Friday, March 14, 2014

Dramatic black-and-white postcards of two German castles

I love these two images...

Lichtenstein Castle

Location: On a cliff near Honau on the Swabian Alps, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
When built: This is the third castle at this location, and it was constructed between 1840 and 1842. The original castle was built circa 1200.
Fun fact: The 1826 historical novel Lichtenstein, by Wilhelm Hauff, inspired Duke Wilhelm of Urach to rebuild the castle, beginning in 1840.
More information: (official English-language website)

Sigmaringen Castle

Location: On the southern edge of the Swabian Alps, a plateau region in southern Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
When built: The first castle was built in the early 11th century. After much wear and tear and rebuilding over the centuries, it was fully rebuilt after a fire in 1893. Only the towers of the earlier medieval fortress remain.
"Fun" fact: One of the castle's buildings, the Galeriebau, houses a collection of medieval torture instruments.
More information: See the castle's detailed Wikipedia page.

Other posts featuring castles

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Unfortunate apparel of 1980:
The official Star Trek duty jacket

Oh my. This hilarious advertisement appears on the back cover of the March 1980 issue of the short-lived sci-fi magazine Future Life.

The official Star Trek duty jacket and T-shirt featured in this ad were truly "space-age" because they had ... embedded LED lights!


"AND ... fantastic in dark movie theaters or standing in line. Anywhere — everyone will stop and gasp when they see your amazing, magical light display. Requires no effort on your part; your hands are totally free at all times."1

If you had one of these jackets and you wore it to the disco, PLEASE contact me immediately. I need to hear your story.

Here is the full description of the jacket:
"The official STAR TREK — The Motion Picture Deluxe LED Duty Jacket ($95 plus postage & packing).2 An amazing space-age design using metallic, silver-fleck polyurethane as the reflective outer shell and soft, luxurious 100% nylon lining in matching silver.
The official STAR TREK United Federation emblem patch adorns the breast of the jacket; the right sleeve is embroidered with a sharp-looking rank band (from the new movie); and the back is printed with the new STAR TREK logo and the U.S.S. Enterprise. A dazzling array of tiny LEDS (light emitting diodes) are secretly built into the Enterprise, and at your command they can be made to flash and sparkle. This stunning, practical windbreaker is a real conversation starter — no one can fail to be amazed and impressed with it. Shoulders are stylishly padded; waist and sleeves are elastic for a snug, windproof fit. The black nylon piping and heavy-duty zipper add the perfect accents to this shimmering silver jacket."3

The other products available were:
  • The official STAR TREK — The Motion Picture Standard Duty Jacket, which cost $40 and was for "those who prefer a less costly item." It had no LED system or metallic flecks. It was basically an ensign-level jacket.
  • The official STAR TREK — The Motion Picture LED pullover shirt for $35. (This is the item pictured in the center of the advertisement.) "Secretly mounted across the full width of the saucer portion is a system of LED's which you can turn on and command to flash with dazzling ruby red flints that shine like stars."

Perhaps Star Trek: The Motion Picture is to blame for this jacket. It was a rather dull and cheesy affair, and maybe this piece of clothing reflects (no pun intended) that uninspiring film.

I wonder if they came out with Star Trek-themed clothing for 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Some threads inspired by Khan Noonien Singh and his gang of super-humans would have fit in perfectly in the Flashdance era.

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Beam over to these other Star Trek-related Papergreat posts:

1. I hope Earth wasn't being silently judged by aliens when this jacket was unleashed upon the world.
2. The $95 cost in 1980 would be the equivalent of about $260 today. I don't know what the cost will be around 2266, when Kirk takes the Enterprise out on its five-year mission. And I probably won't still be blogging then.
3. "IMPORTANT: 9V battery required for each LED jacket or pullover; not included with clothing."

Mystery photo: Old man and his wooden cane

This sepia-toned old photograph is mounted on a piece of black cardboard and, alas, there is no identifying information to be found on the front or back.

The photograph itself is about 3½ inches by 4½ inches. It shows a very old gentleman sitting in a wooden chair in the middle of a yard. He's holding onto a nice wooden cane.

I'll admit I'm curious about the white thing around his neck. Is it an upturned shirt collar? It's not a low beard, is it?

Anyway, unless somebody recognizes this man as a long-lost relative, I fear this will remain another mystery photo for the ages.

Here are a couple of magnified portions of the photograph.

And here, because I think it brings out some interesting detail, is a portion of the photograph with the "solarize" effect turned on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dust jacket: 1910's "The Motor Girls on a Tour"

Here's a quick post for posterity.1 It's a crumbling dust jacket for 1910's The Motor Girls on a Tour, which was issued by The Goldsmith Publishing Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The listed author is Margaret Penrose, but that was a Stratemeyer Syndicate pseudonym.

