Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Tall Tale Images from the Golden Age of Postcards
March 16, 2012 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Several factors came together to bring about a Golden Age of postcards (Google books), including the introduction of inexpensive cameras and film development from Eastman Kodak. From around 1906 to 1915, the publishing of printed postcards doubled every six months. Along with pictures of real people and places, tall tale postcards were also made in increasing quantities. William H. "Dad" Martin was the first to make and sell outlandish postcards (previously), making collages of real images and photographing the result, dodging and burning the new image to make the composite images blend into something vaguely believable. Alfred Stanley Johnson, Jr. followed Martin's success, but they weren't the only ones to make tall tale postcards.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here are more examples, including (hand) tinted images.

On the topic of photo manipulation, the Library of Congress has a couple pages on a collage depicting General Grant at City Point (Archive.org page view).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:32 PM on March 16, 2012


Thank god we've finally put a stop to Big Agriculture.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:38 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dear lord, geese that big would be terrifying. (last pic on the "Dad Martin" link.)
posted by Malor at 2:39 PM on March 16, 2012


Dear lord, geese that big would be terrifying. (last pic on the "Dad Martin" link.)
posted by Malor


At a sportsman's shop, they had a huge duck in the parking lot. It looked like a regular decoy, but about 10 feet long. Turns out it wasn't an advertising display, but was a delivery in transit. Apparently ducks flying way up in the atmosphere will look down on a giant decoy in a little lake, and fly down there to land.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:01 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some of those giant produce pictures look vaguely familiar. Also, needs more Jackalope.
posted by TedW at 4:19 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Malor: Dear lord, geese that big would be terrifying. (last pic on the "Dad Martin" link.)

If they're anything like the giant rabbits, you have nothing to fear.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:08 PM on March 16, 2012


Didn't you see "Night of the Lepus"?
posted by ShutterBun at 7:45 PM on March 16, 2012


Eastman and Henry A. Strong (a family friend and buggy-whip manufacturer) formed a partnership

Déjà vu all over again.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:12 PM on March 16, 2012


God I love this post!

Next, could you do a post on stereographs?
posted by LarryC at 12:30 AM on March 17, 2012


TedW beat me to it. For me, the iconic fake postcard is the Jackalope.
posted by Goofyy at 1:39 AM on March 17, 2012


These things fascinate me. As interesting as the cards themselves is the way that they were used.

With telephones in the home still uncommon and travel difficult -- not to mention slow -- the penny postcard was used for everything from the most mundane messages to birth announcements. Fast, cheap and readily available people used them the way we use email.

I've documented [self-link] a slew of these cards sent by members of my family between 1905 and 1918, sometimes sent literally around the corner.
posted by cedar at 7:33 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ooooh postcards! A long time collector here. So enjoyed your post. Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 7:40 PM on March 18, 2012


« Older RUIN:...  |  Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Br... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments