The history of a postcard

When we find ourselves in a beautiful place during our travels, we often send postcards with greetings to our loved ones. Have you ever wondered where did this custom come from? Since when do we do it? How has it changed until today?

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In 1869, professor Emanuel Hermann from the University of Vienna, proposed a new idea of correspondence. He decided to break the tradition of sealed letters and replaced it with a simple card. He’d write a message on one side, whereas on the back he’d put a stamp and the address.

Very quickly, it became extremely popular! Only 3 months after introducing the postcard, 3 millions copies were sold. In fact, it was cheaper and easier to send a postcard rather than a standard letter. Few years later, the card was decorated with a small illustration, and this is how it became the postcard, as we know it today.

The end of the 19th century was the time of big industrial changes and emigration, which led to breaking the traditional family model. It was the perfect time for the postcard! It became more and more popular around the world. Most of the postcards pictured the landscapes of the villages and the natural wonders, that were quite eye-soothing whilst the new-built factories everywhere had been transforming the cities and towns into the grey jungles of concrete.

Postcards before the Great War

Until the end of the World War I, the postcards have had their golden age. On the one hand, it was just a useful communication tool, and on the other hand, it became a desirable object for many collectors. People all around the world created magazines and clubs for postcards’ fans and organised postcards’ exhibitions. More interestingly, even people from the highest social groups, i.e. Pope Pius X and king Gustav V of Sweden belonged to the postcards’ enthusiasts.

Another interesting fact is that the postcards could have had an impact on wars. The soldiers, who were in touch with their loved ones were more resistant to suffering and pain, and that affected the mood of the army. Therefore, the Japanese government encouraged young girls to send postcards to the unknown soldiers. This also continued during the later conflicts, i.e. Vietnam War in the 60’s.

Post-postcard era

Over time, the postcards were replaced by telephones and telegrams. Today, the easiest way to send a short message is via SMS or e-mail – they are the “grandchildren” of the postcard. In the digital age, of course, there is an e-postcard, a digital card that can be send via e-mail.

WishYouWereHere introduces the idea to send an actual, traditional postcard to your loved ones from your smartphone! Just take a selfie, press the button and your family and friends will receive it as a beautiful postcard!

In the end of the day it is up to you how are you going to communicate to your loved ones that you wish they were there to share the special moments with you. Is it a traditional card, or a digital WishCard from your smartphone, what is the most important, the opportunity to let your family and friends know that you think about them in special moments in your life.

Author: Tomasz Delmaczyński

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