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Valesque is the trade name for a type of postcard issued by Valentine’s during the 1950’s. These cards have a similar halftone pattern to that of Valentine’s Art Colour cards, but here the hues blend more easily to create better optical colors. This is an early form of process printing.

A variation in relation to a printed postcard is a general reference to those that look different from one another even though they are made from the same photograph or reproduce the same work of art. Almost all variations consist of unavoidable attributes, created when a postcard is reprinted. Most early color cards were based on black & white photographs, which means all color was added in by the discretion of a retoucher. When this work had to be performed again, rarely was any effort made to duplicate it with fidelity. Most skies on cards were also derived from the retoucherÕs hand by necessity. Between poor exposure latitude and the inability of most film to capture anything beyond blue light, the sky in most early photographs was washed out to white. Since there was nothing on the negative to refer to, clouds were drawn in differently each time the card was remade. Other factors that created variations were sometimes purposeful. An undivided back card with a front tab for writing a message might be reissued as a full frontal bleed when postal regulations introduced the divided back card. Cars and people were sometimes removed or altered to match current fashions. Images taken from large format negatives had to be cropped and when reprinted they were often cropped differently. The inability to photograph in low light caused publishers to rely on the same negative used to render midday scenes; only now they were printed in darker colors with a moon added in for effect. Sometimes variations were created when the same negative was taken to a different printer who used a different method of reproduction. Others printed variations to get more shelf life out of an image or in an attempt to disguise their use of stolen images protected by copyright laws.

(See the Guide to Variations in the Guide section if this site for more information on this subject.)

Varnishing is the practice of adding a thin protective coating of drying oils and resins to a dry printed surface in order to prevent the ink from smudging and contaminants from being absorbed into the paper. A varnished layer can also add a gloss that enhances appearance by darkening colors, or it can make a printed card appear as if it were a real photo. The use of inferior varnish has caused many old postcards to yellow over time. Other cards suffer from noticeable cracks in their surface because varnish was applied too thickly.

Velox Paper (Swift)
Velox is a trade name for a gelatin based silver chloride developed out photo paper claimed to be invented by Leo Baekeland of the Nepra Chemical Company of New York. It had baryta sizing whose smooth finish provided high sharpness and good tonal range. The paper originally was manufactured with a pink tint to simulate the familiar purple brown cast of albumen photos whose deficiencies it was meant to replace. While much faster than older papers, it still had the unusual quality of being able to be handled in low light. Eastman Kodak purchased the rights to this process in 1899, but they continued to purchase baryta paper from Germany until they built their own factory in 1906. Photo papers had traditionally been made on thin stock until Kodak introduced the heavier Velox in 1902 with a preprinted postcard back. This innovation marked the beginning of real photo postcard production. Its success drove other companies to produce similar papers such as Argo, Cyko, Kruxo, and more. Velox paper was manufactured until 1988.

Verlag & Druck
Verlag & Druck is German for published and printed. The term is sometimes found as a prefix to the name of a printing house on German made postcards. Verlag or Verlgbuchhandlung is sometimes used on German, Swiss, or Austrian cards as a prefix to indicate a publisher’s name.

Vice Card
A vice card is an informal reference to specific type of advertising card that offers sexual services either directly or discreetly. They made their first appearance in 1956 when prostitutes began placing them in London telephone booths once it became illegal for them to solicit business on the street. They have since evolved from unique hand drawn images to a more slick photo-based style. Similar cards followed in the United States and in Israel where they are usually handed out or scattered in the streets. They are often referred to as massage cards in the U.S. for the sexual services they promote are typically sold under the guise of massage therapy to avoid legal prosecution. They may also go by many different local names. None of these cards are produced to be posted.

Vidal Process
(see Photochromie)

A postcard that depicts any type of outdoor view is usually referred to as a view-card. These can range from images of specific buildings to broad landscapes; and their location can be labeled or unidentified. While many view-cards are artist drawn, art reproductions of landscapes are not typically put in this category. Interiors of specific places are also often characterized as view-cards, but they be placed in their own category.

Small engraved views, some with hand coloring, began to be sold under the common name of view cards in the mid-19th century. The image was often designed as a vignette to leave space for a written message. These are not considered early pioneer postcards for they were not produced to be mailed.

View Master
View Master is the trade name for a product line developed by the Sawyer Scenic Photo Company in 1938 that consisted of a disk containing seven transparent stereoviews that could be viewed either with the aid of an exclusive hand device or projector. The View Master line replaced their production of real photo postcards.

Vinegar Valentine
A vinegar valentine is an insulting greeting card often sent anonymously to someone who was disliked. They were first published by John McLaughin’s New York publishing house in 1858 as cheap paper cards that were given out by hand, and then later mailed as postcards, which lasted well into the 1940’s. Postmasters confiscated tens of thousands of these cards after deeming them unfit for the mail. While they can be classified as comic cards, they were probably closer in spirit to cyber bullying prevalent today.

Visiting Card
Visiting cards began to be produced in the latter 18th century as a means of offering introduction according to the etiquette of the day. These cards were not directly exchanged between the parties themselves, but past along by hand through their servants. They were highly decorative and often carried motifs related to the ownerÕs occupation. These would eventually find their way onto postcards in the form of vignettes. These cards were also often used to convey short messages that were written on their backs. By the beginning of the 19th century they were already growing less ornate until they came to resemble the modern engraved business card. The decorative tradition however held out in some places longer than others like New England where they were still commonly used into the 1870’s. While not a direct precursor to the postcard, there are familiar attributes.

Visual Spectrum
The visual spectrum is the spatial arrangement of components of radiant electromagnetic energy in the order of their wavelengths that appear to the eye as white light or colors when separated into its components. The visual spectrum does not represent absolute properties, it is relative as it is anatomically defined and varies between species.

V-Mail is short for Victory Mail, designed to save valuable cargo space on overseas shipments. It was introduced in Casablanca on June 15th, 1942 after the first American troops landed in North Africa during World War Two. Correspondence was written on special forms, microfilmed, and then reprinted at reduced size back in the United States. A 7-ounce roll of film could contain 1500 letters. When the service ended on the 1st of April, 1945, a total of 556,513,795 pieces of V-mail had been sent from the United States to military post offices, and over 510 million pieces had been received from military personnel abroad. Regular paper mail sent during the war years still outnumbered these totals. V-mail was modeled after a similar service in Britain known as Airgraph’s.

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