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December 9, 2016

Before Photoshop: 12 Beautiful Real Photographic Postcards of Actresses With Stunning Effects From the Early 20th Century

If dates are your thing then the history of the Rotary Photographic Company is obscure, or even murky. Some very credible sources say the firm was established in 1899 while others, equally respectable, put it at 1901. Likewise some say its end came in 1921 but newspaper reports have it on record applying for bankruptcy in April 1916.

As for the owner, J. Menger, not only are his birth and death details unknown but his first name is often followed by a question mark. That said, the only interesting thing about the facts is that we don’t have them. All we really need to know about the Rotary Photographic Company is that between 1901 and World War I it led the pack among British postcard publishers when it came to design, and this at a time when nearly 200 million postcards were bought each year. Bankruptcy must have seemed like a distant and unlikely threat.

Rotary was known for several themes but it based its reputation on real photographic postcards of actresses. Millions were produced, and millions still gather dust in English flea markets. It’s understandable that people quickly weary of sorting through piles of images of the Dare sisters but scattered among the ordinary are postcards that display a vivid sense of graphic design, all the better for being photographs.

(via One Man's Treasure)


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