Tour the US with the Tichnor Brothers' full color postcards, ca. 1930-45
January 22, 2015 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Woooooow. These Oregon postcards are incredible. Great find, filthy light thief!
posted by mathowie at 2:43 PM on January 22, 2015

Great find!
posted by dougzilla at 2:50 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

We bought a few lots of old DC postcards on eBay when we were planning our wedding, not really knowing what we'd do with them (and not knowing about Tichnor Brothers at all). I ended up scanning several in to use for our invitations and we used blank postcards instead of a guestbook. It was awesome.

Great find!
posted by fedward at 2:53 PM on January 22, 2015

I had first seen some of these in a thrift/vintage shop, where I bought a handful. Then I saw some enlarged recently, which lead me back to thinking about them. Lo and behold, BPL has this amazing collection. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything else out about the Tichnor brothers or their process.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:06 PM on January 22, 2015

This is spectacular. Thanks for sharing!
posted by notyou at 3:13 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

It'd be cool to set up a photoframe or a tablet or something and have it just randomly serve images from that cache. How hard would that be?
posted by notyou at 3:20 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

One of my prized possessions is an original copy (i.e., not a reproduction) of a postcard featuring The World's Largest Cheese.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:23 PM on January 22, 2015

Good stuff. I follow someone on twitter who posts MI historic images (including postcards). I’ll have to ask if they’ve seen this collection.

Oh, the nostalgic feels for “Greetings From” postcards with the big curvy fonts.

(Tho I have a question about that Hotel Berkeley in the Detroit area. Street address doesn’t match current numbering in Detroit, and Wdwd. is M-1, not US 10.)
posted by NorthernLite at 3:24 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

So cool! I love these postcards, and have a bunch of California ones. I especially like ones like this one, where there are just enough things that are still there to be jarring.

Great find, thanks for posting it!
posted by mogget at 3:26 PM on January 22, 2015

> Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything else out about the Tichnor brothers or their process.

Hmm, Ticknor and Fields was a grand old Boston publishing firm, but the spelling's a little different. I wonder if there's a connection.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:42 PM on January 22, 2015

Holy crap! These are outstanding.

I love the "Greetings from..." cards, so '70s. The greetings from Wisconsin has been a favorite for years.
posted by Sphinx at 3:58 PM on January 22, 2015

Clicked on the link about an hour ago. Coming up for air and to say thank you for this. So much fun.
I've also found my way onto their collection of American Art Posters (1890-1920) which has lots of great graphic posters including a bunch of really great bicycle ads.

posted by sciencegeek at 4:49 PM on January 22, 2015

I love the "Greetings from..." cards, so '70s.

They're actually from the 1930s-40s. I'm not sure if the general style goes back to these cards, or if that was a design that (many) other companies also used.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:00 PM on January 22, 2015

published by the Boston firm Tichnor Brothers Inc.

This appears to be an oversimplification. For example, many (most?) of the Wisconsin postcards were published by the firm J. A. Fagan Publishing Co., Madison, Wis. Others have no publisher information.

I am by no means a collector or printer with the expertise to narrow down how these were made, but the technique is likely one covered in A Guide to Postcard Printing Techniques, which should be sufficient for most of us here. The essential elements here are probably a variant of lithography or photogravure, both of which predate modern half-tone (mid-20th-century) processes.

so '70s.

Here's the thing about that. As filthy light thief points out the original designs stem from graphics trends of the 1930s. But the photographic printing technique here looked very obsolete by say 1960 and was phased out, but that didn't affect the hand-drawn graphics like the "Welcome to State" postcards, so they held on longer. The renewed preference for hand-drawn display faces with the DIY graphic design trends of the 1960s and 1970s meshed fairly well with these relatively archaic designs.
posted by dhartung at 5:39 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Those kind of postcards are called "linens" by postcard collectors. They were made from the 30s to the 50s. I used to collect postcards and those were generally not sought after so you could buy stacks of them at postcard shows for cheap. Everything gets popular eventually so it looks like linens are having their day. I still have a bunch of them around somewhere.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:39 PM on January 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also the collection description says they are office proofs so they must have come from the Tichnor company files. You can see printers notes on some of them. This one for instance has "do not make" written on it. Tichnor may have printed them for other companies. I have some in my collection that are the same photo with the names of different publishers on them, or even descriptions/locations.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:47 PM on January 22, 2015

What an awesome collection! Postcards are a lost art form and becoming even rarer souvenirs!
posted by ianhorse at 6:54 PM on January 22, 2015

In reference to a recent post: Part of roller coaster, Geauga Lake Park, Geauga Lake, Ohio.

Now I want to drive around the country and photograph each location to compare how they looked then with how they look today.
posted by plastic_animals at 8:15 PM on January 22, 2015

A few years ago I scanned in some old family photo albums. In one of them was this set:
Souvenir Folder of Great Smoky Mountains postcards.

Those these appear to be (c) "Curt Teich & Co." they look a lot like the Tichnor ones.
posted by DigDoug at 7:34 AM on January 23, 2015

Tichnor, Teich, Ticknor ...? Has anyone else noticed the muted post horns on some of them?
posted by benito.strauss at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2015

Turns out the Curt Teich archive is also online, though its not as easy to browse, because it's on CONTENTdm. It's here, scroll down to "IDA Postcards Online."
posted by interplanetjanet at 9:26 AM on January 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

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