Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Orleans 1885: Exposition Trade Cards.....

Trade cards were a popular form of advertising during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and were distributed by almost every exhibitor at the 1884-1885 World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, and the 1885-1886 North, Central and South American Exposition. These cards were produced in various sizes, shapes, and styles; and ranged from simple black & white lettered versions, to elaborate multi-colored works of art. The type of card handed-out by an exhibitor generally represented the prominence and financial success of his company. Most trade cards contained eye-catching and witty advertising on the front, and information about products or services on the reverse side. Since trade cards were distributed at no cost, they were collected by exposition visitors as free souvenirs; and proudly glued into scrap books, which were gaining in popularity during the 1880's. A large "Exposition Scrap Book" was produced for sale, so that visitors might separate their exposition trade cards from other cards they had collected. Pictured below are several types of New Orleans exposition trade cards, produced from 1884-1886:

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