Nothing says you care more during this season than spreading your love and thoughts via a Deco Christmas card. But first, a brief history.
Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant in the United Kingdom in 1843 helped set-up the new ‘Public Record Office’ (now called the Post Office). The concept of the Christmas card was a bid on how to get this new service used more by ordinary people.
His first card was a collaboration between he and his artist friend, John Horsley. Their creation was a tri-panel card that sold for 1 shilling (about 8 cents) and was met with mixed reviews. The outer panels featured people caring for the poor. The central picture depicted a family having a Christmas feast. What was so controversial? The center panel featured children drinking wine!
Although started in 1840, only very rich people could afford to send anything in the post. Because the new railways being built, could carry much more post and could go faster than the horse and carriage, the introduction of the new “Penny Stamp” made sending mail affordable to the masses. Cards became even more popular in the UK when they could be posted in an unsealed envelope for half the price of an ordinary letter.
By 1860 and with improved printing methods, Christmas cards became much more popular and were produced in large quantities. In 1870 the cost of sending a post card and Christmas card dropped to half a penny. Now affordable, even more people were able to send cards.
Meanwhile, across the pond in the United States, Christmas Cards started to make an appearance in the late 1840. They were very expensive and most people couldn’t afford them.
Enter Louis Prang in 1875. Originally from Germany he was a printer who had worked on early cards in the UK. He started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created a small company you may have heard of called Hallmark Cards. As you may have guessed, they are one of the largest greeting card companies in the world (though their cards don’t cost 8 cents!).
In the 1910s and 1920s, home made cards became popular. (Remember those homemade invites from my party series?) Often in unusual shapes and with delicate trims such as foil and ribbon, they were usually too delicate to send through the post and were given by hand.
Deco Christmas Cards would also commemorate significant world events.
As for the mass produced cards, unlike Halloween, they got the majority of them right…but then again!
I hope you enjoyed this post. Sending wishes to you and yours for a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
Chris & Anthony (The Freakin’, Tiquen’ Guys)
If you enjoyed this look at Art Deco Christmas Cards you might also enjoy these earlier Holiday posts:
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