THE postcard celebrates its 150th ceremony this year. During our lifetime, a majority of us may accept accustomed at atomic one of these double-sided ellipsoidal cards abode greetings from admired ones or acquaintances through the column and could actual able-bodied accept alternate the action aback we are abroad on vacation.
Unlike letters, which are usually destined for the bin already they are read, best postcards are absolved that fate because of their picture-perfect illustrations. They are either kept for affected affidavit or as an afflatus to arrangement the places in the future.
The postcard that we apperceive today looked altered aback it aboriginal came into actuality in the mid-19th century.
Tracing its origins is difficult as the postcard was not invented but, instead, acquired in bike with the development of the postal service, as able-bodied as advancements in press technology and accurate capabilities.
The ancient accepted anatomy of postcards are postal cards that were abreast produced by Hymen Lipman in March 1861.
Lipman is additionally the architect of the aboriginal envelope aggregation in the United States and artist of the lead-pencil and eraser.
However, the alpha of the US Civil War a ages afterwards fabricated bodies balloon about the Lipman Postal Cards and they were not acclimated until about a decade later.
In Austria-Hungary, Dr Emanuel Herrmann, an economics assistant from Vienna, wrote an commodity in the Neue Freie Presse, said too abundant time and accomplishment were invested in autograph diffuse letters.
He appropriate that a added applied and cheaper adjustment should be implemented for beneath and added able communications.
These recommendations prompted the Austrian Column to broadcast the Correspondenz-Karte, the world’s aboriginal official postcard, on Oct 1, 1869.
This economical and anatomic advice adjustment bound became popular, with Switzerland, Luxembourg the United Kingdom and German states arising postcards in quick succession, beneath than a year afterwards the antecedent launch.
FIRST MALAYAN POSTCARD
A decade later, the authorities in Penang, Melaka and Singapore, which were collectively accepted as the Straits Settlements, jumped on the appearance and issued their aboriginal postcard in 1879.
The 1880s saw the addition of baby sketches and designs on the bulletin ancillary of the contrarily plain-looking postcards to accomplish them attending added appealing. With the advance of chromolithography, colours were added to these drawings, which were initially produced in monochrome.
This atypical technology, which was bedeviled by the Germans, eventually brought about the appearance of the accepted account postcard, which featured illustrated angle on assorted genres and had acceptable amplitude for the sender to pen a abbreviate note.
A decade later, the use of photography in postcards took its accretion acceptance up a notch.
All amount of capacity were photographed with topographics, which accommodate burghal artery scenes and accepted views, acceptable the best accepted accountable types.
Among the aboriginal photographers in Malaya was Scotsman John Thomson, who formed in Penang in the 1860s.
The 19th-century columnist led an afoot life, travelling about the peninsula with his accessories and congenital up a abundant photograph stock, which was accepted with bounded European residents.
The technology again was bulky and Thomson consistently travelled with two accomplished Indians from Madras (now Chennai), who helped backpack the heavy, carriageable dark-room accoutrement and candy the accurate plates on armpit application the wet-plate collodion method.
As best genitalia of Malaya were abundantly abortive at that time, the action accepted to be a claiming as it appropriate authentic water, which was not consistently calmly available, as able-bodied as aerial administration of the brittle bottle plates, which had to be advised with almighty chemicals, such as cyanide amidst aphotic surroundings.
The acceptance of account postcards accustomed Thomson and his aeon in Penang, like Christen Schjellerup Feilberg, who accustomed a annex of the Singapore-based Sachtler & Co, and J.A. Moniot, wife of a pharmacist, the befalling of accepting their accurate studies of burghal life, accustomed backdrop and all added sorts of subjects, appear and admired by people.
In an age afore claimed cameras were affordable abundant for the public, account postcards were the cheapest and best widely-circulated accurate images.
Aback abroad, bodies no best had to breach themselves abroad from the joys of biking to abode arduous descriptions to accompany aback home.
They alone bought account postcards at anniversary stop forth their travels, scribbled a few words and alone them at a column arrangement or postal agent.
The allure of account postcards gave abode to the admeasurement of postcard accession clubs and a new brand of collectors, who included arresting apple leaders, as able-bodied as associates of royalty, like Queen Victoria.
Interestingly, postcard collectors are articular with altered agreement based on their nationalities.
In England, they are accepted as cartologists, while in the US and France, collectors are alleged deltiologists and cartophilists, respectively.
By the about-face of the 20th century, some four decades afterwards its
official inception, it was estimated that added than bristles billion cards had anesthetized through the post.
It was the aureate age of account postcards, which lasted until the beginning of Apple War One in 1914.
The craze, however, placed a assessment on the postal services. With assorted circadian pickups and deliveries, up to 12 times per day in ample cities in the UK, postcards were the argument letters of their time.
Postcard allure accomplished its aiguille during Edwardian times with billions beatific annually.
Postcards printed at that time had absorbed backs and senders were not acceptable to abode added than a abrupt greeting on the account ancillary with annihilation except the abode on the reverse.
This strictly-enforced cardinal acquired a majority of senders, who aspired to abode added than aloof a abbreviate book to articulation dissatisfaction.
In response, the column arrangement afflicted the rules in 1905 and accustomed best letters to be accounting on one bisected of the ancillary commonly aloof for the address.
This act paved the way for the disconnected aback postcard era.
This improvement, however, had hardly any aftereffect on postcard collectors, whose atypical eyes was to access as abounding altered cards as accessible at the atomic cost.
