Thursday, September 29, 2011

Comical American Beauty Pinups

These postcards are from the "American Beauty Series" of 10 subjects made by Tichnor (note: some of the cards list Asheville Post Card Co. as the publisher, and some do not have any company name on the card). The ones featured here all have what I would call a come-hither look (an alluring or seductive look or glance, usually done by a woman). They are slightly risque, but basically good clean fun (especially the first one).

Apparently this type of card appealed to women as well as men, as indicated by the message on the first card. That card was sent from Tiger, Georgia in 1942.

Dear Kathy,
This is just for fun. "This," meaning the picture. I'm at my Grandma Wood's in Tiger, Ga. I'm having a good time.
See you soon,
Ruth Ann

The Sepia Saturday 94 image suggested so many topics that I had a hard time deciding what to use. I decided that one of the postcards I was considering was more appropriate for my Postcard Funnies blog. I called it Supporting a Woman and posted it there. It has two of the subjects popular on comic linen postcards: jackasses and fat people.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Watkins Products, Winona, Minnesota

This impressive building is the Watkins Administration Building which was built in 1912 in Winona, Minnesota. The Watkins Company was founded in 1868 by Joseph Ray Watkins in Plainview, Minnesota. Their original liniment was made from camphor (extracted from evergreen trees) and capsicum (from red peppers). The company moved to Winona in 1885, and is still in business selling a variety of natural products.

On the back of the above postcard is a printed message addressed to "Good People" from"The Watkins Man" And Fredrikson. It announced that he would be calling soon and asked them to have a nice order ready for him. It concluded that it was "a pleassure to furnish these wonderful goods" to his customers.

The postcard below shows the Watkins exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1964-1965. This exhibit was in the Minnesota Pavilion. The exterior of the Minnesota Pavilion is shown in the upper left corner of the card. This was an 80-foot high air-inflated dome made of two layers of plastic. It housed the state exhibit, industrial displays, and a restaurant. Lakes and a wildlife area were outside the main structure.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

South Africa Stamps & Namibia

The postcard of a desert ghost town at Kolmanskop diamond Mine in Namibia was sent to me by a South African Postcrosser. The photo is ©1998 by Gerald Hoberman. The postcard has two Republic of South Africa stamps from the 2000 Flowers, Fishes, and Butterflies definitive series. These stamps picture the Coral Rockcod and the Karoo Violet.

Namibia was formerly known as South-West Africa and was administered by South Africa for much of the twentieth century. It became independent in 1990.

Below are two stamps from the South Africa definitive series of 1954. These are from my old stamp collection. At that time South Africa was the Union of South Africa. It became the Republic of South Africa in 1961.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Twins Are Quite a Handful

This week's prompt for Sepia Saturday 93 is an old photo of a man sleeping in a chair. I decided to show the Happy Dreams of Long Ago postcard because it also shows a man sleeping in a chair. This man is apparently tired out by caring for his babies and is dreaming of his happy carefree courtship days.

At first I thought the man on the postcard was holding twins. However, on closer inspection, it appears that the baby on the left is older than the one on the right. Nevertheless, I decided to continue with the twins theme.

I am not a twin, but I have sisters who are twins. The next photo shows my mother with her twin babies. Originally this photo was Kodacolor, and I was included in the picture. (The original and some variations are shown below). On the back of the photo is a stamp that reads "This is a Kodacolor Print made by Eastman Kodak Company T. M. Regis, U. S. Pat. Off. Week of August 22, 1949."

The next photo shows my uncle (my mother's brother) with his twins. This was originally a black and white photo, labeled Mineral King and dated July 1959. It has the following description on the back: "These were their crawling suits for camping. We sewed sleeves and pants legs closed so they wouldn't get cut and let them crawl in campground."

My grandmother had twins too, but those died in the flu epidemic of 1918. My mother is between those twins in the picture below.

When I was young, I thought it would be nice to have twins. But if I did have twins, I probably would have discovered that "Twins Are Quite a Handful."

Below are some variations of the photo of my mother with my sisters and me.
  1. The original scan turned out much too yellow. The red lipstick was about the only real color left.
  2. The photo actually appeared more like this. I decreased the yellow and increased the magenta using "selective color" on the yellow.
  3. Picture number 1 was converted to grayscale mode.
  4. Picture number 3 was adjusted with levels and edited (mainly with the burn tool).
  5. Picture number 4 was cropped, converted to RGB color mode, and then given the default Photoshop sepia style.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Streamliner Crossing Mississippi River, Minneapolis

The train crossing the Mississippi River over the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota is the same train that I featured in my Sepia Saturday post a few days ago, the Chicago & North Western Railway "400" Streamliner. The Stone Arch Bridge is located just below historic St. Anthony Falls. The bridge in the background is the Third Avenue Bridge that I featured in an earlier Sepia Saturday post.

