c1910 Mechanical Halloween Postcard, Ellen Clapsaddle #1236

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We sold this item at auction for $200
 in May, 2023.

This charming circa 1910 mechanical postcard features artwork of a little boy and a jack o’lantern.

Part of the International Art Pub. Company’s series #1236, this vintage postcard features artwork by Ellen Clapsaddle. This particular version is among a few similar Clapsaddle designs of young children holding jack-o’-lanterns.

A Mechanical Halloween Postcard

At first glance, the postcard depicts a scene familiar to many: a young boy holding a large jack o’lantern, his face hidden behind the pumpkin’s grinning visage.

However, a simple mechanical mechanism adds an element of surprise and delight to the postcard. When the boy’s arm is moved, his smiling face is revealed, adding an interactive dimension to the artwork and bringing it to life in a playful way.

About Mechanical Postcards

Mechanical postcards, popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, featured movable parts or mechanisms that added an interactive element to the traditional postcard format.

These innovative designs often included elements such as flaps, wheels, or levers that could be manipulated to create a dynamic or animated effect. Mechanical postcards are collected today for their novelty and entertainment value, making them highly sought-after collectibles among both postcard enthusiasts.

Handwritten Halloween Message

Another fun aspect of this vintage Halloween postcard is its handwritten message, which adds a personal touch and hints at the context in which it was sent. “This is the kind of pumpkins Jack finds up here,” the sender has written.

But perhaps the most striking feature of this postcard is its connection to the broader cultural phenomenon of Black Americana. The portrayal of the young boy and the jack o’lantern reflects the prevailing stereotypes and imagery of the time, offering a window into the social dynamics of early 20th-century America.

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