Ever since souvenir picture postcards made their USA debut at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, postcards touting images of cities began sprouting up everywhere. Although several firms manufactured the popular big letter “Greetings from…” USA postcards, one company in particular really made the process their own - Teich Company (pronounced “Tike”).
Based in Chicago, America’s number one printing town, this family of printers created thousands of charming designs showcasing tourist attractions all over America, but hit the jackpot when they invented the processes to create the unique look their big letter designs are known for. Easily identified by their bold colors and bigger-than-life images, Teich’s patented methods of fabrication were so exact and involved (and kept secret by founder Curt Teich), it is almost impossible to perfectly recreate these sought-after collectors items, even with present-day technology.
No town was too small or obscure for Teich to manifest in postcard form; in 1933, Teich began producing their line of “Greetings from…” designs and by 1956 they made around 1,000 individual designs, paying homage to American cities in all 50 states (and to the states themselves).
After the company closed in 1978, their archives were donated to the Lake County Discovery Museum, in Illinois, which now runs a museum with them. The Curt Teich Postcard Archives contains over 350,000 postcards, and the collection is considered the biggest public postcard collection in the world.
BONUS: For all the photoshoppers out there, here are step-by-step instructions for making your very own big letter souvenir postcard! Enjoy!