The front flap of the dust jacket describes the book and Motor Girls series as follows:
"The adventures of Cora Kimball and her friends are many and varied. They go on auto tours, spend vacations by the seashore and even take a yachting trip to the West Indies.

"While their adventures are exciting enough for the veriest tomboy, the distinctive feminine appeal is not lacking.

"Cora and her friends are, in the final analysis, just wholesome, everyday girls. In spite of their unusual adventures their daily lives are filled with the sort of activity that every girl knows and enjoys.

"They design clothes, they shop for the newest in hats and they give marvelously clever parties.

"What girl doesn't enjoy these things? What girl doesn't enjoy reading about them?"

Clearly, the publishers were trying to have their cake and eat it too, with this series.2 It was exciting enough for tomboys (and perhaps even young male readers), but it was also non-threatening and dainty, with nothing that would upset a perfectly matched hat and motoring scarf. So, even if there were some tiny steps toward women's liberation with these books, nobody wanted to be too overt about it. After all, shopping and party-planning still came first.

There were 10 books in the Motor Girls series from 1910 through 1917. The main titles were always bland. Along the lines of "The Motor Girls on/at [generic place name]." The alternate titles were a bit more interesting, but hardly hinted at true danger or thrilling adventure. Secondary titles included:

  • A Mystery of the Road
  • Keeping a Strange Promise
  • The Hermit of Fern Island
  • The Secret of the Red Oar
  • The Gypsy Girl's Secret

Keeping a Strange Promise was the alternate title of The Motor Girls on a Tour and, according to this webpage documenting the whole series, the book opens with an exciting incident in which the Motor Girls ... drive their car over a hamper.

If you want to see another cover featuring the Motor Girls gang, check out this August 2012 post.

1. Well, it was going to be a quick post. Then some tangents happened.
2. "You can't have your cake and eat it" is one of the strangest entries I've ever come across on Wikipedia. It touches on opportunity cost, forensic linguistics, the Unabomber, Latin didactic poetry, goats, cabbage and donkeys. My favorite part of the entry is a list of idioms similar to "you can't have your cake and eat it too" in other languages. A few examples:
  • Czech: Aby se vlk nažral a koza zůstala celá – The wolf is full and the goat stayed whole.
  • Danish: Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden – You cannot both blow and have flour in your mouth.
  • Switzerland: Du chasch nit dr Füfer und s Weggli ha – you can't have the five cent coin and a Swiss bread roll.
  • Hungarian: Egy fenékkel nem lehet két lovat megülni – It is impossible to ride two horses with one butt.
  • Romanian: Nu poți împăca și capra și varza – You can't reconcile the goat and the cabbage.
  • Tamil: மீசைக்கும் ஆசை கூழுக்கும் ஆசை – desire to have both the moustache and to drink the porridge.

Book cover: "Tales Told in Holland"

On the heels of Andersen's Fairy Tales, here's another cover of a fairy-tale book from my shelf.

  • Title: Tales Told in Holland
  • Edited by: Olive Beaupré Miller
  • Illustrators: Maud & Miska Petersham
  • Publisher: The Book House for Children, Chicago and Toronto
  • Year: 1926
  • Notes: Editor Olive Beaupré Miller (1883-1968) was the founder of The Book House for Children. According to Wikipedia, the publishing company was "remarkable for its large female staff when most women did not work outside the home." ... This stars of this book, though, are illustrators Maud & Miska Petersham (who were discussed in this December 2013 post concerning Albanian Wonder Tales.) The cover, endpapers, and illustrations in Tales Told in Holland are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I especially like the cartoon map of Holland at the back of the book. ... This book was part of a three-volume series titled "My Travelship." The other volumes were Little Pictures of Japan and Nursery Friends From France. ... The book includes more than 40 tales, including "Abel Stok's Difficult Task," "The Basilisk of Utrecht," "Klumperty and His Wife," and "The Mermaid of Edam." ... Used copies of this 88-year-old book are quite cheap on Amazon at this moment — some are under $4.00, though you should read the descriptions very carefully — and it's truly worth owning just for the illustrations. If you can find a nice, inexpensive copy, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Dude's QSL card and some groovy 1970s swap-club stamps

This QSL card for "The Dude" is from the disco- and 'fro-soaked 1970s. The Dude in question was not Jeff Bridges, but George Chatterton, a ham-radio enthusiast from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

While the front of the card has a nice Starsky and Hutch vibe going, it's the back of this card, which is dated March 11, 1978, that piqued my interest.

Featured are the stamps of four QSL swap clubs and something called Space Patrol. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

Idaho Potato Patch QSL Swap Club
The internet has nothing on this group, so clearly I am doing a great service to history by being a provider of this illustration, for posterity.