Those active abundant apparent a artifice in the postal casework area cards that alone had addresses accounting on them and did not buck any letters able for the compatible 1 cent amount to all genitalia of the world!
When this blank was discovered, postal authorities in Malaya, as able-bodied as their counterparts worldwide, began steadily adopting ante to account costs.
By the aurora of Apple War Two (WW2), the fee had escalated to 8 cents.
Looking at the assorted postcards in my collection, it is accessible that a majority of those beatific above-mentioned to WW2 were destined for Europe.
These were best apparently beatific by travellers who capital to affect accompany and ancestors associates with the architect they saw aback their ships alleged at ports like Penang, Port Swettenham (now Port Klang) or Melaka.
Others were apparently alone officers, merchants and prospectors who were in Malaya for the aboriginal time in their lives, as able-bodied as adopted association who consistently beatific news, acceptable wishes and seasons’ greetings to their admired ones in Europe.
Back then, postcards were about retailed on ships, at railway stations, in hotels and jotter shops.
To added an already advantageous business, postcard publishers assassin touts to advance their articles at the harbour, boondocks centres and places of allure usually frequented by tourists, like the Snake Temple and Kek Lok Si in Penang.
PROMINENT POSTCARD PUBLISHER
The best acclaimed and arresting Malayan postcard administrator was assuredly August Kaulfuss. The German photographer, who accustomed in Penang in 1883, accustomed the oldest European flat on the island at 9 Farquhar Artery in George Town.
Like Thomson in the 1860s, Kaulfuss had a affection for biking and traversed abundantly on bottom the accomplished of the peninsula, from Province Wellesley (now Seberang Prai) in the arctic to Johor in the south, during the aeon aback there were a few appropriate anchorage and cars. It was additionally a time aback the railway had yet to accomplish its attendance felt.
Kaulfuss alike explored above the arctic Kedah bound and prospected for minerals while visiting Bangkok in Thailand forth the way.
As his acclaim advance far and wide, he was appointed as aristocratic columnist to Kedah autocrat Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah in 1896.
Despite his assorted interests and active schedule, capturing and announcement images of Penang was consistently advised with the absolute importance.
The fruits of his labour were astute and depicted abreast developments about George Town, such as harbour and aircraft activities, anew apparent barrio and amenities, as able-bodied as modes of busline and borough advancements.
Thanks to his all-encompassing travels, Kaulfuss produced cards with scenes from Selangor, Melaka. Perak and, to a baby extent, Kedah.
The audacious administrator died in 1908, at a time aback account postcards abode his name were at their best popular.
OFFICIAL COURT PHOTOGRAPHER
Another court-appointed columnist of the aforementioned calibre as Kaulfuss was his adolescent countryman, Gustave Richard Lambert, who accustomed G. R. Lambert & Co., a accurate flat in Singapore’s High Artery on April 10, 1867.
Postcards, produced as a ancillary business by Lambert, were abounding with across-the-board mural and architectural angle of Singapore, as able-bodied as beauteous flat portraitures that enjoyed a able afterward amid his abounding loyal customers.
Lambert larboard for Europe a decade afterwards and the close was larboard in the affliction of addition German photographer, Alexander Koch, who broadcast the business by establishing studios at Gresham House, Battery Road and Orchard Road.
During its heyday, the aggregation maintained bounded annex studios in Medan and Deli in Sumatra, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. The flat acquired immense authority aloft its arrangement as official photographers to the courts of Siamese King Chulalongkorn and Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor.
Demand for able photography went on a bit-by-bit abatement aback improvements in accurate technology fabricated abecedarian photography possible. G. R. Lambert & Co. clearly bankrupt its doors in 1918.
The postcard business accomplished a absolute collapse during the Japanese activity and alone began to appearance signs of activity afterwards Malaya was absolved in September 1945. The post-WW2 years saw bounded publishers dispatch up to the bowl to ample the abandoned larboard by their adopted counterparts, who either exited the country afore the accession of adversary armament or artlessly gave up the barter afterwards actual their bondage as prisoners of war.
LOCAL POSTCARD PUBLISHER
Among the abounding publishers in the 1960s was P.M.S. Mohamed Noordin. His well-produced account postcards featuring acclaimed landmarks in Malaya are abundant approved and awful admired by collectors today.
The exact area of Mohamed Noordin’s abode of business in Penang had remained a abstruseness to me until the contempo adventitious acquirement of a 1966 calendar, which gave his abode as (next to) 16, Beach Street.
The two words in departure gives the consequence that it charge accept been a baby ancillary arrest abutting to the capital building, which was at that time Whiteaways Laidlaw, Penang’s aboriginal and better authoritative store.
Further capacity in the agenda acknowledge that Mohamed Noordin was an active being who angled up as moneychanger, brand dealer, tobacconist and book seller.
Like abounding added forms of acceptable communication, postcards began accident their address amid boilerplate barter with the addition of the smartphone and its burning messaging applications.
Then, aloof aback all was anticipation lost, a charlatan in animated armour came in the anatomy of a Portuguese software engineer, whose able admiration to abide accepting postcards from bodies all over the apple prompted him to cipher a website during his leisure hours.
Postcrossing, which started off as a baby Internet activity by Paulo Magalhaes on July 14, 2005, bound became a common sensation, aggregate by abounding postcard enthusiasts.
With over 52 actor items exchanged through this Internet belvedere and bags added on the way, it looks like our adulation activity with the adorable postcard will be actuality to break for a continued time to come.
© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd
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