A cabinet card consists of a 4 by 5 1/2 inch photograph, usually on thin albumen or carbon paper, pasted to a rigid 4 1/4 by 6 1/2 inch color board to prevent curling. The photo studio’s name is printed on the front or back of the card, very often with decorative gold gilding. These cards were almost exclusively used for portraiture and sparked the photo retouching profession. Though often put out in display cabinets, they were made in a specific size to fit into specially made albums for collectors. Other photographs of various but consistent sizes that were pasted onto cards went by different names such as Boudoir, Imperial, Promenade, Trilby, and Victoria, but the cabinet card was the most popular. Though never meant to be sent through the mail, they were in many ways a precursor to real photo postcards for they ingrained the habit of collecting photo images with the public. The introduction of heavy weight photo paper needed to make real photo postcards made mounted cards relatively expensive and unnecessary, which helped usher in their demise. Introduced in 1863, cabinet cards were popular until the turn of the century though manufactured until 1924.
A cachet is a rubber hand stamp placed on a letter or postcard by an institution other than a Government Post Office. They were usually designed and used to commemorate a special event. Sometimes an official government hand stamped cancel that contains an unusual design is also referred to as a cachet.
Calendering refers to the pressing of paper between two metal rollers in its final stage of manufacture. As pulp dries on a screen, the pattern of the screen will impart itself onto the bottom side of the paper while the top will develop a rough and irregular surface as it dries. These papers in natural form are often used by artists but they provide a poor substrate for commercial printing that usually requires a smoother surface to pick up detail. To achieve this natural paper can be flattened by passing it between heavy polished rollers, a process called cold press. If even smoother paper is needed the rollers can be heated, a process referred to as hot press. Various textures can also be embossed into the paper at this stage by creating a textured stereotype for one of the rollers. This is how textured paper was manufactured for linen postcards. The calendering process is also used with textiles and plastic sheets.
A cancel is the placement of a mark over postage to designate that it has been accepted into use by a postal system and to prevent it from being used for postal services again. There are various types of cancels and the more unique ones are collected. One type of collectible cancel has different designs or slogans incorporated within them. Another category are cancels from unusual postal facilities such as those on ships, railroads, trolleys, pneumatic offices, and from expositions. Sometimes cards with rural free delivery (R.D.F.) cancels fall into this category. Postmarks issued from defunct post offices or former U.S. Territories are also collected. Certain cancels can add great value to a postcard’s worth.
Carbo Colour is a trade name for a type of tinted halftone postcard printed by Valentine’s during the 1930’s. They are characterized by an open halftone over light red, yellow, and pale blue dots and solid tones. There is so little color mixing that these cards sometimes appear to be hand colored.
In 1855 Alphonse Louis Potevin elaborated on the gum printing process and found a new way of reproducing photographic images. These carbon prints as they became known were made by the triple transfer of a photographic image onto gelatin emulsions. Three pieces of paper are coated with a photosensitive gelatin emulsion containing carbon powder. The first sheet is exposed to a negative and developed out with water. It is then positioned emulsion to emulsion with a second sheet of hardened gelatin, and pressed together into one piece. The paper from the first sheet is then removed. This thin gelatin film is called carbon tissue. The areas on it exposed to light have hardened while the remaining gelatin has washed away. Because the fully exposed areas are now attached to the new paper side, the remaining mid-tones and highlights tend to wash off producing images with poor tonal range. Since this image was transferred from one tissue to another it is now in reverse, and must be transferred by the same process to the third emulsion to regain the correct orientation. This method would be improved upon by many others such as John Pouncy in 1858, but the basic principals remained the same.
Joseph Wilson Swan took this technique a step further by adjusting the transfer process so that the gelatin emulsion photosensitized with potassium dichromate was only washed after the first transfer and from the opposite side thus preserving more of the original detail. An alum bath would then be used to harden the remaining gelatin. This new type of emulsion was known as gelatin tissue, which Swan patented in 1864. The photographic prints created through these improvements display a wide and rich tonal range. Substituting various pigments for the original carbon could also change the color of the final print. Because no silver is used these photographs are known for their permanence and were made in large numbers until 1910.
Carbon tissue is a thin gelatin emulsion photosensitized with potassium dichromate and infused with a fine carbon powder, patented by Alphonse Louis Poiteven in 1855 and improved upon by John Pouncy in 1858. Further experimentation by J.W. Swan in 1864 led to its evolution into gelatin tissue.
