In modern times, postcards seem like such a commonplace item, it’s strange to think of a time when they didn’t exist. These days we have customizable postcards and even e-cards! But postcards were actually invented back in a time where letter writing was the only option for communication. People did not have FaceBook, Twitter, email, cell phones or any other type of easy communication. Therefore, the postcard became quite the commodity for communication.
The invention of the postcard is attributed to a man named Emanuel Hermann in Austria in 1869. It is said that he created them in order to increase post office business and help customers by reducing the postage cost and time of writing a letter. The original postcard was much more plain than the ones we recognize today – they were pre-stamped, cardboard with no decoration, only a handwritten message from the sender. Eventually the postcard came to display various sorts of art and photography, as well as different styles and fonts.
But the postcard truly took off during WWI. They proved to be an excellent way for civilians back at home to communicate with soldiers across the seas. And since the soldiers were incredibly busy, postcards relieved the burden of having to write an entire letter. Pre-printed postcards were available to the soldiers to let family and loved ones at home know what was happening. They had messages like “I am well” or “I have been wounded” that told the most basic things they needed to say. The civilians at home found emotional or funny postcards to send to cheer up their troops.
When WWI was over, postcards lost a bit of their appeal, especially since postage went up for sending them in many countries. There are still a large number of people who collect When WWI was over, postcards lost a bit of their appeal, especially since postage went up for sending them in many countries. There are still a large number of people who collect vintage war postcards.