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See how Washington, DC and Smithsonian visitors have shared their trips with others by taking a historic look at the Smithsonian through the picture postcard. This provides a few general methods for determining a time period or date for postcards.
Jump to. The Collection is widely regarded as the largest public collection of postcards and related materials in the United States. When received at the Newberry Library it was estimated at 2.
American Art and C. Colortonepublished by Max Rigot Selling Company. Irving Park Rd. It is the least elitist form of artefact. Naturally, the postcard played a very different role in the public consciousness years ago. Quite the contrary. But the surprisingly complex process required to make a one-cent postcard—and the choreographed intent baked into every edit and emphasis therein—has really had a lasting cultural impact beyond anything the postcard manufacturer or its clients could have imagined.
And so, it is America curating itself, in a sense. Born in Greiz, Germany, inCurt grew up largely in the scenic medieval castle town of Lobenstein, where his family already had deep roots in the printing trade. Either way, the future Postcard King sailed to the States, possibly as a solo passenger, inand after knocking around some print shops in New York City, he eventually headed west and met up with his bro in Chicago. Wells Street.
In that version, Curt almost immediately recognized the oncoming phenomenon of the view postcard, and traveled across America by rail in to start documenting locations and collecting orders. In reality, of course, a great deal more scratching and clawing was required.
For one thing, the U. Postal Service was quite slow to recognize the viability and popular potential of picture postcards. The latter rule meant that any hand-written messages from the sender had to be jammed alongside the picture on the front of the card, leading to a lot of squinting by the recipient and some unintended smudging of scenic landscapes. Even photographs depicting obscure local sites in middle America usually were sent off across the Atlantic by U.
When Curt Teich and his fresh-off-the-boat younger brother Alfred officially incorporated their upstart postcard business inthey, too, were relying heavily on cards imported from back home, rather than wide-scale manufacturing at their own Chicago plant by then located at E. Lake Street. The next few years were pivotal, not just for the Dating curt teich postcards, but the industry as a whole.
As American postcard purchases started topping the one BILLION mark annually, it became clear that there was as much—if not more—interest in views of local sites and businesses as there was in more famous, faraway lands. So to have the coupling of the phenomenon of picture postcards happen at the very same time that America is changing and burgeoning at this rate was a very special alignment of the planets, if you will. As often happens in the first years of a new booming industry, the Dating curt teich postcards postcard marketplace looked like the Wild West for a time—ruled by Germany, but flooded with opportunist American publishers of every stripe.
Detroit, MIE. Kropp Co. Hammon Publishing Co. Childs Co. Inwhen Congress passed the new Payne-Aldrich tariff—imposing an import duty on all view cards coming in from Germany—the American printing houses all celebrated their good fortune. Only one, however, was truly in prime position to fill the production gap that the Germans were leaving behind.
This fact can be seen at a glance by any one who is familiar with the handsome post-cards which come from his establishment.
He knew that selling a one-cent product— simultaneously offered by hordes of competitors—would require superior quality and volume at a cost-effective rate. As such, several standard methods were employed by printers to reproduce semi-realistic looking photographic images for bulk postcard production, often with artistic retouching and colorization involved. His process starts with the treatment of the photographs, which are first retouched. All objectionable parts are removed, weak places strengthened, and the picture perfected for re-photographing.
Curt teich postcard archives collection
The picture is now perfectly even, Dating curt teich postcards the highlights, shadows and the perspective and detail which cannot be obtained any other way. Not only are the exact colors of the original in all their richness of tint and tone faithfully reproduced, but there is also assured the true perspective and depth of the picture. As an added wrinkle, Curt also devised a cost-saving hybrid method that was inspired by German trends, but still uniquely his own. It essentially involved combining traditional letterpress printing with a black halftone base and offset lithography, which could overprint four-color inks.
The artists traced the outlines of the colors on the plates, then deed the four separate color plates: yellow, red, blue, and pink.