A card photo refers to any type of photograph, though usually albumen, pasted onto paperboard. Early photographs were made on thin sheets of paper that suffered from extreme curling due to the emulsion on one sided drying at a different rate than its plain paper back. They were often pasted onto stiff paperboard to prevent this curling. Card photos almost always had borders and came in a range of set sizes so those who collected them could more easily place these cards in albums. Each size had its own name with the most popular varieties being the cartes de visite, the cabinet card, and the stereo-view. As postcards became popular, photo paper began to be manufactured on a heavier stock that did not curl as much so they could be used as postcards. Since these real photo postcards were less expensive to produce they quickly replaced most card photos by 1910.
Card Stock (Pressboard)
Card stock is a stiff heavyweight commercial paper used when durability is needed. It can be manufactured in a thick single sheet but it usually consist of many thinner sheets of paper pressed or pasted together. Each layer is referred to as a ply. Pressboard is used for postcards and trade cards among other items. On postcards manufactured without adequate paste or stored in damp conditions, the different plies can sometimes separate from one another.
Cartephilia is an archaic term used in the early 20th century to describe postcard collecting. It was passed down years later to describe those who collect reward or trading cards (Cartephiles).
A cartel is a group of corporations who have made agreements with one another to similarly address mutual business concerns such as price fixing, supply limits, and sales quotas, all to stifle competition. Cartel agreements often create de facto monopolies. Since outlawed in the United States by antitrust laws, cartels can be mostly found in Europe where they now operate on international levels.
A cartouche is framing element surrounding a body of text. It originally referred to elongated oval shapes in Egyptian hieroglyphs that contained a royal name. The term was latter applied to the highly decorative scroll work placed on printed matter, especially maps that enclosed a title and other relevant information. These ornamentations were often created and designed to fill up otherwise empty compositional space. The more simple shapes that contain calligraphy on Japanese prints is also referred to as a cartouche.
Cartes de Visite (Visiting Card)
A cartes de visite is a photograph, usually albumen, pasted to a rigid 2 1/2 by 4 inch card with the photo studio’s name printed on the front or back. Introduced by the Frenchman Andre Adolphe Eugene Disdore in the 1850’s, they remained popular until the 1880’s when replaced in popularity by the larger cabinet card. Cartes de visite served many purposes from personal calling cards to album collectibles depicting family members or famous personalities. They were often referred to as Album Cards.
Celesque was the trade name for a type of early tricolor postcard printed in series by the Photochrom Company. Their pallet consisted of red, yellow, and blue halftones. Celesque cards were manufactured in Great Britain.
When a halftone with elliptical dots (rhomboid) is used to print an image and these oblong dots (chain dots) grow larger they begin to merge into one another on the same axis forming a chain like linear pattern. This elliptical pattern that tends to render better mid-tone values and creates smoother tonal transitions was widely used on postcards.
A chalk plate is a variation of the line block technique. Here a metal plate, usually of steel, was first covered with a thin layer of chalk with the consistency of wet plaster. Once dry it could be drawn upon with a stylus in the same manner as a grounded etching plate. The stylus removes the chalk in thin lines exposing the steel underneath without damaging its surface. After the drawing was complete the surface of the plate could be cast in metal (stereotyped), and mounted onto a wood block or a rotary cylinder. When rolled with ink, only the highest level where the lines had been placed would receive thus reproducing the drawing. While this simple form of producing illustrations came into stiff competition with halftone reproduction, it required less equipment to make, and proved a lot cheaper for small printers to deal with. The results are fairly indistinguishable from line blocks in black & white and color work.
A charity seal is a stamp (cinderella stamp) that is affixed to an envelope or a postcard that does not contribute to the required postage. They are sold typically around Christmas to raise money for charity. The first such stamp was conceived in 1904 by the Danish postmaster Einer Holboll, in order to raise money to fight tuberculosis. He formed the Christmas Seal Committee to supervise these efforts, and by 1911 they had raised enough money to build their first sanatorium. This concept was brought to the United States in 1907 by Emily Bissell. Seals were sold here in sheets and booklets after the Thanksgiving holiday. Many of these stamps held the double bared Cross of Lorraine, which was suggested by the Frenchman, Dr. Sersiron as a symbol of the crusade against illness. This was replaced with the star and crescent where charity seals were adopted by Muslim nations. Seals continue to be used in many countries and for many different causes.
A chase is an iron or steel frame designed to contain letterpress type or block images. When a chase is locked together with its contents for printing on a press bed they create a form.
