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 during the 19th century leaving decorated invitations to a witches’ Sabbath at the doors of friends and neighbors became a tradition. By the 1890’s handmade cards were being replaced by printed postcards, which became a common habit. Illustrators eventually became more creative with this genre, depicting Easter 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 in Sweden still dress up as witches on Easter Eve and often carry the type of old 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 along with the total number of pieces (individual number/ edition number). 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 end abruptly without the familiar tapering created by diamond shaped gravers.
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 first made of the wood block then the inside is coated with a very thin layer of lead. By placing the coated cast and a sheet of iron into separate electrolyte solutions containing iron, the iron particles will slowly deposit themselves onto the lead when an electric circuit us run between the two containers. This process continues until it forms a sturdy duplicate of the original image. This metal replica could be made strong yet thin enough to be stereotyped onto a rotary press when a large press run was need.
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. The colors we see are an interpretation of a very limited portion of this bandwidth.
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. 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. Without a line screen to create the usual square inkwells, there can be no worries about causing 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 out of 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 usually printed causing the final image to lack the tonal richness associated with the gravure process. (See Laser Gravure)
An electronic separation is a form of color separation made by electronically scanning an image. Color is detected by sensors, which is stored as digital information that can then be easily separated into individual colors by using computer software. The results can be used in a variety of ways depending on whether traditional printing plates need to be made.
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 scanning and receiving the same image to make multiple copies or prepare to start a new job.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. Two die forms were usually employed in embossing; a bas-relief die (male) which is placed on the press bed to push the design upwards, 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. Since it is 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. Printing always preceded embossing as a flat surface was needed for the proper transfer of ink from plate to paper, and the pressure from printing would most likely flatten any embossing. Paper can also be embossed for affect without the need for ink and registration. Embossing was used on novelty postcards and was also a common ingredient on illustrated greeting cards as well. While rare, there are some photo-based view-cards that were also embossed. When embossing created a very uneven surface that made it difficult to write on, another sheet of preprinted paper was sometimes glued to their backs. The eventual introduction of the French fold on greeting cards was another solution to this problem.
An emigrant agent is one who gives technical assistance to those wishing to immigrate to another country. These agents often worked for 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 propaganda tools in depicting places where there were good jobs for all. While these agents provided a necessary service, they also played an important role in fostering involuntary 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 all common emulsion bases. Gelatin emulsions are the base for nearly all traditional photomechanical reproduction processes.
An engraver is an artist or craftsman who has been specifically trained in the technique of metal or wood engraving. This term is often incorrectly applied to describe a person who works in any intaglio method. Many artists that supplied images for postcards have been called engravers when they are actually etchers. While many painters and illustrators also practiced etching, engraving is considered a highly skilled trade and few engravers ventured beyond this technique. Engravers provided the majority of 19th century illustrations, but most lost their jobs when photomechanical reproductive methods began to dominate the printing trades.
An engraving is a type of intaglio print made by incising a metal sheet with a specially designed burin. This tool cuts and pushes metal out of the substrate leaving behind smooth edged lines with usually at least one tapered end. The primary difficulty in working with a hard metal substrate has generally meant that engraved lines must be cut decisively and with care. These demands dictate a certain uniformity between the look of all engravings, which often has a stronger influence on the final product than anything the individual artist can imbue. While any metal can be engraved, copper was the substrate of choice because it is softer than most thus requiring less effort to incise. Since metals are made up of crystals, they can directionally align when being rolled into sheets. Another advantage to using copper is that it lacks this directional grain that can interfere with the cutting smooth curved lines. This process is sometimes referred to as line engraving. While a line can be made darker by widening it through a deeper cut, tone was usually created through crosshatching.
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, and to mark their events.
Etching is an intaglio printing process by which a sheet of metal is incised through chemical means. First the substrate (plate) is coated with an acid resistant varnish (ground) and once dry it can be drawn upon with a sharp metal scribe that does not disturb the metal underneath but only removes the resist from its surface. When the plate is placed into a bath of acid, the metal devolves where the resist was removed creating an incised line. The darkness of a line can be varied by controlling the time a plate spends in the acid; the longer the chemical reaction goes on the deeper the ink holding line. By sealing off some lines (stopping out) while continuing to bite others, further tonal variations can be made. The type of metal substrate and acid used can also have a noticeable affect. Lines drawn on copper bite downwards, but if drawn on a zinc plate the lines will also widen. Lines created through an acid bite have rough edges do to the uneven chemical reaction that takes place around torn edges of the ground. Though individual etched lines are not discernible without magnification from the smooth edged lines made through engraving, the overall effect is very different and apparent to the naked eye. Unlike engraving, etched lines have a natural ease about them that can more easily to express the individuality of the artist because they are initially drawn rather than cut.
The Ethernet is a local area network (LAN) protocol developed in 1976 that allows networking over cable systems by transmitting data at high speeds. The ephemeral Internet works over the physical Ethernet system.
An exaggeration cards is a type of humorous fantasy postcard where an element of the composition is enlarged in size beyond plausibility. They seem to play off of the unbridled boosterism so prevalent in American culture. The most common exaggerated objects were fruit and vegetables, but small animals, fish, and insects also appear on these cards. 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 exaggeration 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 it was more popular than their cheaper Monotone cards. Almost all cards in this series are printed in black & white, but there are some examples issued in blue and sepia monochrome as well as rare cards that were printed in color or 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 natural human tendency to be 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 the concept 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 licensed to be made and sold on location. These sets can range from only a few cards to beyond a hundred. Other publishers often printed unofficial exposition cards that were 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 publicizing them, especially since 1893.