Saturday, February 25, 2017

Two early 20th century firefighting postcards

Here are two vintage postcards with a firefighting theme.

The top postcard shows a half-dozen firefighters on the street, aiming their hoses toward a building that's on fire. The caption states: "Fighting Fire at close range." It was made in Germany and is part of the "New York Fire Fighters Series." There's a tiny logo on the back of the card, shown at right. This split-back postcard was never used or written on, and calls for a one-cent stamp for mailing to the United States, Canada or Mexico, and a two-cent stamp for all other countries.

The second postcard is labeled "GOING TO THE FIRE" and features a horse-drawn fire engine. Additional information on the front states: "1946 ILL. POST CARD CO., N.Y." That would be the Illustrated Post Card, which was in business from 1904 to 1914. Its logo — a bald eagle with a shield — appears on the back of this undivided postcard. According to
"This major publisher produced a wide variety of tinted halftone postcards in series that were printed by Emil Pinkau in Leipzig, Saxony. Each city or location of their color card sets were assigned the same number prefix. They also published an unnumbered series of chromolithographic fine art cards that were printed in Dresden. ... Their best known cards are from a very large set that captured scenes throughout the City of New York. ... In 1909 they stopped importing cards from Germany and began printing their own."
This card was never used either, though someone has scribbled some illegible words on the back, in pencil.

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