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Telegram Post Card - Though somewhat official looking these were ordinary postcards sent through the mail. They came with a small selection of preprinted messages already on them. They were no doubt cheaper than picture cards and could be sent fore quick notes rather than collecting.
Telephone - While telephones existed in the same years as postcards were the most popular, it took many years for their use to become widespread. Many postcards were created utilizing telephones in their imagery. This was done to celebrate their novelty, poke fun at technology that still had kinks in it, or to advertise this product that would change your life. Ironically the ads for phones on cards sped up the demise of the postcard as a means of quick communication.
Telephone Wires - Early telephone wires could not carry the multiple number of individual messages that they do today. As phones grew popular wires were strung out in great number all over city streets and the poles that supported them required a number of cross bars. This visual blight was also dangerous as heavy snow could bring them down. Before they disappeared by being buried beneath city streets they were almost always retouched out of postcard images.
Theater - Postcards of the theater come in two basic types. There are cards that depict theaters buildings including their interiors, and the cards of the actors and actresses that performed in them. These cards do not pertain to movies but live entertainment such as plays, musicals, and vaudeville acts. While many of these cards remain highly desirable to collectors, many once famous theater personalities have faded into obscurity.
Tobacco - This subject is not often thought of a category in itself but it growing in popularity. Tobacco cards are usually classified under views depicting the crop fields or in drying sheds, or under advertising. There can be many permutations to this genre.
Toll Gates - Many of our Nation’s earliest roads were built as private enterprises. The builders of these turnpikes constructed toll houses that restricted access only to those that were willing to pay a set fee. Over time these turnpikes were either abandoned or absorbed into more modern roads but the occasional toll house remained often captured on postcards as historical curiosities. Sometimes cards were also made of surviving toll rate signs. As new turnpikes were built postcards were made of their new concrete tollgates as a symbol of modernity.
Tongue-twister - These poetic phrases that were specifically designed to be difficult to read outloud have been with us for quite some time. They are often comprised of a combination of alliteration and rhyme with two or three sequences of sounds followed by the same sequences of sounds but with some of the sounds rearranged. They have been used as cures for the hiccups and varius speech impediments but gennerally they are used just to have fun. Tongue-twisters tend to find there way onto postcards that are oriented toward children’s themes.
Toys - It has often been stated that children of past centuries were thought of as little adults and our modern concept of childhood is something new. While the rise of the middle class gave children leisure time as well, free from farm and industrial labor to engage in play, archeological evidence seems to show that parents of all eras provided their children with toys. Their depiction on postcards can give us insights into past times but we must also be careful as toys were widely employed as illustrative metaphor.
Trade Cards - Trade cards, predating most postcards, were used in the 1880’s throufg the 1890’s as give away advertising. They were usually printed in chromolithography on 3 by 5 inch cards of light weight stock, though many variations in size and sometimes technique can be found. They became very popular as collectables and were often placed in albums.
Trains - Images of trains were produced in fair numbers as this form of transportation was once far more widespread than it is today. Many view-cards have trains depicted within them but it is the close up views of train engines that generally fall into this genre. They were once considered one of the few subjects serious enough to be collected by men. Today it is the train depots that have surpassed them in popularity though combinations of the two are highly prized.
Trees - Postcards were made of many different trees distinguished by their age, size, or species. In the West trees were often presented as natural oddities such as in the many depictions of giant redwood forests. The eastern States tended to produced cards of individual trees that had historic or personal meaning to the communities they grew in.
Trolley - A century ago trolleys provided Americans with a public transportation network more expansive than exists today even with our larger population. They were not only used in inner cities but for travel between towns. By transferring from one line to another great distances could sometimes be covered. They were so common as not to be often singled out as subject matter, but found matter of factly in the view-cards of many cities and small villages. In the years following World War Two most trolley lines were purchased by a group of corporate conspiritors who dismantled and replaced them with bus lines from which they they stood to profit.
Tugboat - Tugboats are basically giant floating engines used to tow barges in coastal waters and maneuver large ocean going vessels within harbors. In New York City where there are no cross Hudson River railroad bridges, tugs have a long history of taking freight cars around the Citys waterways on large barges. These boats were not glamourous and usually appear on numerous postcards as only part of a scene as they are rarely given dominance as a subject on their own. Still the image of these small coal burning craft with their smoking stacks has entered the American psyche to the point where modern diesel tugboats that come in greater variety appear strange to us.
Tunnels - While there is nothing new about tunnels they began to be constructed with increasing frequency since the beginning of the 20th century to accommodate the enlarging transportation grid. Many postcards were created to show off these feats of engineering especially the type that were not frequently seen in earlier times. Theses were the mass transit tunnels for new electric subway lines that could now be places underground since they no longer gave off smoke, and tunnels for the many newly arrived automobiles that were just beginning to clog our roads.