A checklist is a list of titles along with the identification numbers of all the postcards issued by a single publisher. Collectors sometimes put checklists together as few such records exist from publishers or printing firms. Businesses often kept bad records and many of those that did accurately document output often had their records destroyed in war or they were discarded after the company went out of business. Only a few checklists exist for postcards and most of these are incomplete.
Chemical paper is made by cooking wood chips in a bisulfate of lime or a caustic soda at high temperatures. This reduces wood into pure cellulose that can be further processed into different paper types. It is often bleached and sometimes combined with other types of fibers. Its high chemical residue eventually causes this paper to yellow and become brittle with age. Most postcards as almost all ephemera are made from this type of pulp.
The Italian term chiaroscuro is used to describe the compositional use of light and darks to create form and space within a picture without the use of color. Many paintings at the time of the Renaissance were first laid down in black & white to create the tonal structure of the image. This would then be painted over with translucent color in the form of glazes. Sometimes chiaroscuro was also used to describe the method of drawing on tinted paper where both highlights and shadows could be drawn in. These same tinting effects were latter put into use in various forms printing, and sometimes incorporated into their names.
China Clay (Kaolin)
China clay is the white mineral kaolinite (hydrous aluminum silicate), formed by the decomposition of aluminum silicates, particularly feldspar. The Chinese used Kaolin since the 7th century in the manufacture of porcelain. Today it is most widely used in the coating of papers to create a bright glossy surface that will not absorb printing ink.
Chine Collé (Chine Appliqué)
The Chine Collé process begins with a thin sheet of India paper holding a dried coating of water soluble paste on its back that is cut to the exact size of the printing plate. It is carefully placed over the inked plate and then a much thicker sheet of moistened paper is laid over it. When pressure is applied during printing the thick wet paper moistens the dry paste on the back of the thin paper and a bond is formed between the two creating one single sheet. The pasting of these papers through a press became known as chine collé in France where the India paper that was most often used was called China paper. Though sometimes employed to create a finer impression on heavy stock, these papers were most often used to create a toned or color backdrop to the image that normal printing papers did not offer. Chine Collé was also used in a collage fashion to create decorative elements within an image.
Chinoiserie is a decorative style introduced to Europe in the late 1600’s influenced by the large scale arrival of imported goods and pictures from China. While Chinoiserie had its greatest impact among those countries with the most Chinese trade, England, Holland, and Portugal, the style eventually spread to all parts of Europe. It was applied primarily to architecture in the creation of fanciful structures of unusual proportions such as the pagodas that filled the gardens of many large estates. Lacquer like materials were often employed in their creation. The style peaked in the mid 18th century when Rococo dominated the arts. As America entered the China trade similar influences began to appear in the United States but to a lesser extent. After 1860 this style would blend into the more influential elements arriving from Japan.
Chloride paper is a blue light sensitive photo paper coated with an emulsion of silver chloride in gelatin. When first introduced this paper was considered so fast that it was marketed as capable of being exposed under gaslight (gaslight paper), as opposed to exclusively by sunlight. This paper however proved too slow for enlarging and was only used for contact printing. Chloride paper is printed out and produces a very fine tonal range with excellent detail, but it tends to produce a yellow or red cast, so it is often toned. It was the first paper used for real photo postcards.
A Chris-A-Tone card is the trade name for an early type of natural color Photochrome postcard published by Christian’s Photo Service in Portland, Oregon.
Chrome, from the Greek khrõma meaning color, eventually became shorthand for a photochrome, the product of photochromy, which is the process of producing a printed image in natural color directly derived from photography. The term has been more widely used as a common nickname for the type of glossy photographic color postcard produced since the 1940’s. Chrome is also sometimes used as a suffix to brand names of printed products or film to designate the use of color.
Anything chromatic is perceived as having a hue, it is neither white, gray or black.
A chromiste was a highly trained specialist who worked at a printshop in the production of chromolithographs. His job was to create a full sized study known as a key drawing, which was needed to outline (key line) where each of the chosen colors would go. His final positioning of each color was then traced off of the key by a retoucher onto a glassine or gelatin sheet for transferring on to its own stone. He also determined the order in which inks were printed, which further controlled the final colors. One printed the chromiste would examine the proof, and then make any needed corrections to each stone. A chromiste is sometimes referred to as an art director.
The term chromo began being used as a common abbreviation for a chromolithograph in the 1840’s. The printer Louis Prang would appropriate the term chromo during the 1860’s as an informal trademark for his work. He claimed that he was the originator of this term, but this was nothing more than a marketing ploy. The cheapness of chromos made them a democratic art form that many people could enjoy. Many elitists however saw this as a cheapening of art, and by the turn of the 20th century the term chromo was being commonly used to describe any poor quality reproductions or anything cheap and vulgar. Some at this time referred to the United States derogatorily as the chromo nation. The term was so common that all forms of chromolithography began to be seen under a bad light, which contributed to its demise.