The Stone Arch Bridge is a former railroad bridge used by many railroads traveling to and from the nearby Great Northern Depot. The bridge was built in 1883 by railroad tycoon James J. Hill for his Great Northern Railway. The Stone Arch Bridge stopped being used by railroads in 1978. Since the early 1990s, it has been used for walking and biking.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dia de la Madre - Argentina

This is a maximum card with the "Dia de la Madre" (Mother's Day) stamp from Argentina that was issued on October 17, 1959. The card is the size of a standard size postcard, but it has a blank back and is rather thin cardstock. In Argentina, Mother's Day is the third Sunday in October.

There is part of a poem printed in Spanish on the card. The Google translation didn't make much sense to me, and I couldn't find a better translation. Following are translations of other words on the card.
Emision conmemorativa
commemorative Issues

Argentina- Franqueo

Dia de Emision
Day of Issue

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chicago & North Western Railway & The New "400" Streamliner

The prompt for Sepia Saturday 92 is a photo of the offices of the London & North Western Railway Company. The United Kingdom had the London & North Western Railway. The United States had the Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW). The above postcard shows the exhibit of the Chicago & North Western Railway at the San Francisco World's Fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939 and 1940. Below is the description of the back of the exposition postcard: Route of the "400", the [CNW] Streamliners and the Challengers.

The Chicago & North Western Railway, also known as the North Western, became one of the longest railroads in the United States as a result of mergers with other railroads. The North Western operated some long distance passenger trains in conjunction with Union Pacific and Southern Pacific, including the Overland Limited, City of Los Angeles, City of San Francisco, City of Denver, and the Challenger. The company was purchased by Union Pacific Railroad in 1995 and ceased to exist in 1996.

The North Western's most famous train was the "400" from Chicago to Minneapolis/St. Paul that was introduced in 1935. This train was named the "400" because it traveled the 400 miles (640 km) between the cities in 400 minutes. In 1939 the "400" was modernized with new diesel locomotives and streamlined cars. The first "400" was later renamed the "Twin Cities 400" and CNW labeled most of its other passenger trains with variations of the "400" name. CNW stopped running the Twin Cities 400 in 1963, and all CNW intercity passenger service ended with the formation of Amtrak in 1971.

The following postcards were published in 1939 and show the then new Chicago and North Western Line streamliner "400." The descriptions below the images are copied from the postcards.

Powerful Diesels provide a smooth flow of power and new type shock absorbers on the trucks of the new "400" Streamliners insure a smooth ride.

The most unusual car in America--a taproom at one end, lounge at the other and in between an attractive Lunch Counter serving moderately priced meals. Speedometer over the bar, Radio and deep-cushioned chairs and sofas in the lounge. Photo-mural decorations.

Comfort to the point of luxury! Latest type seats--with plenty of room between. Solex glareless glass, draftless air-conditioning, Stewardess Service, Smoking and Powder Rooms.

You will enjoy a "400" dinner in the delightful atmosphere of the richly appointed Dining Room on the new "400" Streamliner.

The Parlor Cars on the new "400" are equipped with special new type rubber cushioned seats adjustable to any position. Each car has Powder Room, Smoking Room, Drawing Room and Photo mural decorations.

Cozy lounging chairs, card tables, a magazine table with current periodicals, radio, bar, speedometer, are all features of the beautiful Observation Lounge Car on North Western's famous "400" Streamliner between Chicago and St. Paul - Minneapolis (via Milwaukee.)

The following video is an educational documentary by the Chicago & North Western published in 1948 to celebrate the railroad's 100th anniversary.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Minneapolis High Schools - 100 Years Ago

This circa 1911 postcard shows the five Minneapolis public high schools in existence at that time.

Central High School. Located at at 11th Street and 3rd Avenue South. Opened in 1877. Replaced with a new school at 4th Ave S. and 34th St. in 1913. New building closed in 1982.

South High School. Located at at Cedar Ave and E 24th. Opened in 1892. Building was significantly changed by 1916 with additions and replacements in several styles.

West High School. Located at Hennepin Ave and W 28th. Opened in 1909. Closed in 1982.

North High School. Located at 17th Ave, N. between Girard and Fremont Avenues. Opened in 1896. Additions added in 1908 and 1910. Reconstructed after a 1913 fire and replaced with a new school 1972-73.

