Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cigarette Manufacturing

This postcard is from the R. J. Reynolds Plant (approximately 50+ years ago). One woman is operating a machine used in manufacturing cigarettes, while another women is giving a factory tour. The back of the postcard has the following description:
North Carolina is the nation's largest producer of cigarettes and the R. J. Reynolds Plant in Winston-Salem is the largest in the world. Visitors are always welcome for free guided tours. 
 Here is some more current information about R. J. Reynolds from Wikipedia:
The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR), based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and founded  by R. J. Reynolds in 1875, is the second-largest tobacco company in the U.S. (behind Altria Group). RJR is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. which in turn is 42% owned by British American Tobacco of the United Kingdom.

R. J. Reynolds brands include Camel, Kool, Winston, Salem, Doral, Eclipse,and Pall Mall.  Brands still manufactured but no longer receiving significant marketing support include Barclay, Belair, Capri, Carlton, GPC, Lucky Strike, Misty, Monarch, More, Now, Tareyton, Vantage, and Viceroy. The company also manufactures certain private-label brands. Five of the company's brands are among the top ten best selling cigarette brands in the United States, and it is estimated that one in three cigarettes sold in the country were manufactured by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 2010 R. J. Reynolds acquired the rights to the smokeless tobacco products Kodiak and Grizzly dip.
And here are some historical tidbits from the R.J. Reynolds website:
  • In 1913, Reynolds Tobacco introduced Camel cigarettes, containing a blend of several different types of tobacco – a blend that would come to be called “the American blend.” Camel became the first nationally popular cigarette in the United States.
  • Reynolds Tobacco established virtually every packaging standard in the U.S. cigarette industry. The 20-cigarette pack was introduced by Reynolds Tobacco in 1913, and in 1915 the company introduced the one-piece, 10-pack carton. In 1931, Reynolds Tobacco became the first company to package its cigarettes with a moisture-proof, sealed cellophane outerwrap to preserve freshness.
  • Reynolds Tobacco began diversifying into foods and other non-tobacco businesses in the 1960s.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Studio Portrait of Swedish Women by Louise Lefrén

size 4-1/4" X 6-1/2"

I don't collect photos (unless they are postcards), and I don't even have many old family photos. When I saw this week's Sepia Saturday prompt, I remembered that I have one old unidentified photo. I thought it was a photo of a family. However, it turned out to be a photo of five unidentified women by Swedish photographer Louise Lefrén.

These women don't have a very strong resemblance to each other, but it is possible that they are all members of the same family. Actually, I couldn't think of any other reason that these women would have gotten together for a studio portrait. At first I though the books might be a clue. However, books are very common studio props that usually don't seem to have any special significance. Since this photo ended up in the United States, I think it is possible that he group or family might have wanted a group portrait before one of their members emigrated.

Louise Lefrén is listed on an Alphabetical Record of  Swedish photographers ( (Google translation: Alphabetical district records. The dates in parentheses (1899, 1911) indicates that they are in Swedish Photographers List of anno 1899 respectively. 1911th)
Lefrén, Louise Storgatan 11. Etabl. 1880 (1899)
Storgatan 20, etabl. 1 juli 1880, inneh. Louise Lefrén, f. 29/8 1859 (1911)
The Storgatan (High or Main Street) 11 address appears on the back of my photo. The words below that (Plåten förvaras för efterbeställning) translate as "The plate is kept for after ordering."

There is a page of recognized photo portraits taken by Louise Lefrén here. Most of those photos are identified but not dated. A few that have the photographer's name and address embossed in a similar lettering style also have embossed dates 1901-1903. I didn't notice any mounts with white lettering printed on brown cardboard like my photo.

One of those photos is dated 1903 and is a portrait of three women with similar props.

I didn't have much luck identifying the fashions in my photo. They are not like the clothing in the 1902 (reproduction) edition of the Sears Catalog. They also don't appear as "fashionable" as the ones illustrated in fashion plates. I didn't see any clothing with the kind of ruffles that are on two of the women's dresses.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

USPS Chinese New Year 1992-2004 Stamps Issue

The designs in the USPS Chinese New Year 1992-2004 Stamps Issue are based on intricate paper-cut designs for the twelve animals associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. The first stamp  was a rooster stamp issued on December 30, 1992 for the 1993 Year of the Rooster. Twelve stamps were issued, one per year, with the appropriate first class postage denomination for the year of issue.  The second design was a dog for 1994 which is shown on the postcard above. The dog is  a Pekinese, the royal dog of China. The Chinese characters on the left translate as "Year of the Dog."

The postcard below shows the design for 2001, which was the Year of the Snake. Other years of the snake include 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989 and this year 2013. According to the description on the back of this postcard "Silence, great wisdom, and sympathy are hallmarks of the snake. People born in the Year of the Snake are romantically deep thinkers."

The stamp used on the postcard is from a souvenir sheet of 37-cent Lunar New Year stamps in twelve designs issued on January 6, 2005. The 2005 sheet was a double sided pane of 24. A similar souvenir sheet of 12 stamps was issued issued with the 39-cent denomination on January 29, 2006.

source: The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps

My postcards show the denominations of the original series of stamps. It is hard to find any information on the postcards issued by the United States Postal Service. I discovered that there is also a set/series of postcards all with the 37-cent denomination.

Here is a list of the stamps in the original series:
1993  29-cent Year of the Rooster
1994  29-cent Year of the Dog
1995  29-cent Year of the Boar
1996  32-cent Year of the Rat
1997  32-cent Year of the Ox
1998  32-cent Year of the Tiger
1999  33-cent Year of the Rabbit
2000  33-cent Year of the Dragon
2001  34-cent Year of the Snake
2002  34-cent Year of the Horse
2003  37-cent Year of the Ram
2004  37-cent Year of the Monkey

This is a post for Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Pipe Dreams

One of the themes suggested by this week's Sepia Saturday prompt is pipes. I don't have any photos of pipes. However, Valentine's Day is this week, and I do have some Valentine postcards with images of pipes. These postcards are by an unknown publisher/printer who also used this unusual color scheme for other holidays. These three postcards are all in a series with 5000 numbers (5010, 5011, and 5007).

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mystery Car & Driver

I don't know the who, what, or why of this photo. The man certainly doesn't look like he is dressed for driving an old open car, especially in winter with snow on the ground. His hands are blurry like they are moving and don't appear to have gloves.

What kind of car is it? Does the car belong to him, a friend, a photographer, or a garage? Could he have had this photo taken to send out at Christmas? Anyone care to speculate?

The only thing I know about this real photo postcard is that it probably was made circa 1908-1910. That is the dating given to this style of Kruxo back by Playle's Guide to dating real photo stamp boxes.

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