When the postcard collecting mania developed in the first decade of the 20th century publishers used a vide variety of devices to stimulate sales. Postcards were printed on unusual surfaces including bark, wood and leather; they were embossed or finished in textured surfaces, hand painted or with sparkles added.
One approach was to use unusual sizes for the cards. There were limitations imposed by the postal authorities – sometimes the subject of international agreements – which limited sizes but still some publishers produced cards shaped like bookmarks. I have written elsewhere about the use of the leporello card which incorporated miniature images within a standard card.
Another mechanism was the multiple folded card which came in double, triple or even larger formats providing a panoramic image, sometimes employing special lenses or cameras. It is the folded nature of these cards which helps make them scarce and most of the surviving examples are un-posted. Unless kept closed somehow the cards were vulnerable to damage in the mails. This coupled with the pressure on the “hinge” from opening and closing the card meant that the two parts often became separated and it is not unusual to find half cards. These can appear to be single cards but the presence of an irregular edge can suggest the card was once part of a double or triple image.
I have been able to find only three examples of a P.E.I. double card from the period before 1930 and they are presented below in approximate order of publication.
The earliest of these is a Haszard & Moore card which I have previously written about here. The photo was taken from the roof of the Colonial Building, later the Provincial Building and now erroneously called Province House.
Taylor’s Book Store is noted as the publisher of the view below showing the harbour and Victoria Park but, except for the name, the back and the card is identical to the one above and both were printed in Belgium. This view was taken from the roof of West Kent School and the view is toward the harbour’s mouth with the expanse including the large structures on West Street including the Eden House on the corner of Grafton and West, the stone Young house at West and Kent and across from it, but hidden in the trees, is Beaconsfield surrounded by its impressive fence. I am indebted to Phil Culhane who has the premiere site of PEI postcards at http://www.peipostcards.ca/collection/ for providing a copy of this double card to me.
Two related cards appear below which at first glance appear to be merely the right and left hand halves of the double card. However closer examination shows that it is the same image – note the shadows of the Armouries and the vessel at anchor – but it actually shows more than half of the double image and the double has cropped out a considerable portion of the sky. These cards were made using the same images as the double card but are cropped differently.
The third double card is a scene looking north from Prince Street School. It depicts a view encompassing the site of St. Dunstan’s College and extending east almost to St. Avards with the lands of the Dominion Experimental Farm featured. This card was produced by Valentine & Sons and appears to be the only double card for P.E.I. in the hundreds produced by that company. I have written additional information regarding this card in an earlier posting found here.
In order to have a good vantage point for a panoramic card it is necessary to have an elevated structure or natural feature. In Charlottetown, other than church steeples there were few high buildings. As we have seen one view is from the Colonial Building. The other high structures in the city were both schools; The Wesleyan Academy or Prince Street School and West Kent School. Both of these four-story buildings can be seen on the card below.