East High School. Located on Central Ave. between University Ave. SE and 4th St. SE. Opened in 1866 as Winthrop. Closed in 1889. Reopened as East High in 1900. Closed in 1924.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pan American Games

This is a postcard picturing the 22-cent stamp commemorating the 10th Pan American Games that was issued on January 29, 1987. The games took place in August, 1987 at various sites in the state of Indiana, with most of the events being held in Indianapolis. Over 6,500 athletes and officials from 38 nations took part in the these games.

The first Pan American Games were in 1951. Athletes from Western Hemisphere nations participate in the games. The Pan American Games are held every four years in the summer, one year before the Summer Olympics. They were last held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2007. The 2011 Pan American Games will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico and nearby cities from October 14–30. Approximately 6,000 athletes from 42 nations are expected to participate in 36 sports. The 2015 games will be in Toronto, Canada.

I love the design of this Pan American Games stamp. It features a stylized representation of a sprinter composed of various geometric shapes. The runner's image is repeated in successively fainter shades from right to left. The style reminds me of Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, Futurism, and also anatomical drawings of the muscular system.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Railroad Observation Cars

The above postcard shows passengers standing on the observation car platform of an early twentieth century Burlington Limited train. The feature of this postcard that I find most interesting is the message written en route by a passenger referring to the observation platform:
8-5-08. - Got up at 5 A.M. and went out on this observation platform to see the sun rise. Have just passed through Lincoln, Neb. Am writing this on a rapidly moving train, hence the nervous hand writing. ("Believe me")
This postcard was postmarked in Holdrege, Nebraska. Holdrege still has the historic railroad station that was opened in 1910 by the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad. The Holdrege Station is one of the five Nebraska stations served by Amtrak.

On this and other older railroad observation cars, the rear end of the car had a canopied open porch-like area. There was usually a lounge inside the rear of the car where passengers could watch the track recede into the distance.

Later observation cars were usually enclosed and had a rounded rear end with viewing windows. Most observation cars were removed from service on American trains beginning in the 1950s in order to eliminate the need to "turn" the trains for service in the opposite direction. The next postcard shows a streamlined observation car on the Seaboard Railroad's Silver Meteor. This type of car was built in 1947 and was used by Seaboard even after other U.S. railroads had removed the observation cars as uneconomical.

The Burlington's Twin Zephyrs between Chicago and the Twin Cities (St. Paul-Minneapolis) were the first dome streamliner trains in 1947. The next postcard shows a Twin Zephyr with a round end dome parlor observation car.

The postcard below shows the Denver Zephyr between Chicago and Denver with a newer type of blunt end dome parlor observation lounge car. [note: I have seen a picture of the train and horseback riders in a book without the mountains, and the picture was said to have been photographed in Illinois!]

When passenger trains were still the main mode of intercity transportation in the United States, observation cars were often used by political candidates. The candidate would make a "whistle stop" tour stopping in various cities. At the stops, the candidate would appear on the platform of the observation car and give a speech. In more recent years, several U.S. presidents have used a privately-owned observation car built in 1930.

Barack Obama used a train with an observation car twice. The first time was during his campaign in April 2008. The second time was for his inaugural weekend trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. that traced the last part of Abraham Lincoln's inaugural journey to Washington.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fishy Stamps

First I have a 1985 postcard from Greenland showing a stamp that was issued that year. The words at the top of the postcard and the stamp Kalaallit Nunaat mean "Land of the Greenlanders." Reinhardtius hippoglossoides is the name of the fish that is pictured, also known as the Greenland halibut or Greenland turbot. This is a deepwater fish mainly found in water with temperatures from 1-4 °C.

Greenland is an island that is located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Physiographically it is a part of the continent of North America, but it is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark.

The back of the postcard has an address to write for further information about Greenland stamps. Now you can find information about Greenland stamps on the web at

I received an envelope in the mail this week with a colorful fish stamp, so I scanned that too. This is a 39-cent stamp that was issued in 2006. It shows the Longest Reef (off the Florida Keys) and is one of the forty stamps on a sheet "Wonders of America: Land of Superlatives." The superlatives include natural and man-made wonders that are the longest, tallest, largest, fastest, etc. in the United States .

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Friday, September 2, 2011

Union Pacific Railroad Postcards

Above is an oversize postcard describing some of the history of the Union Pacific Railroad (click the image to enlarge it to readable size). Below is a video slideshow I made with my Union Pacific Railroad postcards.

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