 1, 1907 that divided the back of postcards in half, the left side for a message, the right for postage and address. This date is often referred to as the birth of the modern postcard for it created the same format that we use today. On some of the earliest cards of this period the dividing line is left of center often accompanied by printed instructions of what could be written and where. The most obvious affect of this new measure is that it allowed an image to take up the entire front of a card, though some publishers maintained a small border tab for a few remaining years. Older cards also continued to be used, often with a hand drawn line down the middle. The advantage to contemporary collectors is that most people of the period stopped writing messages across the card’s image.

Because halftone and gravure printing form images though the accumulation of many small markings, text printed in this manner tends to look fuzzy. To solve this problem the text on most cards were printed in letterset during a second printing after that of the image. But as cards started assuming the form of full bleeds many began printing their titles on their backs where single colored solid tones were suitable. This new available space led to ever increasing amounts of narrative being added alongside the title. Although short narratives have found their way onto the backs of postcards since private mailing cards, this form became more common in the 1930’s and is still prevalent today.

Use the link below for a more compleate history of this period.


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