Mental Floss

Wish you were here

By BY
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This charming story about the first postcards showed up on Blogspotting the other day:

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We thought we'd dig up some more postcard secrets from this aficionado's page:

  • Historically, there exists some debate about just who was first. Printed message cards did begin appearing in the early 1860s when John P. Charlton of Philadelphia initiated a patent which was subsequently picked up by a Mr Lipman. About the same time, a German, Heinrich von Stephen and an Austrian, Emmanuel Hermann, both hit upon the idea for a pre-printed correspondence card. The "Poor Man's Telegram" was born and literally thousands were printed and used almost immediately.
  • The illustrated souvenir card received its most significant boost in 1889, when Eiffel Tower cards were mailed in their thousands by awestruck visitors to the Paris Exposition that same year.
  • Disasters such as the Titanic and World Trade Centre induced minor postcard frenzies. Two days after September 11, you couldn't buy a WTC postcard anywhere.
  • The study of postcards is called Deltiology.

For more, check out this great gallery of old penny postcards from all 50 states.

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