April 14, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Koehler cards

Here is a set of mechanical trade cards that use a single pivot to create some rather stylized “Before & After” views of Victorian era characters. First off we see a bride transform into a widow, followed by a Civil War solider ravaged by battle and cap it off with a quick passage of time from sweet sixteen to sixty with the turn of a hat. The cards are all chromolithographs on a gold background with no printing on the reverse. A small note mentions that a patent was applied for and registered by Jos. Koehler, NY in 1882. I could not locate the specific patent on-line but found many others and came across this information from the Chicago Postcard Museum and the Metropolitan Postcard Club of New York City.

“Joseph Koehler, New York, NY; Founded as a printing firm 1892-1911, they later began publishing view-cards in both continuous tone and halftone lithography as well as real photo cards. They have been well known for their early hold to light postcards, mechanicals, and exposition cards, since publishing an unofficial postcard set of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. While most companies stopped using the expensive chromolithographic printing method in favor of the cheaper halftone printing process, Koehler (a pioneer in halftone technology) had returned to producing chromolithographs. Koehler postcards have a very distinct style to them and is the reason why Koehler postcards are so sought after by serious collectors. All of their postcards were printed in Berlin Germany.”


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