Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Wayback View - Print Ephemera

"Ephemera: transitory, transient, fleeting, passing, short-lived, momentary, brief, short; temporary, impermanent."

Just a very few examples of print ephemera - items that usually do not survive the passage of time. Rare because, being of little apparent value, very few care to preserve them.

A lenticular letter opener promotes this 1950s printer:
Printer invoices are some of the least preserved aspects of print.

From 1894:
From 1905:
From 1913. Note the two hours of customer alterations resulting in a $1.50 extra charge. Also, the invoice was made just after Christmas and was paid just over thirty days later. Impressive! The fact that this printer is still in business - outstanding!
From 1929:
From 1933. Think short run printing is the latest thing? This invoice to the Catholic Records Society from John Whitehead & Son Limited is for just 25 leaflets.
Print sales representative business cards are also quite rare.

From the 1870s - what a great address: "Between High and Purchase Streets." Partner Clifford displays his complete first name but partner Crawford is only allowed an enigmatic "W." And their unique capability? "First-Class Blank Books a Speciality." In other words, their best printing is no printing at all!
A more conventional business card from the turn of the century:

Even vendor material, although often inspirational, was not likely to be preserved:
If you have any examples of print ephemera to share please send them to me via pritchardgordon (@) gmail (dot) com

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