Old Advertising Images from Postal Items (3)

advertising image for a fencing company on an envelope

As soon as envelopes were used for sending business letters and advertisements in the mid-19th century, it was quickly realized that the envelope (cover) itself could be an advertisement; the potential customer could be influenced before they even tore open the envelope. Even if someone did not see the contents, they saw the logo and image.

When postal cards were created later in that century, businesses found them very useful for advertisements (and they only cost a penny). The images on postal items from around the turn of the 20th century are very collectable. I hope that this group (3 of 4) of such images provides a window into those times far gone. Many of the advertising images are examples of the finest art of the engraver and illustrator.

If you are interested in collecting advertising covers, be sure to check out Jim Forte's postal history search page. Just search for 'advertising'.

(Legal Stuff) These images are provided for educational and research purposes ONLY. If you use them for anything commercial, you are on your own. Some of the images here, although scanned from items over 100 years old, may STILL be COPYRIGHT or TRADEMARK for the companies that use them. In some cases, the companies may STILL be using them in 2020. You have been warned.


Classic American Indian Image -- This image is scanned from a cover for a tobacco store. The Indian was often used as a symbol of tobacco products.

Art Nouveau Design for Steel Company -- This is quite an artistic logo, created for Jessop's Steel. The original Jessop was a British steel outfit from Sheffield, England. Looking on the internet, I have found references to Wm. Jessop & Sons, Inc. (New York, NY & Boston, MA) which would be the organization referred to in this advertisement, from around 1900.

Overall Advertisement for Palo Alto -- The developers of Palo Alto, California, wanted people to move there and use the Southern Pacific railroad to commute to their jobs in downtown San Francisco. This advertising cover dates from 1907, when the Peninsula area was starting to be developed.

Of course, Stanford University had already been established at this time. Today, real estate in that area is astronomically priced.

Ornate Peacock Design -- This is the logo of the Peacock Coal Company, Pomeroy, Ohio.

Quaker Oats Man -- This image was from a grocery company cover, and shows the official Quaker Oats Quaker. Notice that he is holding a box of Quaker Oats with the same image on the the box. I guess you could look at that image and see this image inside it, and so on.

Notice the word 'PURE'. Many adulterated products were sold in the U. S. until the Pure Food and Drug laws. So, product purity was a big selling point.

Ornate Military-Themed Logo -- This logo, scanned from an envelope from the turn of the 20th century, seems to be for a lodge or veteran's organization. The details are quite interesting, and include an anchor, sabre, multiple U. S. flags, military drum, rifle with bayonette, badge, etc. The initials at the top indicate 'W. E. B. No. 1' which might be the lodge number.

Dress Shoes from Illustrated Postal Card -- These dressy shoes were scanned from an illustrated postal card. At one time, I would have said that the high-top shoe was out of fashion, but these things have a way to coming back into the current style (e.g., Dr. Martens):


Back of Postal Card with Huge List of Items for Sale -- This is the type of advertising used by businesses, once the 'postcard' era arrived. This extensive product list was printed on the back of a 1-cent postal card, and was mailed by F. B. Dallam and Co., of San Francisco.

The written messages indicates that a salesman will visit the recipient on a particular date in 1902. The potential buyer was supposed to mark off what they wanted, and the vendor would have them shipped.

While there is no fancy illustration on this card, it is still fun to read all of the amazing things that are available for sale.

Union Fence Logo on Cornercard -- Scanned from an advertising cover. The Union Fence Company of DeKalb, IL, probably no longer exists. The cover dates from 1906. I like the patriotic colors.

Logo of the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club -- This is a full cornercard illustration from a cover. The Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club is still operating.

Advertising Cover from a Raincoat Company -- This cover is an example of the correct usage of the Parcel Post stamp . The cover was cancelled by a Cummins/Time-Marking machine in Chicago, Illinois, in May of 1913, and most likely contained a product sample from the Goodman Rainproof Coat Company of Chicago, Illinois.

Ornate Cornercard of the Ammonol Chemical Company -- This cover is an example of the correct usage of the Parcel Post stamp. It may be a 3rd class usage to send out a printed circular.

This interesting advertising cover shows the logo and name of the Ammonol Chemical Company of New York City.

Advertising Cover with Prices of Paper Products -- This advertising cover is an example of the correct usage of the Parcel Post stamp. I believe that this cover was used to mail a product sample during the appropriate period in early 1913. Note that the wording on the cover mentions "this sample". The cover was mailed by J. M. Hansell's Sons, Philadelphia, a printing company that manufactured envelopes, among other paper items.

'Merchandise' Usage of Parcel Post Stamp with Advertising Logo -- This cover is an example of the correct usage of the Parcel Post issue. The cover is marked "merchandise" and, while difficult to read, the handstamp appears to be dated January 10, 1913. This advertising cover with a product logo was mailed by the H. Fischer company of New York City, a dental supply company.

Paint Advertising -- This advertising cover image is quite striking. The paint company used plenty of color to attract customers. The name on the logo indicates Bradley and Vrooman Co., Chicago. The paint appears to be called "cottage colors". This cover dates from about 1900.

Bradley and Vrooman were incorporated in 1918, but are out of business. Their advertisements and paint cans, however, are definitely for sale from antique dealers.

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Updated 7/22/20, 2:41 PM