New Orleans House Project

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trade Card Tuesday: Elna Grasshopper

Today I'm stepping away from Victorian trade cards to share something a little more modern.  Postcards became the successor to Victorian trade cards in the early years of the 20th century.  Postage regulations made it possible for this type of card to be mailed for only a penny.  Postcards carried all types of illustrations and messages - including advertising.

St. Anne postcards usually feature pictures of young women and sewing machines.  The images are more romantic than practical: yards of frilly fabric and flower bouquets are usually cluttering up the work area.  St. Anne is the patron saint of seamstresses, hence the association with sewing machines.

The card was printed in France, and illustrates a Swiss-made Tavaro sewing machine called the Elna, later known as the Elna #1 or the Elna Grasshopper.  The machines were introduced in 1940, which sounds like a good timeframe for the postcard.

Although not specifically advertising the Elna Grasshopper, its distinctive color and shape jump right out at you from this card.  No longer mentioning St. Anne, the card is still a romantic depiction of a seamstress.  Another French postcard.

The Elna #1 was another entrant in the portable, electric sewing machine arena.  The machine fit snugly in its own (green) carrying case, which folded flat to make a sewing surface (not pictured in the card).  The machine and case together weighed in at 14.5 pounds.

I can't help but giggle every time I see this card.  The pose with the bird reminds me of the song "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" from the Disney movie, Cinderella.  But I think the model has a smirk on her face as if her inner thoughts are far from Disney-esque!



  1. One of my husband's coworkers asked my husband if he wanted an old sewing machine for me, of course he said yes! It's an Elnita from the 50's, I can't find any info on it this particular model, but can't wait to try it out!

  2. I always love reading your card posts! I learned something new today - I had never heard that St. Anne was the patron saint of seamstresses.

  3. Maybe she has that look on her face because she 'did away' with the mice. I'd love to find a Elna grasshopper one day.

  4. I too love the bird one! It reminded me of Cinderella or Mary Poppins - so silly and wonderful.