Penny Postcards

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Prior to 1898, only the U. S. Post Office could manufacture post cards. These were generic post cards, blank on one side where the sender could write a message and printed postage on the other side with space for a mailing address.

Private Mailing Cards (1898 - 1901)

In 1898, Congress authorized the use of cards manufactured by others. These cards could not be called "postcards", as this term was restricted to cards printed by the Post Office. They were often called "Private Mailing Cards" or "Private Cards". One side was reserved for the address; the other side could contain any printed or written matter. Notice that on this one the picture was small and the sender wrote his message in the white space.

Undivided Back (1901 - 1907)

In 1901 the manufacturers of private mailing cards were allowed to use the term "PostCard". Many manufacturers tried to leave some white space so the sender could add a written message. Often the sender would write across the picture.

Divided Back (1907 - 1915)

In 1907, Congress allowed the back to be divided so that the sender could write a message on the left side of the back and the address to whom the post card was to be sent on the right side. At first, the message area was much smaller than the address area, but eventually the two areas became the same size. Most of these cards were printed in Germany. When World War I broke out, this industry suffered greatly and many of the printing plants were never re-built after the war.

White Border (1915 - 1930)

U. S. Publishers tried to fill the void in the post card market. To save on the amount of ink per postcard, publishers left a white border around the edge.

Linen (1930 - 1945)

These colorful postcards were mass produced on a fiber board that had a linen-y texture.

Chrome (1939 - Present)

These cards look like a color photograph.

Real Photo Postcards (1900 - Present)

These cards are real, black and white photos. On the back, the publisher put the photo process in the stamp box: Kodak, AZO, EKC, KRUXO, VELOX

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