Bermuda Post Cards
Era of Bermuda Post Cards started way back in 1877 when the Government of Bermuda introduced postal cards to the public for the first time. However those days they were all brought in from England. Printing of the cards started in the island three years later. Those days the back side of the card was solely used for address and postage stamps. Only the front side was kept for writing the message.
The postage stamps were pasted at the time of selling the cards which had no pictures at that time. For sending a post card from Bermuda to USA, one required a postage stamp of one and half pence (British system of currency prevailed during those days).
By 1885, the post cards in Bermuda became hugely popular and large quantities were imported from England with the stamp imprinted on the back side. One could buy a postcard with the price of the stamp imprinted on it and that provided an easy and cheap way of communication. One did not require to paste a separate stamp on the card.
In late 1800s, based on someone's innovative suggestion Bermuda Government started printing pictures on the front side of the earlier post cards leaving some space on its sides for writing messages. Those were still owned and controlled by the government.
Private picture post cards came into play in Bermuda in 1901. These were called Private Mailing Cards which had pictures on the front side with room for writing message. Until 1907, the back of the postcard was used only for address and postage stamps.
In 1901 when picture postcards were introduced in Bermuda, they were all printed using black or dark green colors. The method used was called Collotype where a glass plate was used with gelatin surface.
The black-and-white prints reproduced were of good quality. Albertype Company of Brooklyn, New York was the main supplier of these cards to Bermuda. However cards produced by this method had the limitation of being restricted to few hundred copies only after which the quality suffered. Another method was used called the Letter Press printing or Relief Blocks. One could easily identify these cards where the entire image would be composed of screened dots. While there was no limitation to the number of cards one could print, but the quality was not as good as the Collotype.
Various efforts were made to bring in color tinge to these post cards. One method was to hand tint the cards sometimes by using stencils. Artists would be lined up like an assembly line and each responsible for providing a single color hue. But these looked quite odd on darker subjects. Small companies employed a single artists to do all the colorings. Another method applied was called Chromolithography where artists created overlays of separate colors on limestone blocks which were then used for printing.
In 1904, Quebec Steamship Company introduced some color photographs of Bermuda on their brochure and postcards that they printed for their cruise passengers. They used an innovative way of taking three black and white pictures through three different filters of three primary colors (blue, green and red) that could be used to produce a color picture.
In 1902, Dr. Adolf Miethe designed a camera that could expose an image simultaneously through three primary colors resulting in a color image. One such camera was brought into Bermuda in 1904 and color postcards produced more than 30 years before the color films were discovered.
1) Check out Bermuda Post Office
to know about the post offices in the island and how to access the great collections.
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