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A general overview of the types of Post Card

Glen Echo Amusement Park operated for 70 years from 1899 to 1969. During that period there were many postcards sold showing rides and features of the park. Here is a list of the various types of postcards made during that time period. Many of these types were used to make Glen Echo postcards.

  • Private Mailing Card Era, 1898-1901
    Starting in 1898, American publishers were allowed to print and sell cards bearing the inscription, "Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress on May 19, 1898". These private mailing cards were to be posted with one cent stamps (the same rate a government postals). Writing was reserved for the front (picture side) of the cards only. The majority of view cards produced duirng this period and up to 1930 were lithographed. One interesting characteristic of lithographed cards is that they tend to produce moiré patterns when scanned. Several of the cards shown here exhibit moiré patterns.

  • Undivided Back Era, 1901-1907
    In 1901, the U.S. Government granted the use of the words "Post Card" to be printed on the undivided back of privately printed cards and allowed publishers to drop the authorization inscription previously required. As in earlier eras, writing was still limited to the front. However, during this time, other countries began to permit the use of a divided back. This enabled the front to be used exclusively for the design, while the back was divided so that the left side was for writing messages and the right side for the address.

  • Divided Back Era, 1907-1915
    Previous to and during this period, a majority of U.S. postcards were printed in Europe, especially in Germany whose printing methods were regarded as the best in the world. However the trying years of this period, the rising import tariffs and the threats of war, caused a swift decline in the cards imported.

  • Early Modern Era (White Border), 1916-1930
    During this period, American technology advanced allowing us to produce quality cards, although we often produced inferior ones in order to compete in the saturated market place. Public appeal changed and greeting card publication declined. However the view card market remained strong. The cards of this era were usually printed with white borders around the picture, thus the term "White Border Cards".

  • Linen Card Era, 1930-1945
    Changing technology now enabled publishers to print cards on a linen type paper stock with very bright and vivid colors. View and comic cards were the most often published. Sets and series were few and far between and the greeting card was almost exclusively replaced with the new French-fold cards.

  • Photochrome Era, 1939-present
    Photochromes are commonly called "Chromes", are still the most popular cards today. Since the earlier days of fine printing craftsmanship, these are the best reproductions to come along in years. Collectors are expressing interest in these cards. Also despite the increase in postal rates for postcards from one cent to the current twenty-three cents, postcard popularity continues to rise.

  • Special Type Cards
    There are several "special" types of postcards including Silk, Wooden, Leather, Fold-Up, Fan-Fold, and Hold-to-Light are among them. The silk, wooden, and leather cards are just what they sound like, postcards printed on media other than paper. Fold-Up cards are simple folded paper cards. Fan-Fold cards open to multiple pages and were often sold in a printer envelope. The hold-to-light cards are printed on laminated translucent paper on both sides of an opaque core. By printing on the inside of one of the outer papers an image can be created that can only be seen when the card is illuminated from behind and the hidden image shows through the translucent paper.

  • Real Photograph Cards, primarily 1898-1915
    Cards were usually printed on a printing press. Real Photo cards were made in a darkroom using photographic paper with postcard printing on the address side. The easiest way to identify these cards is with a strong magnifying glass or a microscope. Printed postcards use a process that uses small dots of ink to produce an image; these dots can be seen under magnification. "Real Photograph" cards have a continuous image and do not show these dots.

At this time I have not seen Private Mailing, Silk, Wooden, Leather, Fan-Fold, or Hold-to-Light cards from Glen Echo, though I would not be surprised to find out that any or all of them exist.

The postcards included in this group include cards owned by several collectors. The images are relatively low resolution. If you have a card not included in this group please contact me and lets talk. I can provide hi-resolution scans of most of the cards shown in exchange for hi-resolution scans of cards not already in the group. Even if you are not interested in the scans, please help me complete this page with a complete inventory of published cards for Glen Echo Park.

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