Chromo, from the Greek khrma meaning color, is also used as a prefix to many words such as chromolithography to describe color lithography.
The term chromolithography specifically means a lithographic print produced in three or more colors but latter it was used to only reference those commercial lithographs printed by technicians from twelve or more stones during the 1880Ős up through the First World War that reproduce the work of other artists. Today we are generally a bit more broad in its definition. Color had been used in lithography since the process was invented in 1796, but Godefrey Engleman first put it to commercial use in France during the 1830’s. America’s first chromolithograph would be made in Boston in 1840. By the late 19th century these prints had gained immense popularity with the rising middle class as they became a cheep alternative to original art work. Some images were being printed in as many as 45 colors to duplicate the effects of paintings. This made them difficult to print since tight registration was needed to create a flawless image, and they often suffer from a dull look as light cannot easily pass through all the layers of ink and reflect back off the paper’s surface to the eye. While many forms of color lithographs exist, only those drawn by hand in many hues rather than produced through photography are now generally called chromolithographs. From this process a whole range of printed color paper products flooded the market of which much was collected, and in 1889 the world’s first color postcard was printed in Austria. For the remainder of the Century chromolithography was the primary method of producing color cards.
The rivalry between letterpress and color lithography led to the line block being adapted to multiple plate color printing in the 1860’s. Chromotypographs were different from chromolithographs in ways apart from the obvious technology. There was no attempt to employ the same wide range of colors as they shied away from art reproduction and realistic rendering. Their limited pallet of line blocks became part of their economy, which also made them easy to use. Simple illustration, comics, advertising in more stylized graphic design became the mainstay of this technique. Chromotypographs employed a wide variety of textures but rarely plain dots. Some of these textures were created by drawing or spatter, while other marks were etched into the broad lines of the plate to print in white. Aquatint was often used in the production line block plates to create random texture. This allowed for more interesting patterns of optical blending when multiple color plates were combined. As the general trend at the turn of the 20th century turned toward printing with less color, the more elaborate forms of chromotypography came to an end.
Chromoxylography was an early method of color printing in which three separate wood engraved blocks would be inked in red, blue, and yellow, and when printed together would yield a single color image. Although labor intensive, this method was not usually used for quality illustrations for it created an unusual look, not a natural one. This technique was usually applied to simple illustrations such as those used for comics. This tradition was later carried on in comics even when they began being printed in lithography as the style was so distinct.
Cigarette cards are a type of free reward cards containing advertising and other imagery that accompanied the purchase of cigarettes. Allon & Ginter were the first to print images on the cardboard stiffeners in cigarette packs in 1886, and the trend continued into the 1930’s. Cigarette cards like the trade cards that inspired them, became collectors items before postcards, and reached their peak in popularity between the two World Wars. Production stopped during WWII due to supply shortages, and they were never produced in large numbers again. They had been the most popular form of reward cards.
A cinderella refers to any stamp placed on an envelope or postcard that does not contribute to official postage. They are often issued for purposes of raising money for charity, as commemoratives, for propaganda purposes, and even as art. They are also sometimes used within private mail networks. Non-postage stamps issued by government agencies are often placed in a separate category.
A Cirkut camera is one of many different types of rotating panoramic cameras. Panoramic cameras first made their appearance in 1857 but the most popular was the Cirkut cameras that began to be manufactured by the Century Camera Company of Rochester, N.Y. in 1907. It was designed to take shots of large groups of people, for its ability to rotate allowed the camera to be moved close in to the subject and still capture the entire scene. They came in different sizes using filmstrips between two and twenty feet long. The Eastman Kodak Company eventually bought this firm out and continued to manufacture Cirkut cameras. Many multi-paneled postcards were made from photographs taken by these cameras. Modern variations of this camera are still used today.
A Clucking Clerk is a type of postcard vending machine in which the buyer makes a card selection, inserts money, and then the card is dispensed by a chicken. This device made its first appearance in Hot Springs, Arkansas with chickens trained by animal psychologist Keller Breland. Despite the fame these birds received from magazine articles and television shows they were never paid more than chicken feed.
