Vintage New Year Cards doled out 19th century humor. People have celebrated the New Year for millennia. Not surprisingly, many of the same customs and themes emerge year after year. While this collection of Vintage New Year Cards looks decidedly from another time, the humor rings as true as the midnight gong.
While the sentiments are timeless, these Vintage New Year Cards were decidedly cutting-edge for their day. By the mid-1800s a sea change was underway in printing. According to MetroPostcard:
“Small shops that had long dominated the printing trades began to be overtaken by a large scale industry made possible by new steam powered cylinder and platen presses. Even the practice of making sheets of paper by hand gave way to long webs manufactured by machine.”
Lithography was becoming commonplace. People were experimenting with photography and other emerging techniques in print. Chromolithography was one of the most successful techniques with its rich four-color prints.
“The development of the photo gelatin process would grow to play a major role in the printing of postcards that continued well into the 20th century.”
Combine a growing middle class that had discretionary income with trendy scrapbooking and holiday cards emerged as a new industry.
The Black Penny featuring Queen Victoria, was the first adhesive postage stamp. When it was introduced in the 1870s, sending Christmas cards and these vintage New Year Cards became the rage. By the late 1800s to early 1900s, people sent greetings for every holiday. Yes, there were lots of adorably sweet cards for every holiday. But there were plenty of choices for those whose tastes leaned to the dark side of the aisle. Victorian Christmas cards included children boiling in soup tureens and murderous frogs. Vinegar Valentines delivered stinging insults. Quirky Easter cards featured injured rabbits returning from war and cheating chicks. It’s no surprise that Vintage July Fourth Cards also packed a fiery punch with surprisingly off-color firecracker humor.
Following are some of our favorite snarky Vintage New Year Cards.
People Were Happy To Kiss 1889 Goodbye
The unprecedented levels of production in domestic manufacturing and commercial agriculture during the 1880s strengthened the American economy. According to lumenLearning
“The Industrial Revolution resulted in greater wealth and a larger population in Europe as well as in the United States.”
Even so, the worldwide recession, sometimes called the Long Depression, started in 1873 and continued for several years. Based on these Vintage New Year Cards, there was still plenty of suffering to go around by the end of the 1880s. People were grateful to open their doors to 1890 while kicking 1889 out the window.
Women Took Brooms To Drunken Husbands
This is probably one of those timeless themes. Yes, it has a decided edge in these vintage New Year Cards.
Pigs And Other Symbols of Good Fortune Were Always Popular
The popularity of Lucky Victorian Pigs blossomed in the 1800s. As symbols of good luck in a New Year, they were pictured on cards, jewelry, ornaments and candies. But pigs were not exactly new to good fortune.
As symbols of good luck, pigs go back at least to the Middle Ages. From a practical standpoint, owning pigs meant a person was prosperous and would never go hungry. From a symbolic standpoint, turkeys forage by kicking backwards while pigs root forward. That translates into abundance in the future.
Many popular piggy expressions reflect the association of pigs with happiness, financial prosperity and good luck. Included in the list are: happy as a pig in the mire, in the mud or in the clover’, and ‘you lucky pig.’
Vintage New Year Cards Made Good Business Sense
The back of this New Year Ad reads:
“Please accept our thanks for your past patronage and we solicit your future favors which will be highly appreciated by yours most respectfully, Anthracite Bedding Manufacturing Co. Complete Bedroom Outfitters 100 South Main Street Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Attend our inventory sale which will commence Monday, Jan. 3, 1910.”
Popping Corks At The Moon
We’re not sure why, but this was a common theme for Vintage New Year Cards.
And A Few Random Themes We Can’t Explain
Racing Nellie Bly
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Know The Past To Invent The Future