Postcard Collecting Articles

• Postcard Collecting

• Postcard Types

• Postcard Terms

• Postcard Topics

• Grading & Pricing Postcards

• Articles

• Resources (Links)


Wooden Postcards: Part 1—Early Cards

My collection of wooden postcards started with a small accumulation of wooden postcards that I acquired for various reasons. Some were bought because they were part of topicals I was collecting. Others were bought as souvenirs. I didn't even know how many I had because they were filed under so many different categories. Then, a couple of years ago I found some that I thought were unusually interesting. I decided to look for more wooden cards just to see how many varieties I could find.

Wooden postcards tend to fall within three eras: early, vintage (1930s to 1950s), and modern. I will divide this article into three parts in order to keep the pages at a reasonable size. Although I have wooden postcards spanning about one hundred years, I actually have a couple large gaps in this age range. I have nothing between about 1908 and 1933 and nothing that is clearly from the period between the late 1950s and the late 1980s.

An orangewood Souvenir Mailing Card was copyrighted in 1903 by California Souvenir Co., Los Angeles, Cal. The one I have is blank on the reverse side and seems to be trimmed too close to the stampbox on the right. It was probably meant to have a picture printed on part of the reverse side. This card is very smooth and thin, and unlike most wooden postcards exhibits great detail in the printing.

Several different designs of wooden cards were issued for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair which was held in Forest Park. Most of these cards consisted mainly of puns on various words associated with wood. For example:

Exposition is more than oak-a, it is ash-tonishing, you cedar sights of your life…More fun than the beech. I wood spruce up and come. You walnut regret it. Butternut delay.

The Lewis and Clark Exposition of 1905 and the Jamestown Exposition of 1907 also had wooden souvenir postcards.

Below are two undivided back cards from 1905 and 1906 with a machine-made stamped and burned design similar to that found on leather cards. The auto card is manufactured by J.W.N. Co. The Easter card is very thin and lightweight and is described on the back as Huld's Burnt Wood Post Cards. Huld's also made some Burnt Wood Post Cards with views.

Japenese Wood Novelty Co. of Providence, R.I. made some wooden cards with cutouts intended for inserting a photo of the sender. This card is patented April 3, 1906. The wood is backed with gummed paper.

The hobby of woodburning or pyrography was very popular during the same years as the golden age of postcard collecting. I have some handcrafted burnt wood cards from 1907 and 1908. I am surprised that there are not more of these postcards available since many larger burnt wood items have survived from this period. The burnt wood postcards are similar in design to leather postcards, but the designs were hand burned by the postcard buyer. The wooden cards are also much scarcer than the leather cards.

Most of the burnt wood postcards were burned over printed designs. Some designs may have been copied or traced from patterns, though possibly the artist's design was reversed or altered by the manufacturer. The three cards below have backs and designs similar to some shown in a 1907 Flemish Art pyrography catalog. However, they are mirror images of the catalog designs and have differences in the details. Flemish Art was the largest and best-known pyrographic manufacturer.

The auto design is oriented in the same direction as the design in the catalog. A detail of the unburned postcard back is shown here.

The cat design on the wooden card below is the same as a design on a printed paper card. The wooden card has a postcard back design like one illustrated in a Thayer & Chandler catalog. Thayer & Chandler was another large supplier of pyrography products. Parts of the printed design are visible in the closeup detail shown to the left of the paper card.

A third more elaborate postcard back design is shown below. I don't know whether this was a printed or an original design.


Wooden Postcards: Part 2 >>



  ©2005 Brown Cat Design