Snowy Owls QSL Swap Club of Saskatchewan
The Snowy Owls are also mentioned on this Iron Man-themed QSL card that is posted on Tumblr.

Canadian Goose QSL Swap Club of Winnipeg
Coincidentally, this club is also connected to the aforementioned Iron Man card. I also found a small news item concerning the Canadian Goose QSL Swap Club in the July 12, 1977, issue of the Manitoba Free Press.1

Hillbilly QSL Club, Ripley, West Virginia
According to the Postcard Department of, the president of this QSL club at one point was a man named John Rice. Note that the radio operator in the stamp is barefoot and has a suspicious-looking jug behind him. Ripley is a small city in western West Virginia and, in 1897, was the site of the state's last public hanging.

Space Patrol
I'm not sure if "Space Patrol" was a swap club, or what. One nitpick: If the aliens are underneath a transparent dome in their spaceship, how can their antennae be sticking out like that? That is the kind of question we ask here on Papergreat in the quest for important knowledge.

1. The news item, in its entirety, states:
"CANADIAN GOOSE Q.S.L. SWAP Club of Wpg, Incorporated, would like to announce the winners of a raffle draw in St. Vital Park on July 10, 1977: 1st prize, Midland 13-976 23 ch. S.S.B. C.B. radio - Mr. Herb Semler, Box 173, Moosehorn, Man. 2nd prize - Astatic D104 microphone - Mr. G. Lee, 488 Ferry Rd., Wpg. 3rd - Specialists M-400 Starduster Antenna - Rudy Wiebe, 723 Boyd Ave., Wpg. 4th prize - T-shirt, T.F. Matheson, 87 Morningside Dr., Wpg. 5th prize - T-shirt, H. Sinclair, 317 Melbourne Ave. Tickets were drawn by E.H. Janz, 1065 Spruce, Wpg., Man."

Multum in Parvo Library: "Book of Brief Narratives" (1894)

Believe it or not, this is only the second-smallest book that I've featured here. The smallest was Warren's Pocket History of Winchester, which is just two inches wide.

Book of Brief Narratives is a chapbook that is slightly larger than a standard baseball card. It measures 2⅞ inches wide. Its 16 pages are bound with a single staple.

The book is part of the Multum in Parvo Library1 and was published in December 1894 by A.B. Courtney of Boston. It billed itself on the cover as "Smallest Magazine in the World. Subscription price, 60 cts. per year. Single copies, 5 cents each."

1894 was the first year of publication for the Multum in Parvo Library. The tiny books were published through at least September 1898, when Volume 5, No. 57 — How to Join the U. S. Army — was issued. Some of the other titles included:

  • How to Get Rich
  • Book of Detective Stories
  • The Unique Story Book
  • Gay Life in Paris
  • Secrets for Women Only
  • How to Hypnotize
  • Mormonism Exposed: By a Mormon Slave Wife
  • The Secrets of the Harem
  • Guide to Fortune-Telling by Dreams
  • Art of Love-Making

Book of Brief Narratives crams six stories and roughly 4,100 words into its 15 pages of text.

The tales are all, according to Page 2, "Detective Stories From the Diary of a New York Detective." They are edited by Frank Pemmon.

The titles of the tales are "A Chance Meeting," "How Was She Killed?," "It Was Not Murder," "A Freight Car Adventure," "Two Ghosts," and "He Addressed the Jury."

If you're interested in reading more about miniature books, here's a PDF documenting the incredible collection that was put together by the late Donn W. Sanford. Fair warning: Once you start reading that, you could lose an hour before you even know it.

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Note: If you're scoring at home, this is Papergreat's 1,200th post.

1. Multum in Parvo is a Latin phrase that translates to "much in little."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Vintage, punny get-well-soon card

This undated get-well card is full of puns and word play. Any card that uses "mis-steak" and "lettuce hope" is OK with me! I don't really know who to give credit to, though. The only pieces of identifying information on the back of the card are J.P., O-1724 and Made in U.S.A.

Obviously, "J.P." was the company, but that's not a lot to go on.

Here's the inside of the card, featuring an amazing parade of anthropomorphic food.1

The cursive text states:
"Sunday School Class
Dorothy Stoner
Harry Young
George Beck
Joe Siltzer"

Interestingly, neither "Joe Siltzer" nor "Joseph Siltzer" is a very common name in online searches. But that's still not quite enough of a lead for me to go on in determining this card's provenance.

1. Other Papergreat posts featuring anthropomorphism:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book cover: "Andersen's Fairy Tales"

This month, in addition to my regular posts, I'm going to be sharing some of the covers of my favorite and most interesting books. This one was a Christmas 2011 present from my wonderful wife.