As postcards became more and more popular in the beginning of the twentieth century publishers began to introduce novelty into their production. One approach was the panoramic or bifold double card with a wide-angle scene folded to postcard size. Although special cameras had been developed as early as 1904 to record 360 degree panoramas and group shots, most panoramic scenes were taken using conventional photo equipment and by cropping the images to produce the wide angle effect. The sharpness of glass plate negatives could make the results quite striking. However in the case of this card the colour printing appears somewhat “muddy”.
Landscape paintings had often had a horizontal orientation – hence “landscape” as opposed to “portrait” format – and this seems to have been preferred for most postcards. The panoramic images were reproduced on a number of folding panels, most frequently two, but in some cases three, four or more. Cards with as many as eight panels were produced.
Folded to standard postcard size for mailing the cards did not stand up well to handling and large cards with all panels still attached are scarce. In some cases only a single panel has survived and a single card without any markings with only one torn edge may be evidence that it was once part of a panoramic card.
The photo on this Charlottetown card was taken from the roof of the Colonial Building looking down Great George Street. Prominent buildings shown include, from left to right, the brick Methodist church, the Presbyterian church, Charlottetown’s Y.M.C.A. building, the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island building, Queen Square School (originally the Christian Brothers School) with St. Dunstan’s cathedral behind, and the commercial buildings on Richmond street. The promised “beautiful Hillsborough River” is barely visible in the background. Magnification shows the line of the Hillsborough Bridge visible behind the mass of the Methodist church and helps date the card to after 1905 when the bridge was completed.
Although Haszard and Moore appear to have printed some of the cards bearing their name it is unlike that the Charlottetown Bird’s Eye is one of them. There is no indication that they possessed the colour presses necessary for the work. On the card itself they are identified as “importers”, and indeed the back of the card shows it was printed in Belgium.
Another Haszard and Moore card – Bird’s Eye View East River Showing Hillsboro Bridge, Charlottetown, P.E.I., appears at first glance to be the left hand half of the panoramic card but closer examination reveals this not to be the case. Although likely from the same negative, the East River card is cropped differently. It shows the whole of the Methodist church and a part of the roofline of the Colonial Building which are details absent in the panoramic card. Further, on the panoramic card the title is printed on the face of the card across both halves and any separation of the halves would be easily noticed. This was not always the case and some publishers printed the image both as a panoramic card and as two single image cards.
Whether this is the only experiment of a panoramic card that Haszard and Moore attempted is not known. The only other early panoramic card of Charlottetown that I have is not only a different scene but also is from a different publisher.