Origins

St. George Station (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) Postcard

            In their original purpose, postcards were used as greeting cards, or thank-you cards. They were initially printed on linen paper, and later shifted to be produced on paper and were usually sold cheaply because of their small design (Canada Post). “Prior to photography came the lithograph print, woodcuts and broadsides - the technology for mass printing of artwork simply wasn't available” (“The History of Postcards”).

            This postcard was printed by the Knowles and Co. Lithography company in London, Ontario, as stated on the back of the card. The company started in 1888 and was known for fine arts and lithography. (Goodden, 1995). According to Miriam-Webster dictionary, lithography is “the process of printing from a plane surface (as a smooth stone or metal plate) on which the image to be printed is ink receptive and the blank area ink repellant”. Once the image is made, it is then impressed onto paper of some sort, in this case, a postcard. This method of printing, although with some adjustments, is still used today in substantial printing companies (V, 2016). However, by the 1880’s this would have been an old technique for printing. As well, with the intricate design of this postcard it likely the lithographers would have to paint over the print to get the desired design with all the colours (Lithography, 2010).

            The image on the postcard is of St. George Canadian Provincial Railroad station. The building was used as a train station from 1887 to 1911. Looking at the layout of the postcard it was printed after 1902. This narrows the date rage to just nine years; between 1902 to 1911.