The four CMYK colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black form the basis of process printing. The K representing Key is used to signify black to avoid its confusion with blue. The combination of these primary subtractive colors in varying proportions can create the illusion of a full color printed image. When all three subtractive primaries are combined as pure light, black is formed, but the chemical composition of color pigments react differently than light energy; they cannot absorb all wavelengths and create a dark muddy brown instead. Because of the inability of inks to mix into an optical black, black ink needs to be added to the three primaries as a fourth color when using them in printing.
A paper that has a coating applied to it to give the sheet a brighter, glossier appearance, and improved printability by preventing ink absorption is called a coated paper. Both sides of a paper sheet can be coated, but when only one side is coated it tends to curl. This type of paper was originally coated by hand, but the process had become completely mechanized by the mid-19th century. Paper coatings are made from substances like China Clay or calcium carbonate, and can account for 50% of a paper’s weight.
A cockle finish is sometimes applied to machine made papers to make it resemble the uneven puckered look of a hand made paper. This effect is created by air drying the paper under little or no tension. While cockle finishes were most often used when manufacturing bond writing paper, it was occasionally used in the production of postcards. This finish can cause inks to blur making the printing technique employed sometimes difficult to discern. A postcard left to air dry after being wet will assume a similar finish but this is considered damage.
A collectable is a manufactured item that possesses the attractive characteristics necessary to cause someone to save it without any regard to its practical use. Collectibles can be ephemera, those paper objects such as tickets or match covers that were made to be discarded after use, or they can also be objects that never served a practical purpose but were specifically made for the collector such as baseball cards. Many items as postcards fall between categories as they have always been purchased to send messages as well as purely collected. The term collectable entered general use in the 1930’s to distinguish vintage objects from antiques which implies an age of at least a hundred years. Postcards are now shifting from collectable to antique by that definition. Natural objects like seashells are not considered collectables even though they are collected.
Collodion is a base used for photo emulsions invented by J.B. Obernetter in Germany in 1867. It is made from nitrocellulose suspended in ether or alcohol, rendering it highly flammable and dangerous to use. It was mixed with silver chloride to produce printing out papers in both matte and glossy surfaces. While it produced brown to purplish hues, collodion could also be toned into many different colors. This emulsion is appreciated for the sharp detail and subtleties it can capture often causing collodion photos to be mistaken for platinum prints. It lost its popularity around 1900 but was still in use to 1920.
Collotype (Glass Printing)
A collotype is a type of continuous tone photomechanical print commercially perfected by Josef Albert in Munich in 1868. It is based on the phototypie of Alphonse Louis Poitevin who patented the earlier process in France in 1855. The prefix collo is derived from the Greek word kolla meaning glue, which is in reference to the fish glue first used to make emulsions. The process starts with a greyed glass plate that is coated with a photosensitive dichromate colloid gelatin. When exposed to light through a reverse negative, the lit areas harden into an insoluble finish in proportion to the tones of the image. The dichromate in areas with little or no exposure to light is washed out from the gelatin in cold water. The finished plate is then printed in a similar manner to a lithograph. A solution of glycerin and water is spread over the plate’s surface, which is absorbed by the gelatin. The dark tones absorb little or no moisture while the lighter tones and non-image areas absorb the most. When a stiff greasy ink is rolled over the plate, the non-image areas holding the most moisture repel the ink, and the dry hardened image areas attract the ink. The image is then transferred to paper through a flatbed cylinder press. The shallow plate cannot produce the dark rich tones of gravure, but this makes it very receptive to hand coloring. Darker images were sometimes obtained by inking the plate twice, first with a stiff ink, and then with a thinner ink discharged from a composition roller. The second roll removed some of the previously laid ink from the highlights while intensifying the dark tones and improving contrast.
The collotype process was elaborated on in many different ways resulting in techniques such as albertype, artotype, autogravure, heliotype, lichtdruck, and photo-type. This process is prized for its fine detail, higher than that of lithography or gravure. It remains the most accurate reproductive printing method available today. The glass plate however was a major drawback for it is very fragile and usually yields 500 impressions, 2000 at the most. This severely limited its commercial use but it proved adequate for small press runs and was widely used for the production of postcards up until the 1960’s. In 1898 the production of collotypes was adapted to gelatin coated aluminum plates that could be used on rotary presses. This increased output and made it a relatively cheap and fast printing method for its day, though the process remained temperamental. There have been claims that this process was more popular in Europe because their general lower humidity produced superior printed results. Though most often used to create monochromatic postcards, it was adapted to color printing in 1876. The collotype process has been largely abandoned since the 1940’s due to competition from cheaper printing methods, and few examples can be found past the 1990’s.
Collotypie is the Dutch term for a collotype.
