""
"" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ""
"" ""  Home  "" "" ""  Postmuseum   "" "" ""  Opening hours   "" "" ""  Post F@ktum "" "" ""   "" "" ""
"" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ""
Postmuseum  
"" ""
""
""  Collections  ""  Exhibitions   ""  Museum shop  ""
"" "" ""
""
 

Picture Postcards from Swedish Districts

To: Postcards with motifs from Götaland

To: Postcards with motifs from Norrland

To: Postcards with motifs from Svealand

“Postcards with Pictures”

In 1891, picture postcards were introduced in Sweden and, to begin with, they were referred to as “postcards with pictures”.  At that time, it had been possible, for a couple of decades, to send ordinary postcards which were a relatively new form of postal matter in the world.

In 1869, Emanuel Herrmann, an Austrian, wrote a persuasive newspaper article where he argued for the use of so-called “Correspondence Cards”.  Herrmann was a Professor of Economics at the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt.  He pointed out that about a third of all letters sent only contained short messages that were not confidential.  By replacing these letters with a simple postcard, it would be possible to save on envelopes, writing paper, sealing wax, some postage and also working time.  The address was to be on one side of the card and the message on the other.

This sensible idea aroused interest and, from 1st October the same year, such postcards could be sent within Austria.  They were an immediate success and the use of postcards spread very quickly through Europe and North America.

From 1st January 1872, postcards could be sent in Sweden at a postage rate of 12 öre.  However, these postcards were not very popular, and both lower postage and a picture were needed for the postcard to become a success. The postage was reduced several times and postcards gradually became more popular.  When “postcards with pictures” were introduced in 1891, the Swedish volume of mail increased very quickly.

The pictures on the first illustrated postcards were produced using wood and copper engravings or lithography.  Our early picture postcards were thus pictures drawn by hand and reproduced using various techniques.

“The Picture Postcard Rage”

Around the turn of the century, it gradually became more common to create photographic pictures using so-called phototype printing and this new technique soon superseded wood engravings and lithographs.  These topographical picture postcards were photographic reproductions of towns, buildings and landscape.

In 1901, over 20 million picture postcards and ordinary postcards were sent in Sweden and, in 1904, over 48 million cards were sent (with a population of only 5.2 million).  This increase can mainly be attributed to the popularity of picture postcards and this so-called “picture postcard rage” was an international phenomenon.

It has been estimated that in excess of 7 billion picture postcards were sent annually all over the world at this time.  In Germany only, more than 1 billion cards were posted in 1903.

On 27th October 1903, the new main post office building in Vasagatan in Stockholm was completed.  This was the same year as the volume of picture postcards reached its peak, and it was said, jokingly, that the building had been paid for with the income from the picture postcards.  There is a grain of truth in this, as the post office building, the cost of which amounted to almost SEK 3.2 million, was in its entirety paid for by the Post Office’s surplus funds, and the income from the picture postcard traffic in 1902 was estimated at over SEK 1 million.

Before 1905, all of the address side of the picture postcard was used for the address, and the spiky pearl frame looked the same as on official postcards.  Messages therefore had to share the other side with the picture.  In 1902, England started to use cards where one third of the address side could be used for messages, and in 1903 the address side was divided into two in France.   In 1904, the address side was divided into two also in Russia, Germany and Norway and, in 1905, in Sweden.

References
Bäckström, P, Larsson, M, Sylwan, B, 2000.   Märkvärdigt! Om frimärken, vykort och samlande
(Remarkable!  About Stamps, Picture Postcards and Collecting) Postmuseum, Stockholm.

Ehrensvärd, U, 1972. Gamla vykort. En bok för samlare (Old Picture Postcards. A Book for Collectors) Stockholm.

Thelaus, E. 1998.  Gamla vykort från Umeå.  En bildskrift med text.  (Old Picture Postcards from Umeå. A Picture Book with text) Umeå.

 

To: Postcards with motifs from Götaland

To: Postcards with motifs from Norrland

To: Postcards with motifs from Svealand




 



From 1872, it was possible to send postcards (without pictures) in Sweden.
From 1872, it was possible to send postcards (without pictures) in Sweden.

Picture postcard from the Stockholm World’s Fair in 1897. 
Picture postcard from the Stockholm World’s Fair in 1897.  There was a lot of space for written messages on the early picture postcards.

Early postcards were often so-called “Gruss-aus” (Greetings from) cards. 
Early postcards were often so-called “Gruss-aus” (Greetings from) cards.  These were lithographs made from originals drawn by hand.

The main post office building in Vasagatan in Stockholm was completed at the end of 1903, just when picture postcards were all the rage.
The main post office building in Vasagatan in Stockholm was completed at the end of 1903, just when picture postcards were all the rage.

The address side of a picture postcard before 1905, when the address side could only be used for the address.
The address side of a picture postcard before 1905, when the address side could only be used for the address.

The address side of a picture postcard after 1905, when half the address side could be used for messages.
The address side of a picture postcard after 1905, when half the address side could be used for messages.


""
""