New Orleans House Project

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pieces of the Past: Real Photo Postcards with Sewing Machines

Postcards (sometimes called "penny postcards") became popular in the early years of the 20th century.  Changes in US postal regulations allowed anyone to print postcards that could be mailed using the US postal service.  In addition, postcards could literally be mailed for a penny - the price of a postcard stamp!

Real photo postcards (RPPC) were a popular format.  One could even purchase cameras designed specifically for creating real photo postcards.  One of the most popular RPPC cameras was made by Kodak, beginning in 1903.  Popular photo topics included community sights (City Hall, Main Street, etc.), prestigious homes and family vignettes.  Advertisers also used RPPC, but we'll save those cards for another post.

Two seamstresses at work.  The back of the postcard is divided - the US Postal Service allowed divided back postcards after 1907.   The area where the stamp would be placed on this card indicates it was indeed made with the Kodak RPPC camera.  The sewing machine in the photo is labeled Wheeler & Wilson (I had to get out my magnifying glass to check that out!).
An RPPC from Italy.  There are no clues to the age of this card other than the fashions; possibly 1930s or 1940s?  The sewing machine is a Singer, although it's difficult to determine which model.
The setting of this card reminds me of my great-grandmother's house.  The wall calendar is showing March 1914.  I'm not sure which model of sewing machine is being used; not a Singer!
A hand-tinted RPPC featuring the "Regimental Tailor".  The sewing machine is a Singer Model 31, an industrial machine.  I have sewn on one these - I do believe it could sew through anything!
There are no indications of the actual age of this card, but my guess is 1920s.  Printed in Paris.  The text reads Passe-Temps de Jeunne Filles - La Couture.  Creant tout ce qui touche a la coquetterie, Des juveniles coeurs la couture est cherie.  After consulting several sources, my best guess at translation:  "Hobbies of Young Girls - Couture.  Creating everything related to the vanity, The young hearts of fashion are sweet."  The sewing machine is probably German-made.  

I hope you've enjoyed another look into my sewing machine-related ephemera scrapbook - I still have lots more to share!

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