The zinc plates were etched, inked and hand impressions pulled on china and Columbia transfer paper. Postcard des were assembled, 32 subjects to a sheet, halftones made from the black photographs and printed on cardboard in black ink on Miehle presses. Colored impressions were assembled, stuck up and pulled over on larger stones for color lithographing. A team of 10 print shop workers back in had grown to 80 byand bywhen the company purchased an expansive new headquarters at W.
Irving Park Road. Dating curt teich postcards of the employees making the move to the new building were fellow German immigrants and uniquely trained artists, specializing in photolithography, as well as drawing and retouching.
Perhaps the most important members of the Teich team, though—the ones out on the road—rarely set foot in the building. We manufacture more colored local view post cards than all others combined and guarantee prompt shipments.
Curt Teich was one of the exceptions; not only surviving, but thriving. We have divided the United States into six territories. In each territory we have stationed a representative, whose only duty is to help along the customer in every possible way to secure good photographs, weeding out any bad subjects from poor photographs, and keeping the stock in a healthy condition.
We employ the best artists and mechanics and have arrangements with the best photographers all over the country to supply us with the best photographs which can be made. It has taken us many years and an outlay of a great deal of money and energy to build up our organization, but our efforts have been fully repaid by the enormous volume of business we receive both for new and reprint work. Woolworth, where racks of local interest cards were routinely picked over and restocked. Teich Dating curt teich postcards this development early on, and became an exclusive supplier to Woolworth and other similar retailers.
We created a statistical department, which keeps track of every subject ever made up. By this system we can tell very quickly when sales are increasing or decreasing in any specified territory. In a of smaller cities the comment is made that every possible view has already been photographed and made up into postcards, and that there is nothing left to be made up. This is a wrong idea.
Curt teich & co., est.
Every subject can be improved and made a good seller again by taking the photograph from a different angle and working Dating curt teich postcards over into a night scene or a border card. The goods must show enough originality to create the greatest demand for view postcards by the public. No town was too small for a Teich sales agent to pay it a visit, and no visit was ever fruitless enough not to warrant a return. Beyond Dating curt teich postcards regularly with the photographers in said region, there would be regular glad-handing with local business and restaurant owners, town councils, club members, etc.
So the un-specialness of picture postcards in these early decades is what makes them so special in my mind. With optimism returning after the war, Curt commissioned yet another one of his brothers, the architect Frederick Teich, to de a major five-story expansion to the factory on Irving Park Road, which was completed in In truth, the building was more of a shared facility in its early years, as Teich rented out sections of the plant to other businesses like the Midland Playing Card Co.
According to the National Register of Historic Places, however, Teich eventually needed all the space for itself during its heyday when 1, or more workers were in its employ, making a million postcards per dayand they utilized the buildings as such:. Teich simply redeemed all the stock from his striking employees and used the money to help pay off his brother for the factory addition.
Curt teich co. / curteich-chicago / c. t. american art / c. t. art-colortone
He also organized a private vocational school to train new presumably obedient lithograph artists, consistently refilling the ranks as other more experienced workers left for more lucrative gigs elsewhere. By the s, however, many of these Dating curt teich postcards trained artists became suddenly expendable—not by the economic crisis of the Depression, but by another leap forward in postcard printing techniques.
The couple had five children Curt Jr. There was also a well timed new advance in processes called the C. An embossed texture enabled those inks to dry quickly, leaving greater brilliancy on the paper and allowing the company to use faster offset presses. The C. Our museum collection highlights a selection of these cards, which are about evenly split between the established C. American Art style and the new C. It was a far cry from the 10 or so cards sold at the Columbian Exposition. Teich produced these in a partnership with the Max Rigot Selling Co.
For those who did find employment in the Teich factory itself, it was a unique experience, and often a rewarding one, as a former teenage employee named Bob Popelka recalled years later in a letter to the Tribune in It was either that or spend the rest of my Dating curt teich postcards making nickel hamburgers on the night shift at White Tower.