A Brief History of the Post Card

A work in progress

The Pioneer Era of Post Cards: On June 1, 1871, Canada issued
a prestamped, pictureless post card. It was called a postal stationery
card and was sold for one cent at the post office. The cost included
both the card and the delivery to any address within the Dominion.

Example: Postmarked Hamilton, Canada, December 7, 1877

Uncirculated example of an 1879 postal stationary card
According to the 1871 Department Order No. 7
which authorized the government printed post card
"The front or stamped side of the card is to be used for the address only,
There must be nothing else either written or printed upon it." and
"On the other or reverse side, any communication whether of
the nature of a letter or otherwise, may be written or printed."

Example: Postmarked Hamilton, Canada, October 30, 1883
Postal Stationery Cards were used for business purposes to
make appointments, confirm orders and arrange deliveries.

Example: Postmarked Hamilton, Canada, March 31, 1886
Example: Postmarked Hamilton, Canada, December 6, 1895
Example: Postmarked September 2, 1898

Example: Postmarked Hamilton, September 28, 1901
Examples of two cent government issued post cards.
The Queen Victoria prestamped post card (left) is slightly
larger than the prestamped King Edward post card (right).
On December 9, 1897 the Post Office announced that
"designs, illustrations, portraits, sketches or other forms
of advertisement may be engraved, lithographed, printed, etc.,
on the 'address' side of the one-cent Post Card."

Two early private view cards (of different sizes) of Hamilton. Circa 1898
The Private Mailing Card: 1898 marked the end of the Pioneer Era
and the beginning of the Private Mailing Card (PMC). Again, only
the address was allowed to be written on the stamp side, and space
was left around the image for any message from the sender.

Also found on many post cards was "Postal Card - Carte Postale"
which indicated it was allowed to enter the international mail system.

Beautiful Vignette of 3 Hamilton Landmarks
Examples of PMC's where the space
around the image is filled with the message.
The Private Mailing Card logo is found in a variety of styles.
Beautiful example of a private postal card.
Example of a Canadian Postal Card which could be
mailed internationally. Written in English and French
on the stamp side of the postal card
The Divided Back: In December 1903 one of the most important
changes in Canadian post card history occurred. The Official Postal
Guide announced "The department has authorized...that a space may be
reserved for communication on the face of the cards to the left of the address....
This space must be marked off from the address section by a vertical line..."

Example (left): W. G. MacFarlane, Publisher, Toronto
Example (right): Illustrated Post Card Co., Montreal
The Gore Stereoview
A stereoview is two photographs taken of the same view from slightly different angles.
The photographs are then mounted side by side onto a stiff card.
When looked at in a stereoview (which brings out the 3-D effect of
the photographic composition) the two view will appear as one.

One of the photographs used to create this stereoview
was used to produce the following postcard.

The Gore
W. G. MacFarlane, Publisher, Toronto
Beautiful example of a Private Mailing Card with a Divided Back
Size is also unusual: 7 inches x 3.5 inches