Colorants are the ingredients that impart color to another substance. Colorants can be either dyes or pigments.
A color filter is a transparent sheet of dyed glass, plastic, or gelatin used in photography to selectively absorb only certain colors of the visual spectrum while permitting other colors to pass through. For color separation, filters of the three additive primaries, red, green, blue, are used. A red filter is used to create a cyan negative, a green filter produces magenta, and a blue filter will produce yellow. They were first employed for use with panchromatic film so that a color image could be produced from three black & white negatives. They were later put to use in creating color separated printing plates from color photographs.
Colorgraph is a trade name used by the Adirondack Resorts Press for their tinted halftone postcards. They were printed with a black line block halftone key over solid tints of red, light red, yellow, and light blue.
Color Photo Engraving
A color photo engraving is a type of intaglio print on which simulated natural color can be created from black & white photographs. This process was made possible by Frederick Ives’ invention of panchromatic emulsions in 1881. The same subject was shot through three different color filters representing the additive primaries onto three different negatives. A halftone would then be created from each negative, (a de facto color separation) and retouched if necessary before being photographically transferred to a series of printing plates. Each plate was individually inked in a corresponding process color for printing. While this process produced the first natural color images it was a very complicated and expensive printing method that prevented it from doing well commercially.
A Colorpoeme is a trade name used by the Lumitone Press in the 1930’s for their illustrated postcard series depicting views of New York City by Pierre Trapier. Trapier was a well known artist at this time that created a large body of work depicting the great cities of the United States and Europe. Many of these pictures were reproduced in both postcard and print formats.
The process of dividing an image into individual color segments is called color separation. After separating colors each segment is then copied onto an individual printing plate that will be inked in different colors, and when printed in perfect registration a full colored image will be produced. The first color separations were based solely on personal interpretations of various color theories, and solely dependent on the retoucher’s skill to divide hues. After photography became available the same black & white image was often transferred to multiple substrates and the retoucher would then remove or add parts to correspond to a particular color but their placement continued being discretionary. The arrival of panchromatic emulsions allowed natural color to be simulated for the first time on a scientific basis even though they were created with black & white photographs shot through color filters. While attempts continued to be made to create natural looking images through a more limited pallet, success would be limited until the invention of Kodachrome transparency film in 1935. This color film would eventually simplify the use of filters, and separations were could now made according to subtractive color theory. Process cameras are able to create large halftone negatives for each needed color. An intermediate color separation would sometimes be made, and then retouched before creating the final halftone. Today optical scanners create color separations with the information registered digitally. Scanned color separations can be quickly manipulated and edited in an infinite number of ways using computer software.
Colourtone is a trade name for a type of tinted halftone postcard produced by Valentine’s during the 1930’s. Colourtones are often distinguished by wide Tartan patterned borders with symbolic elements added and metallic spot printing.
Commercialchrome is a trade name for a type of postcard that was printed through a four-color halftone lithographic process by the Curt Teich Company in the United States.
The Comstock Laws were passed on March 3rd, 1873 at the urging of Anthony Comstock’s New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and the Y.M.C.A., that prohibited the United States Postal Service to be used for the transmission of obscene materials. Obscene of course is a relative term and the law was used to seize and burn more than 120 tons of books from authors such as Honore de Balzac, Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O’ Neil, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, John Steinbeck, Leo Tolstoy, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. At least 18 million postcards were also destroyed and more than 3500 publishers prosecuted. When a play of George Bernard Shaw was banned from the mail, he coined the term Comstockery, to denote censorship based on prudery. This law was used extensively to ban all information regarding birth control until that section was repealed in 1936. The rest of the law remains on the books and is still in use.
A contact print is a photographic print made by exposing a photosensitive paper to negative film with both emulsions in direct contact to one another to avoid light scattering. No enlarger is needed as the negative rests directly against the paper under a sheet of glass to keep both flat and contact even. The detail in the resulting print is the same size as on the negative. In 1902 Kodak released Velox photo paper that was not only the same size as a postcard, but also the same size as the negative produced by their camera. These products made the production of real photo postcards relatively easy, and most early cards were created this way. To achieve a white tab or border on a contact printed photo, a mask need to be used that cropped part of the image. Contact printing is often used for exposures on photo papers that have poor light sensitivity and it is required by all papers that must be exposed to sunlight. Contact printing was also used in the creation of printing plates, only here the two surfaces were often sealed together in a vacuum frame and exposed to artificial ultra-violet light.
