Today we’d like to present you a special kind of postcards… linen postcards! Have you ever heard of them, or received one?
By the name alone, one might imagine that linen postcards were made from… well… linen! However, while the surface pattern of the card resembled linen fabric, the cards were actually made from a very inexpensive paper stock with a high rag content and finished with a pattern that resembles the crosshatched surface of linen. The reverse side of these kinds of cards was smooth like other postcards.
Linen postcards were extremely popular from the early 1930’s to 1945, when they were ultimately replaced with photochrome postcards, boasting a glossy finish and realistic looking photos. Some manufacturers, mostly located in the south of the United States, still produced linen cards up until the 50’s and 60’s. During their heyday, the biggest publishing company of top-notch linen postcards was Teich. Founded in 1898, they didn’t receive any real recognition until they began to come out with imaginative scenes on their linen postcards. They were the ones responsible for the creation of the Large Letter postcards, remember?
It was owner Curt Teich who realized that by creating more of a surface area on the cards, you enabled the heatset inks to dry faster, allowing the dyes to remain stronger on the surface. This concept gave linen postcards their unique vivid color, which was a huge advance from the previously popular “white border” postcards that could only muster up a bland and blurry finish.
The subject matter of linens was extremely varied, ranging from town and scenic views, to interiors and comics. Roadside establishments such as diners, motels, bus and gas stations were also showcased, representing a significant era of American culture. Some companies also used these cards as a way to advertise their products. These cards alone document many important events in history, making them quite valuable as collectibles.
I must confess I quite like them because of their unusual texture! :) Have you ever received on of these? What do you think of them?