An Easter witch is a traditional character of Maudy Thursday in the Easter holy week as celebrated in Sweden. It was long believed that the power of witches was strong this time of year and it became tradition during the 19th century to leave decorated invitations to a witches’ Sabbath at the doors of friends and neighbors. By the 1890’s printed postcards had replaced the older handmade cards and they became very common. Illustrators became more creative with this genre as time went on depicting these witches in a variety of manner from old hags to pretty young girls to sexy women. Visiting homes for food and playing pranks were common activities for costumed revelers during Easter week. Children still dress up as witches on Easter Eve and often carry coffee pots as those depicted on cards.
An edition is the sum total number of printed copies of one work published at a single time. Individual pieces within limited editions are numbered. On French postcards the term Edition is used as a prefix to a name denoting the publisher.
Electric powered vibrating needles were designed to help speed up the difficult task of engraving on steel plates. These needles required far less skill to use than the traditional engraving burin and they made it easier to incise the hard steel substrate. While the clean wiping of the plates surface still gave them a similar appearance to that of a traditional steel engraving, the lines created with this tool tend to have a uniform depth with a very shaky uneven edge. Electrically engraved lines also lack the familiar tapering at their ends.
Electrography is a form of electroplating in which a wood engraving can be cast in metal for use in xylography. A paper or plaster cast is made of the wood block, which is then coated with a very thin layer of lead. By placing the coated cast into a solution containing iron, and creating an electric circuit between them, the iron molecules slowly deposit themselves onto the lead until it forms a sturdy duplicate of the original image. While wood blocks could only be used on flatbed presses since they could not be bent, this metal replica could be made strong yet thin enough to be stereotyped onto a rotary press.
The electromagnetic spectrum is the arrangement of all possible forms of electromagnetic radiation in the order of their wavelengths, ranging from gamma rays, to x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared, microwaves, and radio waves.
Electromechanical Engraving (EME)
While a method of transferring an image to a printing plate through electric impulses was invented in 1968, it was through the advent of digital technology that a truly new method of incising a rotary cylinder for gravure without the need for acid baths was developed. In electromechanical engraving the image to be printed is digitally scanned and the information transferred electronically to a mechanical diamond tipped stylus. This machine then methodically bores small holes into the metal cylinder simulating a halftone pattern. There is no line screen to create the usual square inkwells because it may cause interference patterns when overlapped with a digitized image. Small circular dots are made instead that differ more in width than in depth. This method leaves much more white space between individual markings, which in turn create more brilliant images when multiple color plates are printed together. The major drawback to this process is that the ink tends to wipe out of the wide shallow dots just like with a crevasse in traditional intaglio. As ink tends to cling to the edges of these pits only a series of O and C shape markings are printed causing the final image to lack the tonal richness associated with the gravure process. (See Laser Gravure)
An electronic separation is an electronically scanned image stored as digital information, which is then easily separated into individual colors by using computer software.
Electrostatic Printing (Electron Photography)
Chester Carlson invented the first photocopy machine in 1937 based on the photoelectric effect, just three years after the photomultiplier was invented. The photomultiplier (photoconductor) is a type of vacuum tube that is extremely sensitive to light and can convert this energy into electric charges. When placed inside a photocopier in the form of a drum roller coated with a photoconductive material such as selenium or silicon, it becomes a temporary printing substrate. To receive an image the drum is first positively charged with static electric from a high voltage corona wire. As a bright white light is reflected off the image being copied it is captured (scanned) onto the surface of this rotating drum where it discharges its static. The dark areas of the image that absorbed light are not reflect back so these areas of the drum retain their initial positive charge. When fine particles of pigment and resin (dry toner) are mechanically dusted across the drum they are only attracted to the remaining static electricity thus accurately duplicating the original image (white write). This dusty electrostatic image is then immediately transferred onto a sheet of paper at the bottom of the drum that has been charged with even higher static from a corona wire and the pigment is then bonded to its surface by running it between two heated Teflon coated rollers. The drum is then quickly recharged and its recovered surface can continue receiving the remainder of the image scan or prepare to start a new job.
Embossing is the process of pressing a molded die form into a flat sheet of paper to create a design in relief. After a sheet of paper is printed on, it is embossed by running it through two die forms; a bas-relief die (male) which is placed on the press bed, while the mold-like die (female) applies pressure to the paper from above. The female die is sometimes heated to help recast the paper around the male die. Because it was more difficult to align paper over an irregular die, pins were often used for precise registration but they left small holes behind in the image. Paper can be embossed for affect without the need for ink and registration. Embossing was also a common feature on novelty postcards and is most often found on greeting cards. Some cards were embossed into such a high decorative relief that they required no printing on them at all, though airbrush was often employed to color them. When the uneven surface of a high relief made them too difficult to write on, they were backed by another flat sheet. The introduction of the French fold on greeting cards also solved this problem.