The contact halftone screen, invented in 1953 is used in direct contact with a photosensitized printing plate. It has made the creation of halftones much more simple than using a crossline screen because the exacting process of placing the correct distance between film and the image to be copied no longer needs to be carefully calculated. Contact screens have none of the usual opaque lines; these thin sheets of film are made up instead of small soft edged translucent dots whose density can be varied. This allows for a wider range of light modulation creating greater choices in producing tone. In general they pick up more detail and capture more subtle highlights and middle-tones than their crossline counterparts. Screens with grey dots are designed for creating color separations while magenta screens are used to create black & white halftone.
A continental card is one that is larger than standard postcard size generally measuring 4 by 6 inches (105 by 145 mm). At a 1914 meeting of the International Postal Congress in Stockholm it was decided that from the 1st of October 1925 postcards of this size could be mailed between Universal Postal Union members. Cards larger than the standard size accepted by the Union had been produced since the 19th century, but from this date onwards they would be officially sanctioned. Germany was the first country to enlarge their government issued postals to this size in 1926, and Adolf Ackerman was the first private publisher to produce postcards of this size in number. This decision did not initially go over well with other publishers and distributors who even organized boycotts of these larger cards. The reluctance of the Americans and British to accept the format used on the European continent may have led to them being called Continentals. Public demand for cards with more writing space would eventually cause other publishers to start producing cards in this format. Other countries such as Italy, Poland, and Switzerland adopted this size but most came out of Germany and the Soviet Union. Continentals were not popular in the United States until the 1970’s.
Continuous tone is a characteristic of value where any range of tones from black, through grays, to white have no discerning demarcations between each other. The term is usually used to denote the subtly blended tones produced by a printing process that does not employ halftone screens, which only produce optical tone.
A contract card is a postcard manufactured by written contract for a small publisher either through a jobber, a larger publisher, or directly with a printer. Most often Contract cards refer to a set of cards printed specifically for the promotion of a business such as a hotel or railroad, and for commercial photographers that have no means to create their own printed cards.
Copper Window Cards
When the windows of buildings depicted on view-cards are covered in copper or another reflective metals through bronzing, they are referred to as copper window cards. While this was supposedly meant to simulate light passing through them the effect was not at all realistic. The real appeal of these types of cards was in their novelty.
Copper plate refers to an intaglio method of printing text from a metal plate (usually copper) where the letters are engraved into it. Copperplate is largely used for items printed in very limited quantities such as invitations, or for special pages inserted into books where a more ornamental text style was needed that could not be set in type.
A copyright is the exclusive right granted to an individual or incorporated business by a government, to publish, reproduce, and distribute any literary or artistic work they create for a specified number of years. Copyrighted material may be legally used by others with permission of the copyright holder, through licensing, or by right of fair use. Because of the difficulty and cost in obtaining a copyright most early postcards were not copyrighted. The copyright notice found on many postcards usually does not belong to the publisher but to the photographer who supplied the initial photograph that the image was made from. This can often cause confusion for the notice can predate publication by many years. Laws governing copyright can be complicated as they were revised many times and vary country to country. Once a copyright expires it falls into the public domain for free use.
In the United States a correspondence card is a type of postcard that was privately printed prior to the effective date, July 1, 1898, of the Private Mailing Card Act of May 19, 1898. Writing could only be placed on the front, as the back was entirely reserved for the address and stamp, and it required two cents to mail. These cards did not carry anything more than simple illustrations as they were most often designed for correspondence and not as souvenirs. The term correspondence card was also used in other countries to make reference to their officially issued postals.
A coupon card is a postcard published by a newspaper that could only be acquired by redeeming coupons appearing in that same newspaper. Different sets of coupon cards were usually offered on a weekly basis. The exchange of coupons for postcards was a promotional gimmick primarily used in the years 1904 to 1910 to help sell more papers.
A court sized card refers to early privately printed postcards that began being manufactured in Great Britain in 1894. These cards were required by law to range between 2 1/4 by 3 1/4 inches and 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches in size, which was smaller than standard Government issued postal stationary. On November 1, 1899 this size requirement was repealed allowing all postcards to be made in the standard size.
A cover is a paper sheet that is meant to wrap mailed correspondence for protection and privacy. Eventually covers were manufactured in the form we now refer to as an envelope. They did not become common until regulations that required them to be counted toward postage, charged by the page were repealed. More often this term specifically refers to mailing envelopes that have a picture printed on them. Patriotic themes are the most common type of illustration to be found on them, which became highly popular during the American Civil War. Illustrated covers were sometimes purchased as a display of patriotism, or saved after use. Illustrated covers continue to be made and are now saved as collectables, often in conjunction with related postmarks such as first day issues.
Crayon gravure is not a printing technique but a style. It reproduces the texture of crayon, which in most cases is synonymous for pastel, printed through color photogravure. A very coarse grain is often employed when making the photomechanical transfer of the illustration onto a printing plate in order to enhance the illusion of a drawing on rough paper.
A crayon print is a matte surfaced black & white photograph that has been hand colored with a color crayon specifically manufactured for that purpose. There is little information on early crayons except they were most likely made from colored chalks. In the 1930’s Kodak introduced their own set of soluble crayons in a boxed kit.
The stress cracks that that fall short of complete fractures appearing in polymer glazes is known as crazing. Sometimes this term is more generically used to describe any type of cracking such as those found on postcards. Postcards are usually covered with a thin coat of varnish to prevent the ink from smudging as they are handled. Sometimes these varnishes or layers of gelatin were more thickly applied to ad sheen to the postcard image. In time these heavy overlays tend to yellow and become brittle. Since this glazed surface is hard and the paper of a card is flexible many small cracks may appear over a card’s entire surface.
The elimination of part of an image during a phase in its reproduction is known as cropping. Early photographs were all made with large format cameras as the poor light sensitivity of early photo papers required all photographs to be contact printed. When many of these large negatives were used to make a smaller postcard in later years, the image had to be cropped down as they were still typically contact printed. The composition on large negatives was often expansive enough to produce cards in either horizontal or vertical formats and sometimes both were used. When a card was reprinted the cropping often shifted creating a different if not wholly new composition. Even when postcard sized negatives were eventually manufactured they were still susceptible to cropping as masks were employed to create writing tabs within different sections of the card. Images were also purposely cropped in various ways so that a single negative could produce different looking cards, thus reducing cost.
A cross-over card is a type of postcard whose subject matter allows it to be categorized under a number of different genres. For instance a depiction of a sledding scene could possibly be filed under Children, Sleds, Winter, Winter Sports, or even possibly Artist Signed or real photo cards in addition to its geographic location.
Curteichcolor is a trade name used by the Curt Teich Company to designate their postcards printed as modern photochromes. Their identification numbers incorporated the letter K.
The term cut is short for a wood engraving.
Cutout Post Cards (Newspaper Cards)
Cutout post cards were a type of postcard published by newspapers and distributed in sheet form as free supplements to their papers. These cards needed to be cut apart for mailing, which often gave them irregular edges. They were printed on paper rather than heavier card stock, which led many of them to be saved more often than mailed. Cutouts were first issued in 1903 during the Hearst-Pulitzer newspaper wars to help increase circulation. Many other newspapers eventually copied the idea. These types of cards were rarely seen beyond 1907.
A cyanotype is a type of photographic print made in a blue monochrome. Sir John Hirchel invented the process in 1842, in order to make copies of his scientific notes. Cyanotype paper is made photosensitive by coating it with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. This solution soaks into the paper’s fibers rather than resting on its surface as most other emulsions. When exposed to light through contact printing with a negative, the iron compounds break down by oxidation. The exposure is then printed out, which causes a further reaction between the new iron salts and the potassium ferricyanide. Ferroprusate is formed in the areas that were exposed to light yielding a photographic image in a flat Prussian blue. Sometimes these colors can range from a blue-black to purple if variations in processing are made. Though they slowly fade in light, many homemade real photo postcards were made this way. They generally went out of fashion in the 1920’s. Variants such as kallitypes, palladium, and platinum prints utilize the same basic iron salt chemistry. Architectural blueprints are also made through this same process. Cyanotypes should not be confused with the blue toned bromide photo papers that became popular in Europe during the 1920’s.
Cyko paper is a blue light sensitive, silver chloride photo paper. introduced by the Columbia Photo Paper Company in 1887. While it seems to have been issued in a postcard format in 1904 their logo appears on private mailing cards that were only in use until 1901. In 1907 this firm became the Ansco Company and produced this paper until the company merged with Agfa Products of IG Farben in 1928. Cyko paper had poor light sensitivity and was used for contact printing.
A press that uses a hard metal cylinder to provide pressure to transfer an image from a printing plate onto a sheet of paper is known as a cylinder press. These presses came in many different manifestations of types and sizes to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. The most common model had a flat bed on top of which the printing substrate lay, which would move back and forth under the cylinder. Most of these presses were steam powered throughout the 19th century. They evolved into the rotary press where the plate migrated from the press bed and onto the cylinder itself.