An older method of embossing was done by running a finished lithographic print over an an uninked engraved litho-stone. The patterns cut into the stone were of low relief as there was a limited amount of pressure that could be applied from above on a lithography press. This technique was largely used to impart false brushstroke on chromolithographs.
A emigrant agent gives technical assistance to those wishing to immigrate to another country. They were often agents of steamship companies or large employers looking for cheap labor. They often preyed on the poor and illiterate in communities suffering from economic decline. Postcards, especially those of industrial scenes became one of their crucial tools in depicting a land where there were good jobs for all. While the services these agents provided were important to many they also played an important role in non voluntary emigration.
An emulsion is a combination of two immiscible liquids where the globules formed will intermix consistently. Emulsions are often made to create photosensitive coatings to be applied to film, paper, or printing plates. Albumen, collodion, and gelatin are common emulsion bases.
An engraver is an artist or craftsman who has been specifically trained in the technique of metal or wood engraving. This term is often used incorrectly to describe a person working in any intaglio method. Many artists that supplied images for postcards who have been called engravers are actually etchers.
An engraving is a type of intaglio print created by incising a sheet of metal with specially designed engraving burins. This tool pushes metal out from the plate leaving smooth edged lines with at least one tapered end. The process itself is also referred to as engraving or line engraving. A variation of this process is stipple engraving, where small holes are made by a different type of burin to create tone though an accumulating density of marks. Engraved plates are printed in a traditional intaglio manner, and tend to be very durable, suitable for large press runs. The process of engraving however is time consuming and is a highly skilled craft making it too expensive to use on postcards.
Esperanto is a flexible universal language developed by the Litvish Jew, Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof. The first Esperanto Grammar was published in 1887. Esperanto was intended to be a universal second language to support better understanding between nations. The first Esperanto World Congress was held in 1905 to help spread these goals. There are at least a million speakers today if not all fluently. A number of postcards were published in this language.
An etching is a type of intaglio print created by incising a sheet of metal through chemical means. The metal is first coated with an acid resist and once dry it can then be drawn upon with a metal scribe that does not disturb the metal but only removes the resist from its surface. When the plate is placed in a bath of acid, the metal devolves only where the resist was removed creating an incised surface. The lines that are formed have rough edges do to the chemical action of the acid. When washed clean the plate can be printed in a traditional intaglio manner. This entire process is also referred to as etching, as well as the specific activity of placing a plate in acid. Etchings are not as durable as engravings so they were rarely used for commercial work. A number of small European publishers used etchings to create hand printed postcards.
The Ethernet is a local area network (LAN) protocol developed in 1976 that allows networking over cable systems by transmitting data at high speeds.
An exaggeration cards is a type of humorous fantasy postcard where an element of the composition is enlarged in size beyond plausibility. The most common exaggerated objects were fruit and vegetables but small animals, fish, and insects appear on these cards as well. Most of these cards were produced in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada between 1905 and 1915 but they are not limited to this place and time. While some cards were printed the majority take the form of real photo postcards using photomontage, which played on the notion that photographs don’t lie. They were first known as freak cards and later tall tale cards.
Excelsior (Always Upward)
The term Excelsior was used as a trade name for type of collotype postcard distributed by the American News Company. It was promoted as the highest quality black & white card on the market, and most customers chose this type over their cheaper Monotone version. Almost all cards in this series are printed in black & white, but there are some examples issued in monochromes of blue and sepia as well as more rare cards that were both printed in color and hand colored.
Exotic is a label given to a place, people, culture, or thing in order to engage interest through emphasizing differences. Artistic and literary works have long used the exotic as marketing ploy. It plays the human tendency to have a natural curiosity about the unfamiliar against our desire to remain safe from the unknown. Common traits within humanity are overlooked to exaggerate the difference that will set the exotic apart and ultimately render it inferior to the observer no matter how appealing. While outwardly the exotic is usually presented in a positive light, danger lies just beneath its surface for added excitement. Unfortunately this type of depiction can also create a rational for the exploitation or destruction of that which is different from us, and it was widely employed to further imperialist aims. Many postcards were produced with exotic themes.
An exposition card is a type of postcard issued as a souvenir for expositions and fairs. While these cards could be mailed many were collected as mementoes. Most expositions had an official set of cards made depicting its attractions that were sold on location. These sets can range from only a few cards to beyond one hundred. Other publishers often printed unofficial exposition cards as well that sold out of nearby shops. It was very common since the mid 19th century to hold regional and international expositions in order to promote trade, and postcards played an important role in this especially since 1893.